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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