The finale of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux at Circuit Paul Ricard has more than fulfilled the expectations! In a starting field of 36 participants, the 20 riders from the Benelux managed to provide a large part of the spectacle. The young Turk Ayhancan Güven (Attempto Racing) was twice the best in the Benelux standings, and was crowned champion. The Dutch Sandra van der Sloot (Squadra Aragosta) turned out to be the best in Class B in both races, so she managed to win a totally unexpected title at the start of the season with panache.
Race 1: Güven supreme, incredible comeback from Van der Sloot
Ayhancan Güven (Attempto Racing) had no doubt about his title at the season finale at Circuit Paul Ricard. The 20-year-old Turk was already the best of the Benelux participants in qualifying and then managed to drive to the victory in an authoritarian manner. Not only in the Benelux standings, but also in general. The best way to ensure the championship!
“Winning the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux was clearly my main goal for this season”, according to the protégé of the Turkish automobile federation. “I only knew late that I would participate, and could not test last winter. At the beginning of the season I was fast, but I made some mistakes: a penalty for a bad position on the grid, a missed start, a penalty for not respecting the track limits … But since the second race in Spa I was completely confident and the results followed. I would like to thank the promoters of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux for organizing this championship, which is increasing its level even further, but also for the Junior Program, which allowed me to undergo a major evolution. I am very proud to be able to win the title in this championship! “
In a peloton of 36 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and on a circuit that their colleagues of the French championship know through and through, the drivers from the Benelux were able to shine, with four riders in the top-10 overall. In the end it was the Dutchman Max Van Splunteren (GP Elite) and the 19-year-old Turk Berkay Besler (Toksport WRT) – who are also part of the Junior Program – who, together with Ayhancan Güven, could stand on the Benelux podium. Fourth was the experienced Xavier Maassen (DVB Racing), who thus did not manage to stretch the title race until Sunday, but won the silver medal for the whole season, for Dylan Derdaele (Belgium Racing). The champion of 2016 managed to pass Didier Van Dalen (Kronos Porsche Center) in the final stage.
In Class B, the day started with a thunderbolt in clear skies, when Sandra van der Sloot (Squadra Aragosta), leader in the championship, was disqualified after qualifying because of a non-conforming ride height. The Dutch had to take the start as 36th, but then cut through the peloton as a knife, eventually finishing 20th, first in the Class B of the Benelux! A very important victory in the title fight, especially since her rival Menno van de Grijspaarde (GP Elite) had to content himself with a fourth place, behind Nicolas Saelens (Belgium Racing) and Ziad Geris (GP Elite). Roger Grouwels (RaceArt) took fifth place, and saw his podium opportunities in the championship fall sharply.
Race 2: Güven takes the double, Van der Sloot with win
Ayhancan Güven also left pole position at race 2 and again dominated the Benelux standings. Good for his fifth consecutive victory, the eighth over the entire season. After an exciting final, the young Turk managed to win the title in the Porsche Carrera Cup France – thanks to a third place in the last race! A double that proves that Ayhancan Güven can certainly be regarded as a true young talent of international motorsport.
In a very competitive starting field, the participants from the Benelux showed their best side again, with five riders in the top-10. Berkay Besler came in second, but after a muscled duel with Max Van Splunteren – whom he pushed backwards in the penultimate lap – he logically got a penalty of thirty seconds in the pants. Just like in the championship, vice-champion Xavier Maassen was second, ahead of Dylan Derdaele. After his spin, Max Van Splunteren finished fourth, and Didier Van Dalen completed the top-5.
In the championship, Max Van Splunteren is on stage together with Ayhancan Güven and Xavier Maassen. Dylan Derdaele and Jesse van Kuijk (GP Elite), which are invisible during the final in Le Castellet, complete the Top-5.
Just like in the first game, Sandra van der Sloot also dominated in race 2 Klasse B. She raced from the start to finish, and secured a deserved – yet unexpected – title.
“Saturday, after the disappointment of the qualifications, I left with the knife between the teeth,” says the Dutch. “Because I had to leave last, I did not know what to expect … but I immediately realized that I was in a good rhythm. I had a lot of fun to catch up with my opponents one by one! On Sunday, I took a second win and could therefore win the title. Totally unexpected, because for this season my only motorsport experience consisted of races with small pioneers, who clearly had less power than this Porsche. However, I have had a lot of fun at the wheel of this 911 GT3 Cup! I never thought I could win Class B in my first year. This season I will not soon forget … and I am already very motivated to try to get closer to the general summit in 2019. “
Roger Grouwels finished in second place, ahead of Nicolas Saelens, on the podium, Menno van de Grijspaarde and Ziad Geris. Menno van de Grijspaarde to win the silver medal in front of Ziad Geris, Roger Grouwels and Pierre Piron (Kronos Porsche Center).
After this exciting final all looks are already focused on spring 2019, before the start of the eighth season of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux!