van Splunteren and Grouwels enter history
What a season ! Officially named Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux last winter, 2019 has been an exceptional year for more than one reason for the fastest single-brand cup in the Benelux. The additional recognition granted by Porsche AG to the competition launched in 2013 was obviously one of the major changes of the past season. But that’s not all ! For the first time, the Benelux championship has been integrated three times in meetings of the DTM. And as the other appointments were not without prestige (including the FIA WEC Spa and the final of the Blancpain GT Series in Barcelona), we can say that it was a five-star calendar.
Sportively speaking, the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux has confirmed its role as a springboard for young drivers. Champion in 2018 of what was still called the Porsche GT3 Benelux Challenge Cup, Ayhancan Güven became vice-champion of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, the competition taking place on the sidelines of the Formula 1 Grand Prix. The young Turk is a perfect demonstration of the pyramid set up by Porsche and numerous want to follow his trace.
van Splunteren brilliantly
Two young people have particularly marked this season with their footprint. Let’s start with the 2019 champion, Max van Splunteren. The 23-year-old Dutchman was keen to win this one-design competition in a brand that is particularly dear to his family. Should we remember that Paul, Max’s father, is the Senior Vice President of the Porsche distributor in the Netherlands?
After a learning year in 2018, ending with a third place in the championship, Max has reached the ultimate step this year. The statistics of the Team GP Elite rider are convincing: forced to retire after an accident during the very first confrontation of the season at Spa, he then accumulated seven successes and four second places on the remaining eleven races. Hard to beat !
Another – very! – youngster made a sensation. Only 16 years old, Loek Hartog discovered the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux. Winner of the Junior Recruitment Program organized by the promoters of the Benelux Cup, the Dutchman has largely proved that he deserves the trust placed in him. Brilliantly stepped up from a small 150-hp tourism car to a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with three times the power, Bas Koeten Racing’s driver won two wins and was Max van Splunteren’s most fierce rival for the title. And if an abandonment in Barcelona (radiator pierced by a stone) has cost him the place of vice-champion, he definitively was the revelation of the season!
The references of the peloton
These two drivers dreaming of climbing the Porsche Motorsport pyramid have faced opponents already displaying a very strong track record. Let’s start with Dylan Derdaele. At he age of 27, the 2016 champion – also four-time winner of the 24 Hours of Zolder with a Porsche – is a reference in the pack. First leader of the championship, the spearhead of Belgium Racing won twice and finally snatched the silver with one point more in the bag than Loek Hartog.
Fourth place went to another former champion. Titled in 2017 and second in 2018, Xavier Maassen (DVB Racing) has had a difficult year. We have to go back a long time to see him not win at least one race throughout the season! The 39-year-old Dutchman will be thirsty for revenge next year.
Behind these four tenors is the surprising victory of young Dutchman Kay van Berlo (Bas Koeten Racing) in Zandvoort, but also the regularity of Jesse Van Kuijk (Team GP Elite) which allowed him to enter the Top 5 of the championship in front of his young teammate Lucas Groeneveld.
Grouwels on the wire in the drivers B
The Class B proposed a particularly intense duel for the title between Dutchman Roger Grouwels (RaceArt) and the Belgian Nicolas Saelens (Belgium Racing). Almost tied for Barcelona in the final of the season, both men did not offer anything for free. Unfortunately, a contact between them in the first race that sealed the championship, Saelens being forced to retire. With a long pedigree in the Benelux competition, Roger Grouwels finished with seven wins in twelve races and was rewarded for his loyalty with this title.
Two-time winner, Nicolas Saelens, took the second step of the final podium in front of Bas Barenburg (RaceArt) and Ziad Geris (Team GP Elite), winner of three races but who has unfortunately not been able to take part in all the events. See you in 2020 for revenge!ason