Ruben Boutens

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

24 hours of Eupener Karting

BlueStar Racing again on top in exciting 24h
Eupen, 7 / 8 October 2017

The 24 hours of Eupener Karting is one of the most prestigious and best organised 24 hour kartraces of the indoor kart calendar. This year I was participating again with the Belgium BlueStar Racing team, together with my friend Yoan Medart, Mathias Grooten, Romano Franssen and Rico Haarbosch, supported by our former world champion indoor karting, Gregory Laporty was our team captain and on the side of the track all weekend long. On Saturday morning things got started with a 20 minute grid formation sessions, for us done by Rico. He was struggling a bit to get everything out of the kart and lined up in 6th position. Meanwhile our BlueStar Junior youngsters took pole position with Logan Sougne in the kart. 21 teams started the race on Saturday morning 11 o’clock divided in 2 divisions. In the elite division where we were competing we only had to drive on 80kg, and all 21 teams would get the same 22 karts. We drove stints of just over one hour and switched kart and (almost all times) driver as well.

171008 24h total eupen bluestar

In the first few hours of the race it is always hard to say where you really are because some teams have had some good karts already while others will get these later on during the race. However what we did know after an hour of 3 when I first entered the track, was that the competition was again very strong. Especially the German DMC 1 team and the Belgian Modave were going really strong and were ahead of us. We were even more than a lap down already so I started our chase. My first stint went pretty well although there was a lot of grip, all karts had new tires at the start of the race and the track was becoming faster and more grippy lap after lap. Mathias was arriving a bit later because of work and so did especially Rico and Yoan a lot of stints in the first half of the race. After 12 hours a direction change was planned and Yoan preferred this direction, while Rico was planning to go to sleep at night. Modave kept driving very fast, also in the karts that we already had and we really had a challenge on our hands. BlueStar Junior was going very strong and made up their quest for a podium position as well.

171008 24h total eupen podium

As the sunset was well behind us the direction change was coming closer and we prepared tactically. This is always a key moment in the endurance races in Eupen and together with Mathias and Greg I wrote down our strategy while Romano was flying in the kart on track. After a few nerve-racking moments where we spent some of our required minimum time in the pitlane, like many other teams, it turned out that we won had won some time when the safety kart came out on the track, however we could have done better a bit better. At the halfway point we were virtually 40 seconds behind the leaders of Modave, it looked like it was going to be a battle between the 2 of us. In the night Romano, Mathias and me did a lot of work and slowly but for sure we were closing in on the leaders. With a double stint I finished my 5th hour and Romano took over again. He closed the gap and with just over 3 hours to go we virtually took over the lead. Rico was back but he had to wait somewhat longer as Mathias was driving another great stint in the morning.

171008 24h total eupen podium bluestar

We were looking good and increasing our lead, though we also knew that Modave still had some good karts at the end of the race. Romano was fit enough to do a 6th stint and as he was likely our best driver in this race, we were set to give the final mental punch to our rivals. Gregory still at the side of the track gave us some good peptalks when needed, he was of enormous value and the team spirit remained very good as most of the races with BlueStar. We supported also our Junior team and vice versa. Yoan took over from Romano with one hour to go and had a lead of 1 lap, we could almost smell the victory but we had to stay sharp. Rico stepped into the kart for the very final part. The victory was not in danger, even though we lost our lap advantage, we appeared to be the strongest team for the second year in a row, with a lead of about 30 seconds we won the race, YEAH! We did it again, personally my 10th victory but winning with BlueStar is always very special on itself. We would like to thank our sponsor M&S Construct and congratulate both Modave and DMC 1 with a very strong performance and their 2nd and 3rd position in the final standing. Just coming short for the podium but very much worth mentioning, BlueStar Junior ended up 4th and that is promising for future races! See you next year.

