After I competed in my first EC 40+ 2 years ago, I took part again this year. Utrecht is only 50km from my home and I decided to give it a shot. I never regretted it, the week was great, people were relaxed, the club did an amazing job with the catering, and on Friday they even had a famous DJ on the track.
The track has been resurfaced lately and opposite to the former one, the new track is super smooth, except one small bump entering the two corners before the straight.
I basically started Monday with the set-up from the EC in Cassino. I only had to re-adjust trackwidth and front offset, since the Ennetti tires have a lot less offset than the Contact tires we used in Italy.
In my first run I was running in an engine and was on my own tires. The car felt great while the track was still green. I then changed to the hand-out Ennetti’s and that was a big surprise!!! The car was all over the place, super loose and with a big snap oversteer in the middle of the corner! In the Dutch championship they use Ennetti as well, but these were different!
I noticed that everybody suffered the same problem. It took me 3 days to fix it, such was the difference. I moved the weight to the front, widened the front, reduced front offset, reduced caster. I lengthened the rear upper camber-link and looked for the perfect angle of it with numerous visits to the pits. The quick adjuster helped here a lot.
Basically I did all the opposite of what we usually do to gain steering.
All this helped but I needed to do more. I found that adding more shims on the top of the front steering-block (between the two parts) helped quite a bit (this gives a negative kingpin angle). I also moved back the bodyshell as much as possible. Running a full hard front anti-roll bar together with a full soft rear one made the car actually drivable. On top of all this I reduced steering lock big time!
Then in the timed practice I tried two sets of tires and decided to use these in the first two qualifiers on Friday.
Unfortunately in the warm-up to the first qualy, my battery lost connection. I could come up with a lot of excuses, but I actually lost the complete battery on the straight while on full throttle! The shunt into the wall was BIG!
What followed then was a nice piece of teamwork. At one point 4 people were working hard to rebuilt my car. It was more or less finished 2 minutes before my second qualy. I had to use another bodyshell since the good one was destroyed. I just wanted to finish that run and to my surprise I TQ’ed, albeit only by a few tenth!
Since the car was not as it was before, I checked again and found more mistakes. I also made a new body for next day.
The first run the car was still super bad and very difficult to drive. In warm up I had a sideways crash into barrier while avoiding a car. After that the car was even worse.
Checking again the whole car, I just couldn’t find the mistake! Until I saw that the left rear upright was broken. I made a quick-fix with suiperglue but it didn’t help.
In the meantime I lost the chance to TQ the race, I even thought that the super pole was impossible now.
After another complete rebuilt and finding even more bent parts after that huge Friday shunt, the car was finally back to really good and I could TQ the last round. I qualified for the superpole and even won that one, what an experience!!
The final on Sunday started bad. I had to avoid another car and found myself back in last place! But the car was great and I could recover quite fast, but it took some time to pass Arie Manten to take the lead.
After that I just tried to bring it home. My wife Jill made perfect pitstops and I also did not change tires. It all worked out great!
As I said, the whole week was very enjoyable, but winning both classes was the icing on the cake!
Till the next race.
Link to the setup: