Ruben Boutens

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

bluestar racing team

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?

200927 25h bluestar
200927 25h jos titou (1)

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!

200927 25h yoan

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.

200927 25h romano

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.

200927 25h ruben

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!

200927 25h finish

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.

200927 25h team spirit

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!

200927 25h teamchef

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!

200927 25h podium

25 hours of Eupen

BlueStar realizes fantastic hattrick in Eupen’s finest
Eupen, 29/30 September 2018

The 25 hours of Eupen, as if 24 hours weren’t enough. Eupen’s most prestigious race was back in the last weekend of September. Together with my fellow BlueStar teammates, Christian Douven, Mathias Grooten, Logan Sougne, Romano Franssen, Yoan Medart and our team captain Gregory Laporte I was entering this race again. A very strong line up of 18 teams with plenty of international flavor prepared for one of toughest races of the season. On Friday evening the briefing and practice took place, a relaxed atmosphere was present and some final preparations by all teams were done. As we won the race in the last 2 years, we were seen as the favorite by many people. However, we were well aware of the competition out there and especially the Belgian/German team of Acquity Racing was on full power and looking for their first victory in this race. On Saturday morning the track was cold as ice, something that would change quickly. I started the 25-lap qualifier and handed over to our top talent Logan Sougne halfway through the session. He managed to grab the 3rd spot on the grid, behind both Acquity teams and before some strong Polish teams.

The race was underway and Logan took second place quickly. Only Marc Schings from Acquity was too quick for us in the beginning of the race, but no stress as we would exchange all 19 karts during the race. This meant we had to do 19 stints of about 1 hour and 20 minutes, including 6 on 95kg instead of 85. Logan did a good stint and I went out on track for the second, immediately on 95kg. Right after me Yoan and Romano did two more stints on 95kg, and we all managed to drive laptimes which were still amongst the fastest in the field. We build up a lead from the second stint onwards and felt confident about our pace so far. The professionalism of the organization was seen in many aspects, interviews broadcasted live with all teams, massage available in the lounge upstairs and the crew very helpful both on and off track. As the evening came closer I did my second stint already, again on 95kg and I was able to match the pace of our main rivals in the previous stint on 85kg. This felt very good and we tried to increase our lead over Acquity Racing.

After an hour of 6 our lead stabilized, Acquity seemed to be our only real rival this weekend, but they certainly didn’t give up yet. When I finished my second stint I was going for some fresh air and a pizza outside the karting track, with 6 drivers you have time to relax and I could prepare already for some more action during the night. Meanwhile Christian and Mathias did their first stints, the first adapting amazingly quick to the circumstances and the latter struggling a bit more on the very grippy and tricky track. Halfway through the race, the direction was changed and the leaders were picked up by a safety kart. We tried to avoid being in the lead, as you always lose time being the first behind the safety kart, and we could play around with our strategy as we had to spend a certain time in the pit. Acquity was also alert and in the end, we were in the lead halfway and hence, lost some time. Our advance was reduced to a virtual 25 seconds and we felt the competition in every stint. Acquity had quite a different strategy as they drove the first half of the race with 3 drivers in one direction, and left the other 3 for the normal race direction.

While some people went to bed for a while, I was ready to step back into the race in the middle of the night. Some crucial hours were awaiting us and I could drive my first stint on 85kg. The grip level was insane and also very narrow. Being off the main grip line with 20 centimeter could mean that you completely lost the kart in under- or oversteer and that made it very, very hard to drive consistent laptimes. Bjorn Aelberts from Acquity was a little slower than me on fastest laptime, but his average was impressive and so he stayed very close. Our advantage was reduced to 20 seconds when I entered the track, but as Cemil Yamizoglu from the Acquity squad had a very bad kart, I could take back a full lap. The stint after, we had this same kart, and I took this kart on me as well, driving a stint of 2 hours and 40 minutes. I could limit the damage in this kart to maximum half a lap, which still gave us a lead of a lap and 10 seconds. My job was done for the moment, I went upstairs to the sleeping room, trying to catch some sleep.