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171008 24h uitslag2

Kart World Championship

Ruben crowned indoor kart world champion after magic tournament
Kart World Championship July 2017, Madrid, Spain

July is the month of the (Indoor) Kart World Championship already for years, and so was it as well in 2017. On the track of Karting Rivas in Madrid new karts were prepared for some spectacular weeks of kart racing. 172 drivers from 22 countries were present for the 13th edition of KWC and for me it was already the 10th time I was present, 10 in a row as I never missed a year since my debut in 2008. Already in May I went to Spain to prepare together with the reigning world champion Rico Haarbosch, to get to know the track and the karts. On July 18th I arrived again by plane, now alongside my dad and girlfriend Edyta who was going to take part for the first time this year. We didn’t give ourselves much time to adapt to the circumstances as we headed to the track already that same evening for a couple of practice heats. A lot of trainings followed in the days after and we drove the reversed track as well. It was nice to meet many friends from all over the world during the practice week again, some guys who were driving in the early editions of KWC like Andres Prieto, Fabio Konrad, Ronald Jones, Diego Morales, Otacilio Oliviera and Francisco Jansley to mention just a few. Around the practice heats we spent some time in and around the city of Madrid to taste some Spanish culture including the food and drinks the country has to offer. With 35-40 degrees every days the holiday feeling was certainly there.

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On Sunday the Nations Cup was on the planning which I entered with The Dutch Value together with Lorenzo Stolk and Rico to defend our title from last year. 40 teams battled for one of the 22 positions in the final race. There were 2 qualifier races of 2 hours, and we were to drive in the first one with many strong teams. Our race went pretty well, we never had to take any risks because a top 11 classification would be sufficient to qualify. After having started 5th Rico took the lead in the race already in the first stint and Lorenzo built up some advantage over 2nd place in the second stint. I then raced the fastest lap time in the third stint and Rico could finish off in the last stint without being in any danger. During the afternoon we had time to eat something together and relax a bit before the tension was on again in the evening. This time I qualified and managed to take pole position in front of Brazilian Fabio Konrad and Spanish Jon del Valle. The 3-hour race started really well as I could sneak away from the rest of the field and when Lorenzo went into the kart as 2nd driver we were leading by more than 16 seconds already. Lorenzo further extended our lead to 23 seconds when Rico was ready to take over as third driver in line. But then something unexpected happened. A spin of a Polish back marker caused a big crash in which Lorenzo was badly involved, he injured his knee and the kart was broken because of the impact. Lorenzo was taken to hospital for a medical check while we were not allowed to continue the race. As there were too few spare karts according to the race direction, no spare kart was given to a Belgian team who had a broken kart just before us, and so we did not get one as well. A huge disappointment, as we were clearly on our way to a second Nations Cup victory. A very sad way to end the almost perfect day so far and with Lorenzo having injured his knee this was a very bad outcome of what should have been a glorious day. Team Great-Britain (who were almost a lap down at 1 hour and 15 minutes to go when the incident happened) capitalised and won the race, Baccellieri, Spinnael and Brierley did a great job and were accompanied on the podium by Extreme team Poland and ClickSpeed Brazil.


After two more days of practice on Monday and Tuesday the Individual championship started on Wednesday, finally the real battle was about to begin and I could not wait to start. I was directly in the first race of the day and my confidence was high following a very successful training week. We started with new tires and on a relatively cold and dirty track, starting qualification from the front of the field appeared to be a big disadvantage. I qualified only in 5th position and had to battle my way to the front. I was on fire and quickly moved back into winning position when I passed Bartsch from Poland to take back the lead. I had a few seconds lead going into the pitstop and so I did not have to take any risk. With a win and fastest lap my championship started very well. In the afternoon we drove in the normal direction after having driven the reverse direction in the morning. This time I had a pretty good kart and could easily win the race in my favourite direction. As there were some crashes in the other races the organisation decided to drive all qualification races in the reverse direction. That was a pity, but I felt strong on this lay-out as well and could win also my third race on Thursday morning. My 4th race was in one of the hardest groups of all, including many strong drivers like Del Valle, Grooten, Stolk, Balneger, Burillo, Javanainen and Suarez. With a good qualification lap I was again in pole position and also in the race I was not giving away any presents. Mathias Grooten was all race long on my bumper and for the first time I had to take some risk with the pitstop. I just, but only just, met the required 20 seconds in the pit lane with a stop of 20.02 seconds, a bit too much on the limit but it gave me the space I needed to go for the fastest lap as well and I managed to take that point as well going into the last lap of the race.


