- The Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux alongside the DTM
- Hartog an unexpected leader
- Grouwels looks to confirm his position among B drivers
Less than two weeks after leaving the Spa-Francorchamps paddock, competitors for the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux will meet again this weekend in Limburg for their only appearance on the Circuit Zolder. After the FIA WEC, it will once again be a prestigious setting for the fastest one-make cup in the Low Countries.
As will also be the case in Assen and at the Nürburgring, the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux will be the supporting act for the prestigious DTM with a first race on Saturday at 15:15 (just after the famous German competition) and a second on Sunday at 11:10, just moments before Race 2 of the DTM.
Hartog leader, and the favourites looking for revenge
Although he is only 16 years old, Loek Hartog (Bas Koeten Racing) will be the leader of the championship when he arrives in Zolder. The least we can say is that the young Dutchman did not waste his entry in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux! In Spa, the winner of the Junior Recruitment Programme was both quick and consistent under difficult conditions. Having recovered the points for a win on the green carpet in the second race, he now dreams of confirming his position at the Circuit Zolder.
“I obviously did not expect to be at the top of the table,” smiles Loek, “My goal during that first weekend was to identify my strengths and weaknesses. Questioning myself is an absolute priority for me and my goal is to be able to compete with the best at the end of the season. I am a perfectionist and I am prepared to work hard. I consider myself to be in a learning phase at present, but I will not complain if the results come faster than expected!”
If Loek Hartog pulled the roasted chestnuts from the fire at Spa-Francorchamps, it was also because the favourites stumbled. Winner of the first race at Spa, Dylan Derdaele (Belgium Racing) thought he would hit the double the next day but ended up being penalised after making contact with the car driven by Max van Splunteren (Team GP Elite). The Limburg driver will therefore be keen to redeem himself at the Circuit Zolder, as he has so often succeeded in the past, particularly when he won the 24 Hours four times. But what about Max van Splunteren and Xavier Maassen? Whilst he had been the fastest in qualifying practice, the former was forced into a spin by an opponent in the first lap of Race 1, causing a chain collision which led to the retirement of Xavier Maassen (DVB Racing), the runner-up last year. Although Max was able to start Race 2, it was a contact made by Dylan Derdaele which sent the Team GP Elite driver into a spin again while he was leading the race. Having scored points for second place, he will be thirsty for revenge.
Taking advantage of these various incidents, Jesse van Kuijk (3rdand 4thwith a Team GP Elite car), Jurgen Van Hover (on the podium of Race 2 in a Speedlover 911 GT3 Cup car) or the young Lucas Groeneveld (Team GP Elite) were able to spotlight themselves in Spa and they intend to do the same in Zolder. However, they will have to watch out for Sandra van der Sloot (Snoexx Motorsport), the 2018 B-Class champion who is now competing in the A-Class.
Class B: Grouwels in focus
Roger Grouwels (RaceArt) did not wait for Sandra van der Sloot to move to Class A to take over the championship in Class B. However, the Dutchman knows that his task will be difficult against Nicolas Saelens (Belgium Racing), the fine winner of Race 2 in Spa. His team mate Bas Barenbrug (RaceArt) also enjoyed standing on the podium in Race 1, while Wim Meulders (Speedlover) did the same the next day. It should be noted that Wim will have a busy schedule at Zolder as he will also be competing in the Porsche Endurance Trophy, competing in the two 60-minute races integrated into the Belcar Endurance Championship. Will he be on the pace for another podium? The answer will be provided this weekend!
Initially entered for a part programme, Ziad Geris (Team GP Elite) enjoyed the atmosphere of the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux in Spa so much that he will be back at Zolder and should continue the season. The Dutchman will probably not be the only one: Yves Noël (Car Tuning Lease Motorsport) will also be present in Limburg in the Guest class.
After the two free practice sessions on Friday, qualifying will take place in two stages on Saturday from 09.00 to 09.35. In front of grandstands which should be well filled, the races will take place on Saturday at 15.15 and on Sunday at 11.10. This weekend, it is at Zolder that you will have to be!
Calendar for the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux
3-4 May: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps – FIA WEC Spa
17-19 May: Circuit Zolder – DTM
7-9 June: Circuit Zandvoort – Pinksterraces
19-21 July: TT Circuit Assen – DTM
13-15 September: Nürburgring – DTM
28-29 September: Circuit Barcelona – Blancpain GT Series