Ruben Boutens

Once something is a passion, the motivation is there...

Coppa Campioni 2021

Exciting race weekend in Italy without luck in the final for Ruben
Jesolo, 11-12 September 2021

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The Coppa Campioni (Champion Cup Kart or CCK) was a famous international gokart race in the 70’s and 80’s held at the historic track Pista Azzurra in Jesolo, Italy. In 2021, the Italian brothers Piernatale and Rocco Formini together with the track in Jesolo decided to organise a new edition of the Coppa Campioni attracting some of the best international rental kart drivers. In the weekend of 11 and 12 September the event took place and several days before the weekend, I arrived in Jesolo to combine the championship with a holiday at the beach in Italy. Luckily we were presented with great weather during the entire week which made the stay even better. On Wednesday evening I drove my first session on the track which was completely new to me, together with my friend and BlueStar teammate Eliano de Vos. The karts and the track were great and on Thursday and Friday we drove some additional practice sessions, which was very helpful for me as in the past years I did not race too much on outdoor tracks so I needed the practice to get up to speed.

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The championship started under a fantastic sunrise on Saturday morning, featuring 67 drivers from all over Europe including some familiar faces from the indoor kart scene and some new (Italian) drivers I did not meet before. The atmosphere was great and further boosted by the Italian commentator who was making a great show around the races all weekend long. On Saturday 6 rounds of heat races with three groups of 22/23 drivers were planned, a full program with plenty of exciting races. Every race consisted of a 2-lap qualification session followed by a 14-lap race including one pitstop. It was not only great to drive the 15 horse power 390cc Sodi Karts around the track but also great to watch some of the action from the grandstand or somewhere around the track. Racing on outdoor tracks is quite different compared to indoor races, overtaking is much easier, defending much harder and it typically pays off to work together using slipstreams instead of fighting for track position like we more often used to do on indoor tracks. On Pista Azzurra we experienced that the tyres were easily overheated which created some understeer and sometimes also bumping of the kart, which made some karts challenging to drive.

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My Saturday comprised a lot of different races, including a lead from start to finish but also fighting my way back from the midfield with a less good kart through traffic by first-lap overtakes, smart strategy and defending my position. The kart differences were quite big which in my experience is in almost all outdoor rental karting events I have participated in over the last 15 years. Changing weather conditions and long straights cause differences in karts to be amplified and with a bad kart it is much harder to obtain a strong result which on indoor tracks is sometimes possible. After six races I scored a win and a second place with two very good karts, two sixth positions with an average and a less good kart and a 9th and 11th position with two really bad karts. All in all I ranked 9th of 67 drivers after day one, indicating I was not the only one with mixed results. I however really enjoyed the racing and also noticed that my pure pace substantially improved during the day, much better compared to what it was during the practice days which gave me good hope for the final day of racing.

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On Saturday evening I enjoyed a great dinner with my Belgian and Dutch friends from BlueStar Racing team at one of the many good Italian pizzeria’s in town. On Sunday morning the Coppa Campioni continued with the semi finals, live streamed on Motorsport tv which further raised the excitement amongst drivers and spectators. Every driver drove two semi finals, three groups were formed based on the ranking and grid positions in the first semi final were based on the ranking after the heats (excluding the worst result). In the second semi final, the starting order was based on the result of semi final one with the top 8 starting with a reversed grid. As in the heat races, kart draw was important. To qualify for the final, a top 22 position was sufficient and there was no specific advantage for the higher classified drivers in the final as for the final a new kart draw and qualification is done and the result of the final was also the final classification in the championship. Therefore I didn’t want to take stupid risks as I had quite some margin to make the top 22 after the semi finals. Starting my first semi from 3rd position, I was able to follow the fast guys in front of me being the German Dennis Höller and my Belgian Bluestar teammate Logan Sougne. We could pull away with the three of us quickly and halfway through the race I was able to pass Logan. After the pitstops and working nicely together with Dennis and Logan, I made a decisive overtake on Dennis in the final lap and was able to win the race!

