Ruben Boutens

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

Kart World Championship day 5

Ruben ends up P6 and with a team word title
July 26th 2015

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The final day of KWC 2015 was there, 73 drivers could enjoy the Italian beach today, whilst 54 qualified for one of the three semi finals. Mathias Grooten was leading the championship and scored a second place in the first semi final. I was in the second group, and like the previous days, the best of luck was not really on my side. With a so so kart I managed to qualify 6th, working myself up into the top 4 for the race. This gave me only 7th position before the big final. Yoan won the 3rd and last semi and thereby made it into the final as the 4th driver from our Bluestar team! The battle qualification was very important for your kart and extra points. I started against American Logan Calvin and beat him in both karts, proceeding to the second round. I faced 2nd placed Matts Breckpot, who outqualified me with 0.09 of a second. This resulted in a 5th place on the grid for me.

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The final was pretty intense, the 18th best indoor kart drivers in the world started their engine one more time this week, and battled hard for every position. I knew exactly what I had to do and overtook both young Belgian driver Baccellieri and young Dutch talent Stolk in the first half of the race. I made my pitstop on the right moment to come out still in third just before some fast drivers like Borremans, Klek, Van Overveld and Javanainen who pitted early. Unfortunately Javanainen got a penalty which cost me 5th place to Stolk, as he moved up due to the penalty. After 12 races including 3 wins and 11 podiums I ended KWC 2015 in a nice 6th place. Mathias Grooten was the new Indoor Kart World Champion, just before other Belgian Matts Breckpot and Arnaud Teuwen. Lorenzo Stolk (Nl) and Gianni Bongiovanni (It) took home victory in respectively the juniors and masters class. The women’s championship was from a much higher level then previous years, Annelien and Selina were differentiated only by 1 point, in favor of Selina, Annelien was the first girl in (I)KWC to score 2 victories, but 2 mechanical problems cost her the title.

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The 6th place was obviously not the position I hoped for on beforehand, luck and performance needs to be combined during a week like this and luck was not always on my side. However, with Bluestar we were able to become team world champion 2015, a fantastic effort together with Robin, Mathias, Yoan and Greg. I want to thank all my sponsors, who helped me in getting budget to prepare well for the championship! Next year I will be back to fight for the world title again, it has to come my way one time!

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Kart World Championship day 4

Good day but chances on title decline
July 25th 2015

The 4th and before last day of KWC 2015 was a crucial one for many drivers, also for me. I had to drive 3 more races to make my total of heat races to 10, and in the first one a drew another average kart. I qualified 3rd and managed to overtake Brazilian Lara in the beginning of the race. Leader Marczyk from Poland had a mechanical failure and had to change kart, which dropped him back to 4th place. I fought with Emile Hollink (Nl), Romanowski (Pl) and Lara (Br) for the win. It was hard because they all had a bit better kart then me, and I lost 1st place to Lara with the pitstop. So my 5th second place was there. In race 9 I faced a really tough group with teammates Medart and Grooten and a lot of outsiders. Degaigne (Fr) took pole position, and with Mathias he drove away quickly and was out of reach for Yoan and me. We battled for 3rd and I managed to take my 9th podium because of a better pitstop. Although 9 out of 9 podiums sounds great, I lose more and more ground of my biggest competitors Grooten, Borremans, Teuwen and Breckpot (all from Belgium).

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Luckily in my 10th and final heat race I drew my second top kart. With this kart I scored a relatively easy win with pole position and fastest lap over Klek (Pl) and Leite (Br, vice champion 2014) to up my total of wins to 3. With the semi final and final waiting for us, I’m 5th in the ranking.

150725 finish

Tomorrow I will give it all one more day here and try to finish in the best possible final position. Juniors Klek from Poland, Stolk from Holland and Baccellieri from Belgium are close behind me and will also fight for the junior championship. Furthermore Swedish Javanainen, Hungarian Janecsko, American Logan Calvin and Dutch Nick van Overveld are outsiders for a top 5 spot. Behind them is a big group of people who will fight for the 18 available spots in the big final of tomorrow, the first Italian driver is Gianni Bongiovanni on position 14.

