Ruben Boutens

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

5. TKC Lauf - 12 Stunden Nachtrennen

Ruben with German friends to good 2nd place in nightrace
Grimma (De), 15/16 June 2019

In the weekend of 15 and 16 June I was invited to join the German team of Kartbahn Allemannenring for the 5th race of the prestigious TKC Endurance Kart Championship, which was held in Grimma, far away in the North East of Germany. The team consists of German drivers Michael Schöttler, Fabian Siegmann and Nicole Egner who typically drive 7 hour races in this championship, and for this 12 hour race they were looking for a 4th driver. I was more than willing to help them out after getting to know them especially during the IEKC in Middelburg, although I know Michael already from endurance races in Eupen 8 years ago. A great team with super strategy and motivation and we were excited to go racing on Saturday evening. After some 2 hours practice there were some technical issues with the light installation inside the hall, which causes a serious delay of about one and a half hour before it was fixed. Luckily we could go underway with the first of three qualifying sessions. Fabian started and passed Q1 easily, when 7 of the 19 teams dropped out. I did the second session and just managed to drive the fourth fastest time, good enough to qualify amongst the best 5 teams for a one lap shootout in one kart. Michael did this hotlap and came out in 3rd position behind the other fast German drivers Maximilian Beer in 2nd and Dominik Schnitzler on pole position. Maximilian is together with Michael known as one of the top drivers all over Germany, I fought with him for the podium already during the 2011 Indoor Kart World Championship in Eupen when he finished 2nd and me 3rd.

190616 grimma family

Michael started the race and managed to drive away with the other two frontrunners while he had a little less good kart then the top 2. The race consisted of 12 stints of in 12 different kart which were switched by kart changed in order of number. Besides that, the race was full of tactical elements including a maximum stint time of 85 minutes, one stint between 35-45 minutes and 1 between 20-30 minutes, a maximum driving time per person and an obligated stint on 95kg of minimum 77 minutes. I drove second and was only 1 tenth of a second slower than Michael in the same kart, which made me very happy especially on this track with about 73 second laptimes. I felt comfortable on the track which I only drove once before (during the 24 hours of Grimma in 2017 which was stopped halfway due to issues with the timing system) in the other direction. During the night the order was mixed up due to different strategies, our speed however was very good during stints of all our four drivers, which kept us in the battle for the podium. During the weekend I could also work on my German language, which I would love to improve and hence I tried to speak as much as possible in German. Writing this report in German was just one step to far, maybe next time haha.

190616 podium grima 12h

Jokes aside the result was top of the list and I volunteered to drive some of our less good karts in which I did some damage control. This went very well and as the sun came up again in the early morning, we were in 3rd position fighting for second. Team Scharmuller who is leading the championship with Maximilian Beer and 2 other strong German drivers was all race long too strong for the other teams. With one and a half hour to go it surprisingly started raining and that was perfect for us. Michael still had to do our last stint on 95kg and showed incredible speed in wet conditions as well, leaving all other teams far behind even with more weight. We therefor moved up to second place and could even build up a lead over third of more than a lap. Scharmuller won the race well deserved, they won by more than 2 laps on us and seem to be on their way to the title in the TKC championship. With great pleasure I was part of our team this weekend and I was impressed by the very well-structured approach and tactics of Michael, Nicole and Fabian, for which I would like to thank them. I wish them all the best for the remaining races in the TKC championship this year.

190616 grimma ruben

12 hours of Eupener Karting

BlueStar Racing Team with two teams on the podium
Eupener, 19/20 June 2018

The 2018 edition of the 12 hour nightrace at Karting Eupen was scheduled for the night of 19 to 20 June. Together with my fellow Dutch BlueStar teammates Christian Douven and Romano Franssen I represented BlueStar 1. Our second team was another very strong line up featuring Mathias Grooten, Logan Sougne and Yoan Medart. We faced plenty of other strong international teams in a 25-teams starting grid. Romano drove our qualification and was able to start the race from 4th position. In the past 2 years I won the race together with Romano (and Rico Haarbosch who was now driving for another team) and I was happy to be with him in the same squad again. Although Romano was struggling in the beginning of the race, he was amazingly fast again in later stages of the race. Christina is one of the youngster is our team but very fast in Eupen, a track he is used to drive. We had to do a couple of stints with 95kg instead of 85 and Christian did one in the beginning of the race, followed by a double stint on 95kg from me. We had to complete 13 stints of c.55 minutes in total, and we decided to all start with double stints. Almost halfway through the race we noticed it was not going exactly as planned, we were almost one and a half lap down on the leaders, which were on a slightly different strategy in terms of 95kg stints and pitstops, but we had to make up time.