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That meant I had to start the second semi final from eight position. In the first lap, I chose the outside line after the standing start and that paid off as was in sixth quickly after the start. During the race I had good pace with what I think was an average kart and could climb up the ranking, waiting long to make my pitstop. After the pitstop I came out on 4th place and overtook Dennis Höller on the final lap after his pitstop while we crossed the finish line side by side. A great battle with a lot of respect for each other. With my semi final results I made it to the final in 7th position, but as mentioned before, the position did not really matter anymore which was of course a pity for the drivers in the top of the standings like my Dutch BlueStar teammate Christian Douven, the fast Italian youngster Nicolo Soffiati and Dennis Höller.

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After the semi finals there was a great show with old gokarts, amazing to watch and there was a live music performance on stage as well. Everyone was ready for the big finals. All drivers had to chance to drive a final race, as there was also a C final and B final for the people ranking below position 44 and 22 respectively. After watching the drivers presentation and the action in these interesting races, it was time for the big all decisive final of 20 laps. Kart draw was now super important with these 22 top drivers lining up and in the three minute qualification session I quickly found out that I had not been lucky at all. I qualified in 13th position but the difference in speed with the front runners was really big so even before the final started the disappointment was already there as I knew my chances on the podium were gone. Of course I gave everything in the final to make the best out of it. The first lap was quite eventful with many drivers being a bit more aggressive than before, which resulted in many drivers going off the track and I was able to win several positions by avoiding the crashes, but I was also pushed wide and losing some places again.

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In the end I finished the race in 15th place after working together with the fast Belgian driver Gilles Vervisch in a large part of the race. At the front of the field it was Dennis Höller controlling the race from pole position with a very strong pace in line with his whole weekend and he in the end claimed the Coppa Campioni title 2021, a great win and a big title for him, in my opinion very well deserved and great to see how happy he was crossing the line in first. For second place a lot of position changes took place including my BlueStar teammate Vica Schledz, a great young Dutch talent who was battling with my other BlueStar teammates Logan, Christian and Yoan and also the Italian driver Maicol Mattioli and Belgian Benjamin Kaivers. Christian did not have to best kart either and definitely deserved more than the 6th position he ended. It was in the end Mattioli who took 2nd place after a great comeback in the final, just before Logan, Benjamin and Yoan. A great podium finish for my Belgian friend Logan as well, congratulations to him! Despite my disappointing final and the dependency on the karts, I sincerely enjoyed this great outdoor event and was proud to see all six BlueStar drivers being in the final and being part of most of the battles at the front of the field in the entire weekend! Additionally, there was also a great atmosphere the entire weekend, not only with all Dutch drivers but with our foreign competitors and friends as well. With some small changes to the rules I think the championship has the potential to become even more high level, fair and exciting in the next years and I would love to be part of it in the future again. Thanks to the organisation for inviting us to this first renewed edition of the Coppa Campioni.

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Polish Indoor Kart Championship 2021

Ruben storms to third PIKC crown in Poland
Szczecin (Pl), 28-29 August 2021

It was Thursday August 26th, one of the most exciting weekends of the year was waiting ahead of us and together with my friend Rico Haarbosch I jumped into the car early mornings to travel from Holland to Poland for the 2021 Polish Indoor Kart Championship (PIKC), the tenth edition of this iconic indoor karting event. No less then 184 drivers across 3 categories subscribed for this yearly returning event, in line with last year again at the end of the summer. The days before the weekend are always fully booked with practice heats. We arrived halfway during the day on Thursday and had three heats scheduled for Thursday evening in both directions. I used the time in between to finish some work and do some running outdoors, slowly clearing my mind and getting into the vibe for the weekend. Practice went well although we could only drive on the indoor track due to the bad weather conditions. Luckily a day later we were able to do our final four practice sessions on the combined indoor/outdoor track and the feeling was very good, I felt ready to start my 8th PIKC campaign and I was more fit than ever before.

