- Two exciting races at Zandvoort as part of Pinksterraces
- Success for Max van Splintered on Saturday, and an astonishing victory for Kay van Berlo on Sunday
- Double triumph for Ziad Geris in the B drivers’ competition
After Spa-Francorchamps and Zolder, Zandvoort was the setting for the third meeting of the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux. On a drying track after a downpour on Saturday and on a perfectly dry track on Sunday, the 17 competitors had a great time amidst the North Sea sand dunes. Max van Splunteren (Team GP Elite) had a very good weekend with a win and then a second place in race 2, won by newcomer Kay van Berlo (Bas Koeten Racing), who was impressive on his debut in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux.
Race 1: van Splunteren surprises Hartog
Loek Hartog (Bas Koeten Racing), who took pole position for his first Porsche race at Zandvoort, was unable to keep his position at the start. At his side on the front row, Max van Splunteren (Team GP Elite) jumped at the opportunity to take the lead… and never lost control thereafter.
“It was not a great start,” Max said. “But it was nonetheless better than Loek’s. Then I had to drive hard to maintain a small lead over him… while thinking about managing my tyres. He came back at me on occasions, but in the end I saw that he was suffering from tyre degradation.”
After maintaining pressure on the leader for a long time, the 16-year-old Dutchman suffered a slow puncture towards the end of the race, but managed to hold second place from Xavier Maassen (DVB Racing). Starting from fourth place, newcomer Kay van Berlo (Bas Koeten Racing) caused a sensation. After being overtaken by Dylan Derdaele for fourth place, Kay managed to regain the lead over the 2016 champion, depriving the Belgian of valuable points in the title race.
“My first contact with a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was last Wednesday,” explained the 18-year-old Dutchman. “Coming from an LMP3 prototype, this is of course a very different car. But I chose the Porsche Carrera Cup because of the quality of the car and with the hope of following in the footsteps of many drivers who have launched their careers with Porsche Cups. With the changing weather conditions, I was able to learn about the car in all its aspects and I also had to learn how to manage the tyres. Finishing 4th, after getting the best of Dylan, who had been ahead of me for a while, was obviously a very good start.”
Among the B drivers, Ziad Geris (Team GP Elite) kept ahead of Roger Grouwels (RaceArt) for the entire race, to win by a margin of two tenths of a second ahead of the championship leader. Nevertheless, he consolidated his lead in the provisional rankings as Nicolas Saelens (Belgium Racing) had to settle for the bottom step on the championship podium ahead of Bas Barenburg (RaceArt). The only “Guest” entered, Tijn Jilesen (PG Motorsport) would have finished on the B drivers’ podium if he had competed in that category.
Race 2: the incredible success of van Berlo
After an impressing 4th place on Saturday, Kay van Berlo was even stronger on Sunday. Third on the starting grid, the new Bas Koeten Racing team member took control of the race from the very start… never to be removed from the lead again!
Even the appearance of the safety car, following a collision between Roger Grouwels, Tijn Jilesen and Daan van Kuijk (Team GP Elite) did not upset the leader. In contrast, his immediate successor Max van Splunteren was overtaken by Loek Hartog. Kay van Berlo escaped all the more easily as the battle for second place intensified, with Dylan Derdaele and Xavier Maassen becoming involved in the contest. But Loek finally went off and, after suffering another flat tyre, the youngest member of the pack fell to 6thplace… before being given a 5-second penalty for a jump start. Consequently, he scored only 10th place points.
Max van Splunteren and Dylan Derdaele joined the amazing van Berlo on the podium. “As a newcomer to the championship, Kay had nothing to lose and he got off to a great start,” said Max. “I tried to reduce the gap, but at the same time I had Loek behind me. After the safety car, he passed me, but I kept the pressure on and he made a mistake. This 2ndplace is a good result for the championship and I scored valuable points.”
The Top 5 was completed by Lucas Groeneveld (Team GP Elite), ahead of Daan van Kuijk, Jesse van Kuijk (Team GP Elite), Sandra van der Sloot (Snoexx Motorsport) and Loek Hartog.
In the B drivers’ class, Ziad Geris confirmed his victory of the previous day and also took advantage of Roger Grouwels’ retirement to put in a very good performance in the championship. “Two pole positions and two wins made it a good weekend,” he smiled. “I performed on a wet track yesterday as well as on a dry track today. I had good pace in this second race and I was able to keep Nicolas behind me. As I did not score any points at Spa, I knew I had to be on the attack and aim for wins. It worked well here!”
Despite the pressure, Nicolas Saelens finished on the wheels of the class winner. Further back, Bas Barenburg, Wim Meulders (Speedlover) and Jeroen Kreeft (Squadra Aragosta by Snoexx) completed the Top 5.
The Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux will stay in the Netherlands for its next event. This time, the competitors will start the second half of the season on the TT Circuit Assen, from 19 to 21 July 2019.
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