- The Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit to conclude the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux 2019
- Max van Splunteren 16 points ahead of Loek Hartog
- Grouwels and Saelens separated by 2 points in Class B
As usual, it is in southern Europe and in a joint event with the French Cup that the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux season will come to an end. One year after the Circuit Paul Ricard, this time the mythical Barcelona circuit will serve as the stage for the last act of a play which began in early May at Francorchamps. Since then, the mix has boiled down dramatically! For some drivers their title dreams faded earlier than expected and only two drivers are still in the running for the Cup: the Dutch drivers Max van Splunteren and Loek Hartog.
Although he is only 23 years old, Max is by far the more experienced of the two. The Team GP Elite driver looks to be the favourite, as he is 16 points ahead of his young rival, with 44 points still at stake this weekend. Unless there is a disaster of some sort, the young man from Vught should not see the championship slip through his fingers. But motor sport is famous for the suspense it readily provides and for its twists of fate!
In a field of some thirty Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, there will be no shortage of racing interest. And Loek Hartog knows that! As he turns 17 a few days after the championship final, “Loekie”, as he is known to his fans, has already achieved success this season. Less than a year ago, he had just won the Ford Fiesta Sprint Cup and enrolled in the Junior Recruitment Programme set up by the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux. Twelve months later, he has proved that his selection was merited. From a small 150-horsepower touring car to a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car with three times the power, the Bas Koeten Racing representative has taken two wins. After his recent success at the Nürburgring, can the driver from Hoogmade (near Leiden) achieve the feat of also donning the crown? In any case, he will have nothing to lose!
Like the majority of drivers, Loek will have had the opportunity to test on the Catalan circuit this week before the meeting really gets under way. He will also have to rely on other drivers who might able to intercede between Max van Splunteren and himself. Former champions Dylan Derdaele (Belgium Racing) and Xavier Maassen (DVB Racing) seem to be the best placed, but Kay van Berlo (Bas Koeten Racing) will also have a word or two to say. On the other hand, will Jesse Van Kuijk, Lucas Groeneveld and Daan Van Kuijk (all Max van Splunteren’s team-mates in Team GP Elite) be able to help their leader? Will Didier Van Dalen, who is entered in the Guest category, be able to repeat the Top 6 position he took at the Nürburgring in the “psychedelic” 911 GT3 Cup car of the Kronos Porsche Centre? Answers this weekend!
Total suspense in Class B
Although Max van Splunteren should be able manage his advantage and take the overall title, the two candidates for the Class B crown are practically equal on points. Before arriving at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, the Dutchman Roger Grouwels (RaceArt) has two more points than the Belgian Nicolas Saelens (Belgium Racing). In other words, every single point, including those offered for pole positions and the best laps in the race, will be so important!
Two free practice sessions are on the schedule this Friday before qualifying at 16.00. On Saturday, the start of the first 30-minute race will be at 14h20. The second race is scheduled to start on Sunday at 12h15.
In addition, this Barcelona meeting will also be the last for Steven Stichelbout and Severine Ulenaers. The Series Manager and the Operations Manager have decided to pass the baton to a new management team. After seven years of steady progress and the transition from GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux to the very official Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux, they have decided to take up a new challenge.
For the next season of the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux, Olivier Aerts will become Series and Operations Manager. He can count on the support of Thomas Vanoutryve, who is joining the group as Marketing and Communication Manager.
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