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As a result of the enormous interest in the championship and the large number of participants, the championship got underway on Saturday morning really early shortly after 6AM! After two heats with the juniors I was in the very first heat in the Open category with 108 drivers split into six groups of 18 for each round. I couldn’t wish for a better start as I grabbed pole position and managed to win the first race just ahead of four time champion Sebastian Papke from Germany who chased me hard during the race, with an average kart I only missed out on fastest lap and immediately scored important points. The atmosphere around the track was amazing and the entourage of Silver Hotel & Gokart Centre traditionally very good. Podiums were done directly after each race and the timing schedule was strictly managed, rankings updated fast, some of the reasons why so many people love to race in Szczecin year after year.

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My day continued with a victory in race 2 as well and then it started to rain, hard rain and a lot of rain was forecast for the remainder of the weekend. The outside track was closed and the championship continued indoors, a pity because the outside section, despite being quite short and with limited overtaking opportunities, really adds something nice to the track. After a small delay (which was recovered in the course of the evening) the races continued. In my third race I drew a really bad kart and had to fight to limit damage. I battled my way through the heat with a good 3rd position on the grid but was overtaken by the Polish talent Adam Szydlowski during the mandatory pitstop. I tried to find my way passed him but did not manage to do so in a correct way (after an attempt I received an orange flag) and he then quickly pulled away, I finished the race in 4th which was my drop result. I finished the day on a high as in the evening I scored my 3rd win of the day, leading the championship after day one being tied in points with Adam Szydlowski (also with 3 wins) and followed by my roommate and defending champion Rico, Belgian former champion (2013) Mathias Grooten and Dutchman Eliano de Vos (all with two victories so far).

The fourth round of heats finished late on Saturday evening after which the championship continued with round five on Sunday morning, unfortunately still only on the indoor track. With another victory I was left with only wins after dropping the worst result and confidently approaching the final stages of the tournament. As of the semi finals, battle qualification were applied to make the championship as fair as possible, battling with your opponent in the same karts to see who is fastest and has the kart pick for the next round to determine the kart allocation for the race. Additionally, important points could be collected in these battles. In my semi final I won three battles in a row before losing from the Polish home driver Maksymilian Bergiel. A small surprise for me but also with the less good kart I was still focused on winning the race. In the first part of the race I could follow Maksymilian closely however overtaking was difficult as I missed some top speed at the end of the straight. I probably waited a bit too long to go for an attack as Bergiel started to accelerate towards the end of the race and I lost the connection. A second place was the result, definitely no disaster but surely a small disappointment. Third place finish was for the strong Polish driver Wojciech Grzyb. The other three semi finals were won by Rico Haarbosch, Adam Szydlowski and Eliano de Vos respectively. Rico, Adam, Eliano and myself were now all within two points of each other going into the big final, an absolute thriller was waiting!

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In the mini final, it was the Polish talent Przemek Kulis who managed to bring home the title. An incredible driver who participated in all three categories this weekend, driving an insane amount of 18 races this weekend! Second and third place went to the other Polish talents Karol Niemczyk and Aleks Demkiv. In the junior category it was Maksymilian Bergiel winning the title in front of Adam Szydlowski and Jakub Piechulski, all finishing within 3 points of each other after an eventful final won by Jakub and which was very painful for Adam who was in top spot to win the championship before the final. Then the super important battle qualification for the best 16 drivers took place for the Open Category. I was first up against Belgian Thomas Haglestein who drove a very strong championship, but I was able to defeat him. In the second round I beat one of the Polish favourites Michal Grzyb, before facing Maksymilian Bergiel again. This time I comfortably beat Maksymilian and was now up against Rico, who beat Romano in his third round. Two super important and potentially decisive laps and in contrast to last year, I could not beat Rico by a small margin and take pole position and the three extra points for pole position! Tied with Rico I started the final!