With 4 out of 4 wins I went into day 5 as the championship leader, but both Rico and German Dennis Höller were very close as they were scoring multiple victories as well. On day 3 I raced to my 5th victory in a row with one of the less good karts, a very important one and it proved that the kart differences here were quite small and the driver could make a big difference. In race 6 I faced Rico for the first time and I was excited to battle against him. He had a slightly better kart than me and qualified in pole position in front of me. I was ready to fight though, and overtook Rico in the first corner after a perfect start. Because Rico didn’t give up his position, we both went wide a little bit and Belgian Kenny Verbinnen and Polish Bartsch moved up in front of us. I defended from time to time on Rico and could overtake Bartsch again. Because of my defensive driving the strong Brazilian driver Felipe Leite (vice world champion in 2014) could overtake us with an early pitstop. For me this was not a big problem as a third position in front of Rico would extend my points lead as I was the only one with only victories up until then, and so I could drop this race anyway. But as race 7 and 8 were still around the corner I could not take too much risk though. I ended day 3 with a 3-point lead in the championship over Rico. On Saturday I had a very smooth day, missing only 1 point for pole position and claiming 2 more victories, while my nearest rivals Rico and Dennis were dropping some points, Rico because of a penalty and Dennis because of some lower results with average karts.


Then the final day was there, with a 13-point advantage I was ready for the semi-final, knowing however that nothing was won yet. The memory of last year was still fresh but also in other previous years some drivers who were leading the championship all week long lost the championship on the last day. I was in the first semi and we were driving in normal direction again, we now started the battle qualifications and like last year, I won all of them comfortably and could choose a good kart to race with in the 30-lap race. The race went pretty straightforward as I could pull away from the rest of the field and also secure the fastest lap of the race in an early stage of the race. In this way I didn’t have to take any risk with my pitstop and scored maximum points. After my race I went back to the hotel to cool down and follow the other semis via de live timing. Rico was well on his way to do the same as me, taking maximum points home, but then he made a big mistake by screwing up his pitstop when he left the pits too early. A very costly mistake as he lost 5 positions following a 30-second penalty. Mats de Jong could profit and won the race. The other semi finales were won by Spanish Suarez and Belgian Mathias Grooten. Together with Rico, Mathias and Mats we had already a very big lead in the team championship going into the final. I was quite nervous and knew only a broken kart or some penalties could still ruin my championship. I was very focused and eliminated Opnithi Puyato, Fernande Lara and Dennis Höller in the battle qualification before facing Rico who just kicked out Mathias. I had 2 average laps and was only 1 time faster than Rico, but overall he was a bit faster and had the first kartpick for the final.


I was happy with my second starting position and let Rico go in the beginning of the race. Mathias was behind me but could not attack, followed by Höller and Giovanni Baccellieri. The race lasted 45 laps but it felt like an endurance race. I still had everything under control and with my 2 pitstops I didn’t take any risk, I waited until I saw 20 seconds on the screen and this cost me some positions in the race. I didn’t start a fight and dropped back to 5th place. No problem for me, I was just praying my kart would not brake down and wanted to avoid any contact with other drivers. For the last time ‘ultima vuelta’ was displayed and the tears were in my eyes, I was really emotional and remember all the things I had gone through in the past years of successes and disappointments, especially the 2nd place of last year. But this was my moment, here was the checkered flag and I screamed out loud. I realised I was the new indoor kart world champion and this was the moment I waited for for so long. After they checked my weight (I had a 3kg margin :P) I ran to my father and mother to celebrate with them, then with my girlfriend Edyta and all the other people who wished me well. I was so so happy and finally had the big honor to receive the largest trophy from Poul Horneman, the big man behind KWC and it felt so good. I would like to thank once more all the people who supported me during my career, especially my sponsors! And I want to congratulate the final top 5 with Rico on 2nd position and winning a second Junior title, Mathias in 3rd position and Dennis and Giovanni on 4 and 5 like last year. What a strong podium and what a trophy! Also congrats to the winners in the masters (Roman Schneider) and women (Selina Balneger) class, and with my BlueStar teammates we won the team championship, for me the 4th team title after 2009, 2015 and 2016. What an amazing week it was and the adventure comes to an end, my dream has come through and I will always remember this magnificent championship with great pleasure. I cannot wait to drive next year in a new edition of KWC with number 1.