180520 12h eupen BS2 2180520 12h eupen BS1 2

Romano was in the kart when the direction change took place just passed the halfway point. The safety kart entered the track which diminished the differences between the leaders and the rest of the field. There were basically 5 teams going for the podium positions, being Modave and BlueStar 2 who were currently battling for the lead, followed by Acquity Racing, KGR and our team. In the second part of the race we were very strong. I found a better rhythm and I felt more comfortable with the extreme grip level on the track. I lowered the track record on 85kg and drove back into the top 3 with back to back stints from Christian and me. With a bit more than an hour to go we were only 30 seconds behind the leaders, which was Modave with the fast French speaking drivers Kaivers, Paoleschi and Delvenne. They seemed to be to far away, but after a small problem for them in the pit we closed in to no more than 10 seconds! Chrsitian stepped in the kart for the final stint and he was lapping the same laptimes as Kaivers in front of us.

In the last minute of the race Kaivers found another few tenths of a second and so our hopes were declining and we realized we would have to settle for 2nd in this 12 hour.

180520 12h eupen podium

12 hours Hurricane Dolhain Karting

Ruben takes victory with Bluestar Racing Team
Dolhain, November 21st 2015

1511-21 hurricane

On Saturday 21st of November 2015 the 12 hours of Hurricane Dolhain Karting was planned in Belgium, a track I never drove before. With a total of 14 drivers Bluestar Racing Team entered this race in 4 different teams. I first raced with the Belgium Bluestar team during the 2009 World Championship in Brazil where we won the Team World Championship. In the years after I regularly joined the team for some majors races, resulting in many fantastic memories like our Team World Title in Italy this year and a 24 hours win in Brussels earlier this year. Today I drove for Bluestar 1 alongside reigning world champ Mathias Grooten and Yoan Medart, also part of our winning team in Italy and local driver in Dolhain, a top line up. With 16 teams one hour free practice started, for me the perfect opportunity to got to know the track. After practice I was happy with my pace close to the fastest locals. Yoan did the hotlap qualifying and scored pole position! The race started at noon, minimum weight was 85kg and all teams had to make 16 kart changes so that every team would drive every single kart.

151121 12h dolhain bluestar racing team kopie (1)

The field included some very strong teams and many world championship participants. Some international teams from (amongst others) Germany and France brought some very strong drivers on track, like former vice world champion (2011) Maximilian Beer. We divided our 12 hours in 6 stints of approximately 2 hours. During the race we were often in the lead, but closely chased by the Outsiderds and the Bluestar Junior team which took the lead a couple of times. After 10 hours the top 3 was still within 10 seconds, which is amazing and also thanks to the small kart differences. The organisation was very good, kart changes went smoothly and blue flags were during the whole race when needed. We were quite nervous with only a few hours to go, because victory was far from sure yet, but we all drove very consistent stints and Mathias then had our best kart in the 11th hour. He pulled away from teams 2 and 3 and build up a lead of more than 30 seconds. Meanwhile he also grabbed fastest race lap.

151121 12h dolhain ruben vlag kopie

Driving for Bluestar is always a pleasure, the team is known for its real friendship and teamspirit between all the drivers. Furthermore driving alongside these teammates which drive at such a high level, makes you better as a driver as well, you will push to the limit every single lap! I drove the last 1 and a half hour to finish the race, and increased our advantage to a full lap while Bluestar Junior and Outsiders fought for 2nd place. After 12 hours we took a glorious victory, a very very nice first race for me at Dolhain and stepping on top of the podium felt really good. Thanks a lot to all my Bluestar mates for the awesome day, and also thanks to Kinepolis for the sponsoring. Congratulations to the number 2 and 3 finishers, some (young) very talented drivers certainly showed their skills today. A final compliment goes to the organizer and his team, I’m already looking forward to a next race here in Dolhain.

151121 12h dolhain podium