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I knew I had a decent kart but Rico is always dangerous especially in the first laps, so I was 100% focused on the start which went well. I could open a tiny gap after a couple of laps and then the race was red flagged due to a broken kart of Mateusz Bartsch. A strange situation because in my opinion there was no reason to stop the race, but my gap over Rico was gone again. After a lengthy discussion about the drivers who already stopped in the first laps, it was decided that the full race was restarted. In the restart I had a good first lap and could directly pull away a bit. I felt that I had the title in my hands and extended my lead lap by lap, tenth by tenth. Various other drivers including Mathias Grooten, Wojciech Grzyb and Michal Grzyb were driving equal or even faster laptimes but the gap was made in the first laps already and I controlled the race. Rico was chased by the Grzyb brother but hung on to second place. A super result for me, winning the final and claiming my third PIKC crown after earlier titles back in 2015 and 2019!!! What a super finish to my weekend and great to have Rico with my on the podium on second place once more. For the 15th time in a large individual rental championship (including KWC, BNC, PIKC, IEKC etc.) Rico and I shared the podium of which 10 times we were one and two, very special to compete with him as always and a big congratulations to Rico as well. Third place was for Eliano de Vos, who drove an exceptional consistent weekend with all first or second place up to and including the semi final, a sixth place in the final was enough for him to secure his first large international podium in the Open category, congratulations to Eliano. Amongst all the other top drivers in the final, Michal and Wojciech Grzyb managed to end the championship of a very strong 4th and 5th position. In the newly introduced team championship, Rico and myself teamed up with German Sebastian Papke and despite Sebastian missing the final, we were able to win this team championship, a very nice cherry on the cake! Thanks a lot to the organisation, drivers and other people involved for making this another amazing weekend at Silver Hotel & Gokart Centre during the 10th edition of the PIKC.

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Belgian National Kart Championship 2021

Ruben very strong in BNC but misses out on podium
Kortrijk (Be), 3-4 July 2021

In the strange year 2021 which was still heavily impacted by the Covid-19 situation around the world, the first large international rental kart championship was planned for the first weekend of July, after being postponed twice, the Covid-19 situation now allowed for a large international championship on the Belgian track of Kortrijk, the Belgian National Championship (BNC). The track of Kortrijk is always a special one to me as I drove my first Indoor Kart World Championship there back in 2008 and it was the first time the BNC visited this track after being held in Dolhain in the past four years. On Friday before the race and Saturday morning, there was the opportunity to practice on the track and on Saturday afternoon the championship got underway with the first heat races.

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On Saturday the first three heat races for all drivers were raced and every heat consisted of a single lap qualification and a sprint race including one longcut which was a strategical element you could use. My championship could not have started better with three victories on day one, having drawn some average karts and a very good one, allowing me to lead the championship after day one. My fellow countrymen Rico Haarbosch and Vica Scheldz followed closely with two victories and a podium each. On Sunday morning the last two heat races were driven to determine which 45 drivers would make it into the semi finals after dropping half of their worst points score. My qualifications were very good all weekend and that allowed met to start from pole position in race 4 and 5 again which is always crucial in these short sprint races on indoor tracks as it gives a huge advantage in track position despite the various possibilities to overtake on the track of Kortrijk. I managed to score two more victories and therefore qualified for the first semi final as the points leader again.

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The championship continued with three semi finals of 15 drivers with another hotlap qualification. I qualified just outside the top three this time but as the differences were small, nothing was lost yet. I fought my way up to the top three during the race, both by overtakes on the track and by waiting long to use my longcut. By doing the longcut you basically cut the first corner and therefor you won some seconds in track position but as you missed the crossing of the start/finish line, you missed one lap and had to be careful not to end up with blue flags. When waiting long to make the longcut, you had to take into account traffic from back markers. With very consistent laptimes and a late longcut I was able to jump all my competitors and continue my winning streak with a 6th consecutive victory! I was however not the leader in the championship as Rico just overtook me by scoring three more points for the qualification in the semi final. Rico won the second semi final and the third one was won by the strong Belgian competitor Mats de Jong who won the championship back in 2017.

