Loek Hartog was tipped as the big favorite for the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux 2020 and immediately fulfilled expectations at Circuit Zolder, the battlefield for the season opener. At the Zolder Fun Festival, Bas Koeten Racing’s driver dominated the qualifications and the first race, in which he was more than 20 seconds ahead in only 30 minutes.
We expected total dominance of the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux Junior, but that was beyond the determination and progression of the very young Morris Schuring. While making his debut in motorsport, the GP Elite driver delivered an absolute surprise result by taking full advantage of a less suitable setup by Loek Hartog – who focused on collecting data to prepare for his entry into the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in Spa-Francorchamps. The 15-year-old (!) Dutch driver, who was coached by Supercup driver Larry Ten Voorde, improved his personal fastest lap by more than a full second compared to Race 1. In fact, he managed to beat his fellow countryman Loek Hartog just before the finish line to achieve a first victory on his debut in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux. Impressive!
With Loek Hartog (17 years old) and Morris Schuring (15 years old), the fastest one-make cup in the Low Countries confirms its reputation as a breeding ground for young talent and thus forms a solid basis for the Porsche Motorsport Motorsport pyramid. No one doubts that both drivers will push each other to the next level this season!
After the two Dutch drivers, it was Michael Cool who turned out to be “best of the rest”. The Belgian from NGT Racing filled the final step of the podium on both occasions, which also allowed him to take home the biggest trophy in the Pro-Am class, as he successfully fended off Nicolas Vandierendonck (EMG Motorsport) and Bas Barenbrug (Bas Koeten Racing).
Gilles Smits was very successful in the Am category. The Speedlover driver won the two races and with a 4th and 5th place in the general ranking, the Belgian – who learned the tricks of the trade in the Fun Cup – proved that he needed little time to get used to a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of 485 hp.
Porsche Sprint Challenge Benelux: Schuring, Smits and Cool confirm
Exceptional situations require exceptional measures. The promoter of the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux responded quickly to the crisis that has gripped the world, and therefore also motorsport. The new Porsche Sprint Challenge Benelux has joined forces with the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux. The participants in both championships not only shared the track in the two sprint races, but the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup drivers were also able to take points for both classifications. Also, there was a long race (with mandatory pit stop) on the program in the Porsche Sprint Challenge Benelux.
In the absence of Loek Hartog, who was only entered in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux, Morris Schuring did not hesitate for a minute to take a second consecutive victory in the Long Race. The Dutchman thus concluded his first meeting in the perfect way. The same can be said about Gilles Smits, who not only won the Am category for the third time, but also managed to beat Michael Cool, in the Pro-Am category, and thus took second place in the overall ranking. Jean-Pierre and Jaxon Verhoeven had to leave Gilles Smits in front in Am but ended in 4th place in the general classification. The father and son duo had already won a silver medal in their category in the previous two sprint races. In the Pro-Am category, Nicolas Vandierendonck and Bas Barenbrug were fended off once more by Michael Cool.
Cayman GT4 CS: Vermeulen’s dominance
As an integral part of the Porsche Motorsport pyramid, the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport also has a place in the new Porsche Sprint Challenge Benelux. The car is an excellent choice in the large Porsche family to take the first steps in motorsport, it’s a car of its own category.
GP Elite spearhead, Thierry Vermeulen did not hesitate for a second: both in the two sprint races and the long race, the Dutchman outshined his competitors and achieved the maximum amount of points in the standings. Steven Van Rhee, second in race one, fell victim to a puncture before claiming the silver medal in the long race. Alexander Goddijn finished on the podium three times (3rd, 2nd, and 3rd), confirming GP Elite’s hold on this category.
With the opening heat at Circuit Zolder behind us, the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux and the Porsche Sprint Challenge Benelux are at cruising speed. The next appointment is the meeting next to the prestigious DTM championship, at the Nürburgring, on 11, 12, and 13 September.