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Dutch Open Kartchallenge

Ruben after 3 titles beaten for the first time in DOK
Roosendaal, June 3rd & 4th 2017

In the first weekend of June 2017 the 4th edition of the Dutch Open Kart Challenge took place on a brand-new circuit at Kart Centre Roosendaal. With more than 100 participants divided in several different categories a great weekend was waiting for us. Besides the main senior category with 60 drivers there were many other interesting battles to watch, resulting in the new kids champion Wouter Poleij, Junior champion Guillermo van Pamelen, Heavy weight champion Willem van Oosterhout.

2017 dok 3 junioren guillermo van pamelen

For my championship I had to drive 5 qualifier rounds on 90kg, with a single lap qualification and one pitstop required during the race. An additional point was granted for both pole position and fastest racelap. I felt very comfortable on the new track and on the first day I was never really challenged and could take home 3 times the maximum score, so I was very satisfied about day 1, while Rico Haarbosch did the same and some other guys were also still close in the ranking. On day 2 I was challenged much more during my heats by Romano Franssen, Mats de Jong and Lorenzo Stolk. With 2 average karts I was able to score pole position and victory twice, however I did not manage to grab also the fastest racelap with these karts. As Rico did so, he was one point ahead of me heading into the semi-finals. As we were placed first and second in the classification we were not in the same semi-finale and therefore we would meet only in the big final, a shame but that was how it was. In my semi-final I had to settle for second position for the first time as Selina drove a very strong race and took victory over me by a few seconds, I was now 4 points down on Rico as he capitalised on some hard battles during his race and drove easily to another first place. We then drove a shoot-out qualification for the big final, all finalists in the same kart one lap. It was very very close and when it was my turn Lorenzo set the best time thus far.

2017 dok 5 edyta

My lap was not excellent, but luckily it was the fastest so far, with only Rico still to come. Top 5 in the shoot-out received extra points and the kart pick would be based on the starting order as well, so this was crucial. Rico did not make any mistakes and beat my time by 0.03 seconds, so close but it was Rico with the first kart pick. In the first laps of the race I could stay with him as he was defending, on my tail was Lorenzo trying to overtake me. For me the only goal was to score the title, but after Rico pulled away a few kart lengths I knew with this kart I had to focus on securing my second place in the final race. Lorenzo was close all race long but I was able to stay in front of him after the 2 pitstops we had to make. After 5 victories and 2 2nd places it was quite a good weekend for me, but unfortunately not enough to score a 4th consecutive DOK title. But Rico was a well-deserved successor and I want to congratulate him for a very strong weekend. I hope next year we face each other more often before the final race so we can battle it out on the circuit. 3rd place went to ladies champion Selina, who just scored enough points to hold of Lorenzo and became the first female driver to end up on the final podium, very well done! All in all it was a great weekend on the new track and nicely organised by the kart track.