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After Rico and myself, it were Christian Douven (NL), Bram Gelten (NL), Vica, Thomas Haglestein (BE), Mats, Michael Schöttler (DE), Jarno Hermans (NL), Nicolas Leroy (BE), Fabian Siegmann (DE) and Yoan Medart (BE) to qualify for the grand final featuring the best 12 drivers of the weekend. The qualification for the final consisted of three hotlaps in three different karts for each of the 12 drivers which went out on tracks in four groups of three. I chose to drive in the second group which was with hindsight probably not the best choice as in the last groups when the tyres were warmed up most, the three fastest qualification times were driven. I qualified in fourth position which meant there was still nothing lost. The final was all decisive for the championship and the points leader had the first kart pick, I chose my kart second. The kart differences were however so small that it was almost impossible to pick a kart, which is off course a big compliment to the organisation and not seen very often. In the final 2 longcuts had to be made. Christian qualified in pole position ahead of Vica, Rico and myself. In the second corner of the race, Rico immediately attacked Vica with a late but good move and together they went wide. I could undercut the two exiting the corner but the next corner was a long left hander and I was just not far enough ahead to cut to the inside line and Rico could come back next to me. As a result, I got tangled up on the outside of turn 3 and lost several places and crucial time.

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I started my recovery giving everything I had an waiting long with longcuts while most of my rivals took them in the beginning of the race. It was a very close battle on laptimes and Vica and me were winning back time on Christian and Rico. Rico however closed the gap to Christian as well and overtook him for the virtual lead in the race. Towards the end of the race I started gaining more time and came back into fourth position. Vica overtook Christian with the longcut and started to chase Rico, going bumper to bumper into the last lap. I was chasing Christian and managed to get on his bumper on the last corner, crossing the finish line side by side just a second behind Rico and Vica, but it was just not enough. Rico won hist first BNC title ahead of Vica and Christian, a thrilling final as a crown on a great championship. For me it was however a big disappointment, being dominant in the championship with 6 out of 6 wins up to the final, but still missing out on the podium, that hurts! Congratulations to the podium finishers, all three drove a super weekend and therefore a well deserved podium! Next to the individual championship there was also a team ranking where I managed to take the victory together with Yoan Medart and Eliano de Vos! Big thanks to Mathias Grooten and Gregory Laporte and the track of Flanders Indoor Karting Kortrijk for the amazing championship.

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Actie Spieren voor Spieren

logo spieren voor spieren

My motivation: I want to use my own muscles to collect money for children for who sport is less obvious due to a muscular system disease!

My campaign: On Saturday May 29 I will try to obtain as many Strava Crowns as possible in 24 hours by running in different places across the Netherlands. You can donate an amount per crown I capture on that day, for example €0,25 of €1,00, if you like with a maximum amount. You can also donate a fixed amount. My goal is to take at least 40 crowns. The collected money will go to the Spieren voor Spieren foundation.

About Spieren voor Spieren: The Spieren voor Spieren foundation raises money for children with a muscular system disease. The money is used for scientific research to improve fast diagnosis, effective treatment and innovative health care, so that these children can sport (again) as well!

About Strava: Strava is an app for athletes often used by runners and cyclists who sport with GPS tracking. Strava provides the opportunity to compete with other athletes by putting down a time on a segment. A segment is a specific route, which can vary from a sprint of a couple of hundred meters to longer courses of multiple kilometers. The fastest man and woman on a segment own the crown of that segment. During my challenge I will run on existing segments across the Netherlands where a minimum of 10 athletes already competed before 29 May. You can follow my Strava profile via this link: I will upload my activities during the day in different parts.

My own contribution: I will donate €5 per crown to Spieren voor Spieren with a minimum amount of €100.

My plan: With a training total of over 1250 running kilometers this year, I'm physically well prepared for my challenge. I will start around midnight and will run on as many different places as possible, taking on segments which are mainly between 1 and 2 kilometer per time. In the meantime, I will try to rest, eat and drink to keep enough energy to run fast times for 24 hours. On Saturday I will be supported by Hotel Van der Valk Hotel Zaltbommel-A2 where I can take a break and refill my energy level!

How can you contribute: Do you also want to help children with a muscular system disease to sport again, let me know by leaving a message before May 29 on my Spieren voor Spieren page with the amount per crown you want to contribute (if you like with a maximum amount). You can also send me a message via Facebook, email, Instagram or WhatsApp. I will update you on the result on 30 June and send you a payment request via my Spieren voor Spieren page. You can obviously also donate a fixed amount already via my Spieren voor Spieren page in case that is your preferred option.

