Full podium finish for Serpent:
BENELUX CUP in Genk, Belgium
On friday the track was open for free pratice. The track was treated with a special mixture of Water and (alot of) sugar to improve the grip, this worked really wel. Because the track is alongside a motocross circuit alot of dust is blown over it, esspecially on a warm, dry and windy day. Spraying the track with sugar and water helps alot.
Because the track was treated the car had alot of steering and rear grip was hard to find. After some huge setup changes the steering was reduced and along came the rear grip. :D After running-in an engine the first pratice day was over and I was happy with the performance of the car and engine.
On saturday morning we had another free practice session. So I was able to run-in an second engine for backup and fine-tune the setup of the car further. About the car setup, I mainley placed the softer fixed ant-roll bar, stiffer front AND rear springs and 3mm less downstop in the fron AND rear (it was 7mm rear and -2mm in front and I changed it to 10mm in the rear and +1mm in the front) Because of these changes the car was easy and constant to drive and to my satisfaction.
In the afternoon we had the first 3 qualifying rounds and the 4th was on sunday morning. The first 3 round were OK but I was still missing some speed on Ilia van Gastel and Gunther van Staay. after 3 round I was on 3rd spot with almost 12 seconds behind Ilia, but was not yet happy with the car/engine. Overnight we took the car apart and checked evrything. We made some minor roll-center changes and waited to see what sunday could bring us.
On Sunday morning the track was alot better, and the roll-center changes worked out really well. In the last round I improved my time with almost 12 seconds! Because there were alot of crashes on the track I made a small mistake which costed me about 1,6secs after the heat that have would been the pole. Ilia was also improving his time, but during the heat just after refueling a marshal was bringing a car back to the pit and Ilia accidently hitted him which caused the front suspension to break.
Standings after 4 rounds:
Nr. Driver Nat Laps Time Car/Engine
1 VAN GASTEL ILIA BE 28 7:09.119 Serpent 966 / Mega
2 ERMEN JOHN NL 28 7:10.508 Serpent 966 / R&B C10
3 VAN STAEY GUNTHER BE 27 7:03.048 Kyosho / Novarossi
4 HEREIJGERS MIQUEL NL 27 7:13.710 Serpent 966 / R&B C10
5 BOURGEOIS MICHEL BE 27 7:14.660 Mugen / Novarossi
6 SMOLDEREN TOM BE 26 7:01.246 Serpent 966 / Picco
7 HALING DAAN BE 26 7:02.255 Serpent 966 / Picco
8 MANTEN ARIE NL 26 7:05.332 Mugen / R&B C10
9 BAGGEN FRANK NL 26 7:06.480 Serpent 966 / Novarossi
10 LENAERS JOHN BE 26 7:15.469 Serpent 966 / Novarossi
The semi finals were droven on wet / semi-wet conditions and just 2 minutes before the start of the final it began to rain again. The race director then decided to postpone the race for about 30 - 45 minutes because the weather was starting to change. This was a good decision because the track dried really fast and after they treated it again with some more grip enhanced special mixture ;-) we could start the final.
At the start evrybody had a clean start - as far as I could see. Ilia, myself and Gunther were on spot 1,2 and 3. after 5 minutes Ilia was able to pull away from Gunther and me. I knew that Ilia and Gunther planned a tire change and I was not changing any tires so mid-race I could close the gap easily. Till the 20 minute marker Gunther and I switched places frequently and it was very close racing and I supose nice to watch too;-). Mid-race Ilia and Gunther both came in to the pit and I took over the lead. Mechanics of Gunther made a small mistake with the tire change and put back on a used tire on one side. Ilia however was now a lap behind me but was closing in very fast. I was able to hold the lead for about 10 mins till the end. At this point Ilia was on a roll and took over the lead just after a fuel stop. I knew then that I could never gain him because he had bigger tires than me. Ilia won the race with me 1,5 lap behind him. Gunther had to retire just 4 minutes before the end because of a broken or empty battery pack. My nephew Miquel was able to take the 3rd spot just before the checkerd flag.
Nr. Name Nat Lap Time Car/Engine
1 VAN GASTEL ILIA BE 173 45:13.674 Serpent 966 / Mega
2 ERMEN JOHN NL 171 45:11.635 Serpent 966 / R&B C10
3 HEREIJGERS MIQUEL NL 159 45:03.504 Serpent 966 / R&B C10
4 LENAERS JOHN BE 155 45:13.247 Serpent 966 / Novarossi
5 VAN STAEY GUNTHER BE 154 41:32.982 Kyosho / Novarossi
6 HALING DAAN BE 150 45:06.677 Serpent 966 / Picco
7 MANTEN ARIE NL 150 45:08.614 Mugen / R&B C10
8 BOURGEOIS MICHEL BE 135 36:43.223 Mugen / Novarossi
9 BAGGEN FRANK NL 113 33:34.678 Serpent 966 / Novarossi
10 SMOLDEREN TOM BE 8 3:04.064 Serpent 966 / Picco
A nice race with a good result! Next race will be the 4th Dutch national on the tight and small circuit in Gouda in about 2 weeks. Lets hope for some good weather and the same (or even better) result!
I would like to thank Jonathan for the fast refueling and pit work during this weekend. And of course Serpent Motorsport, RB Products and Tornado for their support!
till next time,