2017 dok 7 senioren

12 hours of Eupen

Romano, Rico & Ruben win again
Eupen, 6 & 7 May 2017

On the 6th of May 2017 a new edition of the 12 hours of Eupen took place. This race is always one of the big indoor kart endurance races and so was it this year with 25 strong teams at the start including many fast Belgian and German drivers. Our team, BlueStar 1 consisted of Romano, Rico and myself, trying to give our victory from last year (then representing The Dutch Value) a good follow-up. After some practice on the slightly changed track, Romano started the 20-minute qualifying session in reversed direction. It was very close between the top 5 teams and we put Rico in the kart for the final minutes. He qualified in third position just behind the Belgians Benjamin Kaivers for TGK and Mathias Grooten driving for Modave. In the beginning of the race Rico did a double stint of 1 hour and 40 minutes and immediately took the lead. There was a lot of tactic involved in the race as numerous pitstops had to be made, and more importantly after 6 hours there was a change of direction preceded by a pace kart situation, here you could win or lose a lot by making the right decision in pit stop strategy.

170507 12h eupen bluestar

After Rico, Romano did his first stint and put down the fastest lap of the race, extending our lead. After Romano it was my turn and I had some problems with the high grip level. It took me some time to adjust but after a while I could drive competitive and very consistent laptimes. Rico was in the kart again when the direction change took place, and I guided him through the pit stop strategy which made us win some time. After a short powernap Romano was then ready to go for his second stint and proved his value once more by driving a fantastic stint. We were in 4th position because of more time spent in the pits but virtually we were leading the race by approximately 1 lap. I was very tired but had to put on my helmet again around 6.30 in the morning. When entering the track I was at full focus again and I drove a very strong stint with one good and one bad kart. The top 13 teams all shared the same karts and so we just had to minimalize the loss with less good karts.

170507 12h eupen bluestar 1 en 2

Rico was still in good condition and stepped into the kart again for the final part of the race. We still had a lead of 1 lap and he was able to maintain this advantage. Bluestar 2 with Logan Sougné, Yoand Medart and Simon Delvenne drove very strong to claim the second position, just in front of Blitz Racing team, the German drivers with a very strong line up (in the past driving for Euro Racing). 4th and 5th position were for the Belgian teams of TGK and Acquity, the former being very quick but losing some time on tactics. After 12 hours we finished the race again in 1st position, a very good result for us and this made us very happy on the podium. Compliments to the track for a very strong organization!

170507 12h eupen podium

Polish Indoor Kart Championship

Ruben secures fourth PIKC podium in four years
Szczecin, April 29th & 30th 2017

The PIKC has quickly evolved into one of the most popular indoor karting events of Europe, only established in 2012 it now already is a certainty on the calendar in the spring. While a few years ago most drivers arrived only on Friday, now many Northern European drivers already hit the Polish tarmac by Thursday or even Wednesday. For me it was Friday afternoon when I crossed the Polish border for the fourth year in a row, looking forward to face a whole bunch of strong international opponents again. After a few practice sessions I felt ready for the championship and we dived into the swimming pool of the hotel on Friday night, already speculating on who would be the drivers to beat this weekend. On Saturday 3 heats for all drivers were on the planning, the traditional set up including a hotlap qualification and a single pitstop required, all on 90kg. The first race immediately was a cracker, featuring the top 4 of last years’ event and so I had a chance to challenge Sebastian Papke straight away. Starting only from 7th position I had a difficult race in front of me, but when the tyres came up to temperature I was able to work my way up through the field and could even challenge the leader and last years’ runner-up Christian Wolf. Performing my pitstop on the penultimate lap I could close in even further and on the very last corner I overtook Christian and secured my first win of the weekend.

170430 pikc ruben start

It then was a long wait until my second race, but at Silver Hotel & Gokart Centre you never have to be bored as there were many interesting races to follow and a lot of fellow countrymen to support from the side of the track. During day one it was the German driver Lars Ole-Jens who was impressively fast, scoring no less than 3 victories out of 3 races and showing Germany had more title contenders than just Sebastian Papke to offer! With a close second place behind young Dutchman Thom van Dijk in race 2 in reversed direction and a strong victory over Belgians Vermeulen (last years’ number 5) and Deloitte colleague Peter Neefs, I was very happy with my own results as well. After the first medals were awarded on Saturday evening the nice atmosphere remained until almost midnight in both the restaurant and swimming pool, when some chose to get some sleep and others opted to discover some more Szczecin nightlife. When a couple of drivers was still drunk or asleep it was good old Corné Snoep that powered away from his rivals in heat first heat of round 4. My round four and five went according to plan, scoring another second place behind my only teammate form last weekend during our winning 24 hours of Brussels, Mathias Grooten and in front of Artur Pel from Poland. In race 5 I could finally score my first triple with pole position, fastest lap and victory. With 3 out of 5 victories and a 2nd place as a drop result I showed I could perform strong in the less good karts as well and I was ready for the semi-finals.