During the day I will also post some video updates on my Instagram and Facebook account!

Thanks a lot for your contribution!

Supported by:

Logo Zaltbommel FC 2


Total 25 hours Eupen

BlueStar shines in the prime endurance race of the year
Eupen (Be), 25-27 September 2020

It’s the 25th of September 2020, I close my laptop after a long week of working, I pull on my BlueStar shirt and step into my car, Flitsmeister open, navigation on, destination: Karting Eupen. I quickly check if I have my face mask on board, the object which seems more important than your karting helmet these days when going to a race. From code yellow to orange to red from Belgium to Holland and vice versa, I heard them all this week. But for me the one and only color this weekend is blue, the blue of my Belgian BlueStar friends with whom I will participate in the 15th edition of the 25 hours of Eupen! A race many indoor kart drivers would love to win, and a race which is feared by many because of the tough physical conditions. On the way to Belgium I picked up my friend Eliano de Vos who will make his debut in the 25 hours of Eupen this weekend for the Dutch/Belgian formation of Blue-Vanquish. As we close in on the Belgian border, we make a quick stop at our favorite haute-cuisine fastfood restaurant symbolised with a large yellow/red M. Would it really be code red?

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We make the bet, cross the border and when I saw the big smile on the face of Titou Sougné I knew I made the right decision, arrive a Eupen! No handshake these time but a fist bump, a what? I made my way to the briefing where organiser Evelien Bonneux and race director Regis Bovy gave the team captains and some interested drivers the last information. Every hour another briefing, in four different languages, it underlines the professionalism of the organisation and the international character of the event. After the briefing we had 2 and a half hour practice, where I first drove the new track. After my first session, my French-speaking teammate Logan Sougné showed me how to really drive the track, beating my time by some margin. I had to improve my speed and luckily I did so, giving me confidence for the race of tomorrow as I knew from the past years that Logan is always a good benchmark in Eupen. Helmet off, face mask on and direction of family Sougné where I stayed over for the night! A friendly hug when seeing our small BlueStar fan Darcy again and then it was time to take some rest in preparation of the big race!

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26 September 2020, drivers Opnithi Puyato, Romano Franssen, Yoan Medart, Logan Sougné, Christian Douven and Ruben Boutens are called for the team photo, together with our motivators and team captains Gregory Laporte and Mellanie Motz we pose for the picture. Face masks on, flash, face masks off for a seco, flash, the picture you secretly prefer but the one you should not show on Social Media. Back to the pitlane where Greg called the team together. With the rule book under his arm he stresses the important items in the regulation, no matter the past successes we have had here, we should push in every stint and not underestimate any of our rivals. We are all six ready, dressed up in blue and motivated like never before. Christian does the qualification, takes third spot, the clock starts ticking, we have 24 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds to go. Christian together with Logan are two of our drivers which are setting the pace at Eupener Karting in the past years, and so he did again in the first hour of the race by taking the lead, our rivals being not far behind.

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Every hour we are called in for a kart change, 25 stints for every team with 25 different karts, a fair system. Fifteen teams in the race this year, a bit less than previous years, partly because of the Covid-19 situation, but most of the top drivers are present and there is little space for mistakes. The second hour is mine and I do the first of 8 mandatory stints on 95 kg (instead of 85 kg) with a good kart. After ten minutes I hear via the radio: “You are the fastest on track” from my teammates, a confidence booster and I push for every tenth of a second. The level of grip is increasing and the track gets faster and faster. Logan takes over and drives strong laptimes as well. One of our rivals has a look at the side of the track and notices Logan is driving with the fluor yellow bracelet indicating he is on 95 kg as well, a small mental uppercut. Yoan is with his 28 years our oldest driver this year (similar to Romano and me by the way) and he prepared very well for this year’s edition, which was clearly visible in his first stint. A real team player and already a top rental kart driver for more than a decade. I remember us fighting in the final of the 2011 world championship in Eupen as well, a few hundred meters from here and now 9 years later we are still pushing each other to the next level, now as teammates.