I had full confidence in my teammates, and especially role of Gregory was not to be underestimated, he kept us sharp all race long, being on the side of the track or in the pitlane for the entire weekend, always supporting and motivating us. That was necessary, as Acquity kept pushing as well. When I woke up again, it was exciting to check the score board, and we were luckily still in the lead with an advantage of about a lap. The last couple of hours arrived and Christian, Logan and Yoan once more pulled the trigger. It was great to see them excel in such a big race. Acquity was strong until the end, coming back into the same lap in the last hour of the race and finishing just 40 seconds behind us after 25 hours!! That’s not even one and a half second per hour. But we made it, a fantastic feeling and with great team spirit we secured our third victory in a row at the 25 hours of Eupen! A great round of appreciation we would like to give to the organizers and all participating teams who made this event worth remembering again. Hope to se you all next year!

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

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.

171008 24h uitslag1
171008 24h uitslag2

24 hours of Brussels

Ruben & Mathias perform the impossible!
Brussels, 22&23 April 2017

It was in 2010 when I really discovered the art called endurance racing. It was in April of that year when I was invited for one of the biggest 24-hour indoor kart races in Europe to drive in one of the top team consisting of Bart van de Vel, Mathias Grooten and Nikki Swannet. We won that race, and during this race I drove a stint of over 2 hours for the first time in my life, a new experience. In the years after I realised how special it was to have won this race, only in 2015 I managed to win it for the second time. It was around that time I started speculating with Mathias about driving the race just with the two of us. An incredible idea which started as a crazy plan but late 2016 we decided to finally go for it in the 2017 edition. Prepared as much as we could we arrived in Brussels on the 22nd of April, ready for one of the biggest challenges in our karting careers. Although we were going to drive the race with 2, we had the help of a couple of our Bluestar teammates and especially Robin Borremans who wanted to help us during the entire weekend in coaching and tactics, so we could focus on racing and recovery afterwards as much as possible.

170423 24h team

After the free practice we decided that Mathias was going to do the 15 minute-qualifying session. We had an average kart and Mathias managed to qualify in third position. During the race we had to drive 6 hours on minimum 90kg, the remainder on at least 80kg. We didn’t quite have an exact schedule of how we were going to divide the stints but we wanted to do the hours on 90kg with the best 3 karts. We had to do both 10 kart and driver changes which means stints of 2 hours and 10 minutes. During the first 4 hours we both drove a good stint with average karts, first falling back a bit to fifth place and then coming back to second place. A couple of strong competitors were Bluestar 2 with some world class drivers, Hola Lulu Racing and DWT Racing, all with a very strong 4 or 5-man line-up. After Mathias did the first hours on 90kg I was going for a double stint of almost 4 and a half hour. In the beginning of the race we were every time a bit faster than our opponents with the same karts, so we could take the lead and start building an advantage which we might have needed approaching the second part of the race. During this stint the lights fell out for like five minutes and the race was not stopped. Especially inside it was extremely dark and also dangerous as some drivers slowed down. I tried to stay up to speed as much as possible as I saw the score board was still on and we won a lot of time here, sometimes even up to 3 seconds a lap. After my second stint I still felt ok and Mathias did sleep for a while. In the next stint a change of direction took place, a novelty in the 27-year history of this event, and it was done with no team winning or losing any time! We then had another strong kart and Mathias drove again one stint on 90kg, because we wanted to change the weight to 80kg again afterwards.

