To make their season closing extra special, the Formula Karting organization decided to use a different race format. Three hotlaps served as qualifying format. After each hotlap, the slowest six riders dropped out. Instead of five different heats, it was decided to have one 70-minute race.
The racetook place on the always challenging track of FKI in Machelen. As an extra it had already rained heavily that day, so it looked like we would finish the race in wet conditions.
During the training sessions I felt that the track was great for me and that, despite it being a long time ago, I got on well with the wet conditions.
I did not take any risks during the first hotlap, as the fastest 14 drivers continued. I was comfortably in the top 5, a confirmation of my good shape.
In my second hotlap I noticed that my kart had considerably less grip on the wet parts. I eventually qualified on P6, the fastest 8 riders continued.
The third and final hotlap I hoped for a good kart, so that I could possibly have a shot at the pole position. Unfortunately, with one of the least karts in the pack I got no further than 6th place. That was also the kart with which I had to start the race.
During the race there were two mandatory kart changes. These had to happen at the earliest after 15 minutes and before 15 minutes of the end. I was planning to change immediately after 15 minutes to hopefully get a better kart.
At the start I lost two places, so I drove around on P8 and lost a lot of time on the leaders. After 15 minutes, I was the first one to pit for my first kart change. In my outlap I didn’t see the leaders driving very far behind me. The relief was great as I was fastest on the track from lap one in that kart. The gap with the leaders was getting smaller lap by lap, bringing me virtually closer to the lead, at that time in the hands of Dylan De Wolf. At that time he was the only one who could match my pace.
A bit after halfway I saw Dylan driving into the pits. At that moment I had the ideal track position and I was able to take over his kart. My two kart changes were done at that time and I was able to finish the race with an even faster kart. The lap after my second go-kart change, however, I got hit by Eliano De Vos when he came out of the pit. At that time he was a lap behind (he ended up 17th), so he had nothing to gain with that move. I was quite frustrated about this incident when a few laps later, Ruben Boutens rejoins just in front of me after his second kart change. I tried to get past Ruben a few times, but I still couldn’t get the move done. Moments later we saw Dylan ahead of us who, after his second kart change, got a very slow kart. A tactical error made me and Ruben catch up with him. Ruben could pass him fairly quickly. It took a little longer for me, because Dylan knew which corners he had to defend. When I finally got past Dylan, Ruben was already too far away to still claim victory …
In the end I became second after this hugely exciting GP. Without that incident with Eliano, I would undoubtedly have stayed on the track in front of Ruben and it would have been a different race.
Because of my two podium places in Kortrijk and Machelen, I eventually climbed up to ninth place in the general classification. If I had driven a full season, I would almost certainly have finished in fourth place and possibly even in third place!