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Despite our strong laptimes thus far, we are closely chased by the German team of PF Racing, including world class drivers as Marc Schings, reigning world champion Michael Schöttler and vice-world champion Dennis Höller who was flying to the fastest lap in the race during the first half of the competition. Additionally, we were challenged by the Belgian team of Acuity Racing, dressed in brand new suits with strong drivers as Bart Paret, Cemil Yamizoglu and rising youngster Vica Schledz. Opnithi was our next driver, his debut in the A-team of BlueStar in this particular race, but already showed his great speed in many international races in the past years and there was no doubt in lining him up this time. Opnithi drove on 95kg as well and while Eupen was not his favorite track in the past, he was superfast this weekend. As he drove without gloves, we had to sanitise his entire kart after every stint according to the rules, which was a bit hilarious in the pitlane as our rivals taking over our kart where not too enthusiastic about the soapy steering wheel. Meanwhile Team Poland was raising some eyebrows as well, Adam Szydlowski and Artur Pel were not only fast, with a total driving time of close to ten hours they were far ahead of most other drivers as they lined up with only four drivers this weekend!

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Sixth in line was Romano, a very humble guy with most likely the most impressive resume of our team if it comes to endurance races in Eupen. We were very happy to have Romano on board again this weekend, as he was part of our winning team in the past three editions as well. The level of grip further increased and that is something Romano knows how to deal with. After Romano I drove my second stint with another nice kart. When driving in Eupen I’m still inspired by one of my former BlueStar teammates with whom I won the 2011 edition of the 24 hours of Eupen, Kenny Geldhof. He was a master in putting in consistent laptimes every single lap while maximising the capabilities of the kart. Closing in on midnight it was not only counting down to Christian’s birthday and the cake of Jos Douven, we were also preparing for the direction change which is always a major strategic element in this race. As the leader in the race will be picked up by the pace kart, you do not want to be leading and rather spent a substantial amount of the minimum time you have to be in the pit. With 2 minutes to go the pit closed and more than half of the teams was in the pit, with PF Racing being the leader in the race.

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When they left the pitbox, we knew what to do and Greg perfectly timed re-entering the track with Acuity behind us. Acuity however took a bit too much risk, as they were overtaken by Schöttler in the very last lap before the pace kart came out, which cost them almost a lap. We were spot on and gained more than 40 seconds on our two main rivals, for a moment we celebrated as if we already won the race, leaving behind our rivals looking somewhat disappointed. A few minutes later we reset our focus as we knew the race was far from over yet. I went to sleep for a couple of hours and when I came back I saw what I was hoping for, we increased our lead in the normal direction. It is a luxury position when you know you can put anyone from the team in the kart and be almost equally fast. Having no weak spots and increasing your advantage is what can demotivate competitors. We pulled away to over 2 and a half lap when going into the closing stages of the race. When we all did 4 hours of driving, it was up to Logan to finish the race. In his typical aggressive driving style he was once more impressive and was chasing a three-lap lead. In the very last lap he overtook PF Racing going three laps ahead, a great feeling to finish off the race like that, probably our biggest lead we ever had in Eupen!

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Although I’m a great fan of individual races, this weekend was certainly a dream to be part of such strong team. Apart from the first place trophy, we were voted the team with the best team spirit by all other teams, a great honor. Gregory and Mellanie were rewarded with the best team chef trophy! Congratulations to the German team of PF Racing for their second place! For the third position a great battle between Acuity and Blue-Vanquish unfolded in the last hours of the race, which was won by Blue-Vanquish, a great performance of Eliano, Benjamin Kaivers, Jimmy Gaspard, Donovan van den Abbeel, Felix Ferir and Jordan Remels. In my 25th 24 (or 25) hour race, I took my 12th win, but the fourth win in a row with BlueStar in this 25 hour event was making it very special. I would like to thank my teammates, our supporters and parents and the organisation for a great race weekend!

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