170423 24h podium

This worked out well as Mathias was again one of the fastest guys on track even with 90kg. The other side of the medal was that I had little time to recover after my long stint, having had my second massage during the race. I felt during this third stint that I was losing a bit of energy, I still drove good laptimes but the consistency was a bit less good. We were 2 laps ahead of our competitors but I was worried at this time, knowing how long we still had to go. At the end of my stint it started raining just before the kart change and Mathias then continued after having to puke just before stepping into the kart. After eating a bit, I wanted to go to bed as quick as possible and asked my teammates to wake me up when needed. I could sleep for an hour of 2 and was then waked up again. Mathias was driving for 3 hours and I had to prepare again. The sleep did help me, and before I stepped in the kart once more I took some painkillers, some energy drink and a couple of shots of sugar. Like in my previous stint I wore a neck protector (something I practically never do) and a sweater over my suit to feel less pain. During the driver change Mathias shouted at me, ‘keep pushing, keep pushing’, a little bit extra motivation and out on the track I was again. It went well, I could maintain our 2-lap lead and started to enjoy the race again while the sun came up. Slowly I started to believe in something special. With 4 and a half hour to go Mathias took over the steering wheel again and DWT was still dangerous, starting to close in slightly and coming back to one and a half lap behind while we had to were a driver change behind and still had to drive 1 hour and 45 minutes on 90kg.

170423 24h mathias en ruben

I was then facing Filipe Vieira who was closing in on me as he drove on 80kg, DWT was very strong this race and the race was not over yet. Luckily, I was able to still drive fast and consistent times and could limit the loss. We were strongly supported from the side of the track and after the last driver change Mathias came out on track just 35 seconds in front of DWT. We were surviving on our very last portion of energy but the finish was coming closer. And after 24 hours we were the ones who saw the chequered flag first, we did it, we made it, it was amazing!! A magnificent performance and a fantastic feeling when we realised we had won one the 24 hours of Brussels just with the 2 of us. Both mentally and physically it was exhausting and that made it the best victory of my karting career so far. As many people told us beforehand we would not be able to remain competitive until the end of the race, it made it even more special and the admiration and appreciation of our opponents and the spectators was great. When opening the bottles of champagne on the podium and lifting the trophy with our last bit of power we didn’t feel the pain, but a couple of hours later we both suffered a lot. DWT finished the race in a very well deserved 2nd place on just 38 seconds behind us. Bluestar 2 took home the third position being 5 laps down on us, beating Hola Lulu with just a single lap. The days after were not the best in terms of physical fitness, but it was worth the pain more than ever. We want to thank our sponsors Foamzoo and Kinepolis and our Bluestar teammates and friends who supported us during the race!

Photos courtesy of: Serge Coppieters

170423 24h champagne

12 hours Hurricane Dolhain Karting

Bluestar dominates also 2016 edition
Dolhain, 5 November 2016

After winning this race last year, Bluestar lined-up again with Mathias, Yoan and me, accompanied by the upcoming star Tristan, to defend our race win from last year. Competing with 15 other teams, we start the hot lap qualifying on Saturday morning the 5th of November after having done 1 hour of free practice for all teams. Tristan managed to score pole position, with the smallest possible margin to the second place of Benjamin Kaivers, 0.001 second. As we were not allowed to change driver during each of the 16 kart changes today and there was no limit for a minimum amount of driver changes, we planned to do long stints today, every pitstop costs you like 12 seconds and that is a lot in these kind of race. Tristan did the first 3 hours, drove incredibly well and build up a lead of immediately 40 seconds over second place of BGTK, Traxxis Thx and Bluestar Junior.

161106 12h dolhain bluestar

Yoan and Tristan are very familiar with this track and it was a challenge today for Mathias and me to match their pace and consistency. Mathias was the second in line to enter the track for us, and he was right up to speed. As we drove away from the rest of the field second by second, the tension for first place was not really present, but we stayed focussed on increasing our advantage because the race was still long. Like Tristan, Mathias did 4 stints as well, driving almost 3 hours in a row which was quite doable on this track! Bluestar Junior with Bastien, Logan, Giovanni and Rico were also driving strong, challenging, amongst other, Romano Franssen, Christophe Verhoeven and Stefan Verhofste for second place. The third driver for us was Yoan, and like in previous race in Dolhain he was extremely fast and even more consistent. Even though he faced some less good karts, our opponents could not close in and we were nog 1 lap and 40 seconds ahead. A comfortable margin when I could finally enter the kart after 8 and a half hour of driving.

