Ruben Boutens

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

Dutch Open Kartchallenge 2016

Ruben successfully defends Dutch title
Kart Centre Roosendaal, March 12/13

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My second KWC qualifier of the year was the Dutch Open Kartchallenge at the indoor track of Roosendaal. After winning the British Rental Kart Championship in January I was looking forward to face many top level indoor karters again. This year almost 80 participants were present participating in 4 different categories. The kids drove in the smaller rental karts and showed great talent and motivation during the weekend. After 4 rounds of qualifiers the young lady Tess Verschoor was leading before 3 other members of the The Dutch Value racing team. In the finale however things changed quickly as 11 year old Mike Dijkgraaf grabbed the lead and drove to an impressive victory, resulting in a title for him. 2015 champion Eliano de Vos secured 2nd place in a thrilling final over Tess. The Junior category is driven with a minimum weight of 75kg and drivers under 18 years of age challenge each other for the first of 3 KWC tickets. Rico Haarbosch was from another level this weekend, he scored a first place in all of his 6 races, celebrating his third Dutch Junior title in a row. His Dutch Value teammate Ian Verschoor, older brother of Tess, showed great shape as well by claiming 2nd place after having won 3 heats and his semi final. Mika Mathia surprised with a strong performance to take the final podium position. In the heavy weight category it was Roel de Jong who dominated the championship, he won every single race, scored also pole position and fastest lap in all of his 5 races and was the deserved champion. Second and third place went to Dutch Virgil de Lange and Mike Mulder. In 6th position we find French Arnaud Tinet, who made is debut on the DOK having been out of indoor karting for more than a year after BRKC 2015, it was great to see him back racing and together with many other international drivers he contributed to the fantastic athmosphere at and around the track.

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The main category on 90kg had over 40 participants for the first time. British Sean Brierley and Polish Adrian Ziejewski were 2 internationals who were able to take home a podium trophy, both driving the semi-finals as well. For the top 10 positions however it turned out the be a battle between the Dutch and Belgian drivers. I had a very nice first day of competition scoring three victories including pole position and bestlap. We drove the track in both directions for the first time during the DOK and I was very happy about all my hotlaps which were very important. In my 4th heat I got beaten for the first time this tournament by Mike Bartelen, a very quick local driver who was on the podium in both 2014 and 2015. Before the semi finals we were tied in points after drop result. I was in the first semi and was able to win that race just in front of the two quick ladies Selina Balneger and Mellanie Motz. In the other semi Belgian Mats de Jong demonstrated his great speed again by taking maximum points. The 13 best drivers moved on to the big final, with Mike and Mats only 3 and 4 points behind me.

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All drivers had to put in a single lap qualification in the same kart, like in BRKC. It was extremely close and 6 drivers all drove 36.8. Danny van Domburgh was the first to go to 36.76 and Mike and Mats could not beat that time. Good for me, as I knew there were 3 points on the line for pole position, and I took them all by driving a decent 36.65. Danny and Selina set for 2nd and 3rd and off we went for a 30 minute final including not 1 but 2 pitstops. The final was very exciting and I was able to pull away straight from the start. Tenth by tenth I extended my lead to finish the final ahead of Selina only by 3.6 seconds. Selina just came short on 3rd place in the final ranking, as Mike ended up 3rd in the final, giving him 2nd place and Mats holding off Danny for 4th in the final, which was just enough to claim his first podium at the DOK. However Selina didn't leave empty handed, as she won the ladies title for the 2nd time and thereby secured a free KWC entry as well, 2nd and 3rd place went to Mellanie and Anne Mathijssen. For the international drivers there were special trophies for the top 3, consisting of Mats de Jong, Christophe Verhoeven and Nick van Ostade, a full Belgian podium. For me the 3rd consecutive title was there, a big relief and I was very very satisfied. A big compliment has to be made towards the organizers for putting down a tremendous weekend again, time schedules were maintained perfectly, kart differences were very small and results, pictures and draws were updated very quickly. I want to congratulate all winners, thank all the people for the support and I look forward meeting you all again next year for the DOK 2017.

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