– Second victory this season for Dylan Derdaele
– Max van Splunteren back in the championship
– Grouwels widens the gap in class B
With full stands and a festive atmosphere, this weekend the Circuit Zolder was “the place to be” for motor racing enthusiasts, with the DTM making its return to Limburg. In this prestigious setting, the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux contributed to the show and the 16 drivers at the start provided the spectators with two very competitive races.
Race 1:Derdaele from start to finish, Grouwels wins in class B
The spring sun was shining as the drivers of the fastest one-make cup in the Benelux prepared for the start of the first race on Saturday afternoon. When the lights went out, pole-sitter Dylan Derdaele (Belgium Racing) managed to hold off the forceful attacks by Max van Splunteren (Team GP Elite) to lead the other 15 cars in the pack. Soon joined by Xavier Maassen (DVB Racing), the leaders managed to widen the gap, but two safety car interventions reduced their endeavours to nothing.
When the safety car entered the pit lane for the second time, there were only three minutes left and Derdaele knew that everything would be decided in breath-taking final sprint. But the Belgian held his cool and won a second victory this season, ahead of van Splunteren and Maassen. Although he was fourth to cross the finish line, the Dutch driver Loek Hartog (Bas Koeten Racing) fell to eighth place after he was given a five-second penalty for a jump start. So Jurgen Van Hover (Speedlover) and Daan van Kuijk (Team GP Elite) made up the Top 5.
In class B, Ziad Geris (Team GP Elite) appeared to be set for a win, but that was not accounting for a duel with class A driver Lucas Groeneveld (Team GP Elite) forcing him to lose his line. Roger Grouwels (RaceArt) and Nicolas Saelens (Belgium Racing) took the first two places in the Bianchi corner and remained in that position. Bas Barenburg (RaceArt) and Jeroen Kreeft (Squadra Aragosta de Snoexx) finished fourth and fifth respectively behind Geris.
Race 2: revenge for van Splunteren, confirmation for Grouwels
Sunday saw a repeat of the previous day’s performance: a three-man battle for victory, with Dylan Derdaele (Belgium Racing) taking the lead at the start, ahead of pole-sitter Max van Splunteren (Team GP Elite) and Loek Hartog (Bas Koeten Racing). However, the contest ended at the halfway point, with van Splunteren widening his lead after a coming together of Derdaele and Hartog.
Despite a five-second of penalty for a jump start, van Splunteren scored his first win of the year, 7 tenths of a second ahead of Derdaele and nearly three seconds ahead of Hartog. “We did a great job this weekend,” smiled the Dutchman. “After losing valuable points at Spa, this victory and yesterday’s second place allow us to get back into the championship. I would also have liked to win yesterday, but I did not have the pace to do so. But we go to Zandvoort next, where I hope to shine at home.”
Behind the winning trio, Xavier Maassen (DVB Racing) was the topic of conversation. The Dutchman left the track twice at the first corner… before moving up to fourth place ahead of Jesse van Kuijk (Team GP Elite) and Jurgen van Hover (Speedlover).
Like van Splunteren, Nicolas Saelens (Belgium Racing) was planning to take advantage of the Sunday race to take his revenge on Roger Grouwels (RaceArt) in class B. But the Belgian was given a drive-through penalty in the first laps after sending Ziad Geris (Team GP Elite) into a spin, a racing incident of which Grouwels took full advantage to hold his lead calmly. The strong leader of the championship in class B was ultimately ahead of Geris and Saelens.
“It was not the best race of my life, but I decided to play it tactically,” said Roger Grouwels. “I was thinking above all about the championship, which remains my main objective this season. With two wins this weekend, we have achieved an excellent result and this will allow us to approach the Zandvoort event with confidence.”
After two very successful meetings to start the season, the competitors in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux have two weeks to prepare for the next round. From 7 to 9 June, the 911 GT3 Cup will join the Circuit Zandvoort, as part of the Pinksterraces!
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