170430 pikc ruben achter

I was in the last semi-final and saw how the fast Germans Dennis Höller and Maxi Siese won the first two semis. I was pumped to do the same in race 3 and faced reigning world champion and my friend Rico Haarbosch for a third year in a row in the semi-final of the PIKC. While he was able to beat me in the two previous years it was now me who could pull the victory over the line in a thrilling race. I had to overtake both Rico and the strongest Polish driver of the weekend, Michal Grzyb and then won the race on consistency and a solid and fast pitstop, taking over the lead in the championship. A remarkable performance from Mellanie Motz who won the title ladies title over Selina Balneger and my girlfriend Edyta Paleczka as she was the only girl to make it to the 10-driver final line-up! Corné could celebrate his second master (35+) title and it was then time for the Junior final. Rico Haarbosch was the man to beat and took pole position in fashion for the final. He was challenged hard by the Polish youngsters Dawid Klarman (who in the end won the final) and Jakub Ziobro but Rico scored enough points to win his second PIKC junior title just in front of Jakub Ziobro, congratulations to the podium!

170430 podium dames

In the final shootout where all 10 senior finalists drove the same kart for a hotlap a couple of important points were on the line. 2.5 for the pole position and 1.5 and 0.5 for P2 and P3 on the grid. It turned out to be a 5-man show, between Grooten, myself and the 3 Germans Papke, Ole-Jens and Siese. The 5 of us had an edge over the rest of the field all weekend and it was Siese to take pole with just 0.05 and 0.06 second advantage over Papke and myself in third spot. Kart differences were small and the best 2 karts were drawn in the back of the field, and so a very exciting final was about to start. I had kart 11 which was very fast on the straight but had an awful lot of understeer in left hand corners. This made it very difficult for me in some stages of the final. It was first Grooten who pitted from 4th position while the top 3 was on each other’s bumper. Papke then made his pitstop and I closed the small gap to Siese in just 2 laps. I decided to go for an attack and took over the lead in the race, but with this move we both lost some time to Papke. As the times were so close it was hard to make up this time again and when Siese also pitted and when I saw I didn’t win any time on Papke I dived into the pit as well. I came out on the track side by side with Mathias and Ole-Jens, but was on the outside and dropped back to virtually a 4th position in the race just before Siese. The title suddenly seemed to be out of reach as Papke in the lead only had to hold out Mathias who closed in by the final laps of the race.

170430 pikc podium algemeen

I hoped to be second in the final ranking but by driving the fastest lap it was Maximilian Siese who grabbed second place just 0.5 point in front of me. A very nice championship came to an end and I have to congratulate Sebastian Papke with a 3rd title in 4 years time, very strong performance from the tall German racer. My third place was disappointing for a few minutes, knowing I was really close and realising I had won 4 races including the semi-final, but I also knew that being on the podium here for a 4th consecutive year is very nice and so I could be happy with this outcome at the end of the day! Compliments to organisers Remik Drzazga and Bartek Malutko, bringing to live an event like this for so many people involved is far from easy and there will always be some criticism, but I have to say hats off for a great edition of PIKC 2017 which I enjoyed all weekend long. The level of drivers was again very high, prizes were great and things like the timing schedule, kart draw, ranking updates, live timing and live coverage and medal ceremonies were very professional. From my side I cannot wait until next year!

Photos courtesy of: Susi Trauernicht

170430 pikc groep (1)