161106 12h dolhain podium

During my stint I could pull away even further, lapping both Rico and Stefan to extend the lead to over 2 laps. I could drive very consistent for 3 hours in a row and I was happy with my pace. The track was rather narrow and thereby not easy to overtake, but it is a perfect track for endurance races like this one. The kart differences in Dolhain are typically somewhat smaller than on most other Belgian tracks, which always nice even though we drove all karts today. As we had a nice margin over second place of Bluestar Junior and third place of Traxxis Thx, we had time to do another driver change so that Tristan could finish the race. Due to this extra stop we came one second short of a 2 lap advantage, but we were very very happy with the final result! Big thanks to my teammates and coach Gregory, we can add another great victory to our resume!

24 hours of Eupener Karting

Bluestar takes home sensational victory
Eupener, September 31st & October 1st 2016

The 24 hours of Eupener Karting is one of the very best indoor kart races on the calender, certainly one you don’t want to miss! I had the honour to be part of Bluestar Racingteam again this weekend, one of the favourites for the podium positions and our team consisted of Grooten, Medart, Foldesi, Franssen and my for the weekend. Our team became even strong with former world champ Gregory Laporte being on the side of the track for the entire race, being responsible for the tactics and strategy. Strategy is crucial in these kind of endurance races, 28 teams were represented including many top teams from Germany and Belgium which do not allow you to make any tactical mistakes. The race started with a long qualifying session where the German Avia Racing took pole position, we started only in 14th position. Just before the start Romano however discovered our choke was still opened and this was holding us back big time. At the start of the race at 9pm on Friday evening Romano launched himself forward and went up to a top 3 position surprisingly quick!

161001 24h eupen bluestar

Mathias, Romano and Yoan drove the first 6 hours of the race in reversed direction before the first of 3 direction changes took place. We had to drive 6 out of 29 stints on 100kg and Mathias took the first. We drove on 100kg with the best karts, trying to minimalise the loss during these stints. Mathias was immediately impressive and was able to match the pace of many teams on 80kg. Then in the middle of the night the race was stopped because of a problem with the timing system. Unfortunately, this was just when kart changes were taking place, making it hard for the organisation to come up with a fair solution. After almost 1 and a half hour the race was restarted in the other direction and all teams got their next kart and were put back in position of before the last kart change. This was not ideal for us, as we lost some time being picked up by the safety kart as we were the leader in the race. Tristan and I were making our first appearances in the early morning and I drove 2 stints on 100kg, it went very well. My second stint was a double one, the last part driving on 80kg.

161001 24h eupen finish

When the sun came up again in the morning I had to leave the track for some hours because of another race in Brussels. During these hours our team did a fantastic job, constantly maintaining a top 3 position. When I came back the situation was better than it looked, being almost 8 laps down on last year’s winner Modave. Every team had to spend 1720 seconds in the pits during the race, making at least 35 pitstops (of which 28 kart changes) and we were far ahead in terms of time in the pit compared to some other teams including Modave. Avia Racing was in third position and the fast German team was making up time while being virtually a lap or so down. In the closing hours of the race we still had to do our final stint on 100kg which was for me! This was one of our best karts and I could drive a very strong pace, reinforcing our position on track!! Meanwhile Tristan prepared for another stint, while Romano did a great job some time before by unlapping us just before the final safety kart situation. Here we won almost a lap on Modave and we were now more than a lap ahead of them. Romano started the final hour and I had the honour to finish off the race. The last 30 minutes were fantastic, with many spectators on the side of the track I was driving with a big smile on my face in the blue and white colours of Bluestar. The chequered flag dropped right in front of me and we won the 2016 edition of the 24 hours of Eupen, it was amazing!! Big thanks to my teammates and all the support from the Bluestar family during the race, we are already looking forward to the 2017 race.

161001 24h 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