150725 medailles

Kart World Championship day 3

Victory and 2 second places
July 24th 2015

At 8am in the morning Annelien and I prepared for our 5th race of the championship. We qualified 2nd and 1st, perfect start of the day on a track which was still a bit slippery. I could build up a lead in the first half of the race, and maintain the advantage over Annelien and Spanish Jose Burillo who drove strong in 3rd place. With the pitstops, Burillo was able to overtake Annelien and in the last couple of laps he also took my fastest lap away, very nice drive from him and a good win for me, I needed it. Only half an hour later I had to prepare again to drive my second heat of the day. This time I drew a decent kart, however there were some other strong competitors on the track. I qualified in 3rd, only 0.08 from pole position of Selina Balneger. During the race I first had to overtake American Logan Calvin, then I tried to catch Selina but she was too quick. I didn’t have the kart to attack her and I had to be satisfied with a 2nd place, again. Many hours later I took my suit out of my kartbag again to drive my 7th race of the championship. For the second time today I qualified 3rd, in this relatively weak group I had not such a good kart.

150724 startgrid

In the first lap I overtook Dutch Marcel Hollink with an overtake on the outside part of the track. Then I came closer to Matts Breckpot (2nd in the championship and leading the race), but after a couple of laps he stepped up his pace and I could not follow him. I finished for the 7th consecutive time on the podium, a nice streak but at the same time I am already 17 points down on championship leader Grooten (Be). I have the feeling that I’m driving one of my best world championships to date, but I can’t control the groups and kart draws of other drivers, so I will keep pushing and focussing on my own result! So far I can’t blame myself in any of my races and I am still in the top 5! I can’t wait to go out on track tomorrow again for 3 more heat races.

150724 annelien

As we have finished day 3 of the championship, it is pretty obvious to notice that the Belgian and Dutch drivers are dominating the championship. A few outsiders like Polish Marczyk, Swedish Javanainen and American Logan Calvin are dangerous for top 10 spots as well. Many Dutch drivers are scoring wins, a performance never seen at KWC before, although I have to say some of them are very luck with kart draw so far! But still they are quick, and so are the Belgians, as usual. 5 more races still have to come, of which the semi final and final as always the most important ones, so nothing is decided yet and we certainly have 2 very interesting days in prospect!

150724 podium

KWC day 2

Two more podiums and bad luck at the same time
July 23rd 2015

On the second day of KWC 2015 problems with karts became bigger and bigger. Because of many unexperienced or stupid drivers who cause a lot of accidents, the karts are suffering a lot and less and less spare karts remain. The large number of drivers adds to the atmosphere that colours KWC but too many drivers can also has its problems. Let’s hope the organisation is able to follow the time schedule a bit more strict in the next days, so the mechanics have some time to prepare all karts for the next day again! My first race of the day was a very tough group with many fast drivers. I qualified 2nd behind teammate Yoan Medart who was in a superkart and 4 tenths faster. I tried to attack Yoan in the first lap, but he was gone immediately and I knew I had to go for second place. Logan Calvin was chasing me and after losing in the first laps, he closed in and then decided to make his pitstop. I countered him and came out well in front on second place again, the maximum result again so I was satisfied.

150723 (4)

For my second heat of the day, I drew a very good kart and took pole position. Unfortunately, during the beginning of the race a puncture came up slowly and the kart became worse and worse to drive in the corners. I didn’t come close to my qualifying laptime anymore, so that was very frustrating. Baccellieri (Be) and Javanainen (Sw) were pushing behind me and stopped early. This obliged me to stop early as well, and I fell back to third. With some defending I managed to stay in third, but I was quite frustrated to not win with this super kart, bad luck!! After two days the Belgium again seem to be very very strong, having Grooten, Baccellieri and Breckpott in the top with all 3 or more wins. But also Teuwen (Be) is fast, Marczyk from Poland, Calvin from USA and Withake from Germany are to watch out for! My sister Annelien is leading the womens championship after 3 podiums (1,2,3) and a 6th place. Tomorrow I’ll drive 3 heats starting already at 8am.

150723 (1)

Kart World Championship day 1

Very decent start for Ruben, Dutch are strong on first day
July 22nd 2015

On the first day of the individual KWC 2015 there was plenty of action with already 14 races scheduled, 2 for half of the drivers, 3 heats of 20 minutes for the other half. My first race was a very good one, I had a nice kart and was able to take pole position with 4 tenths of a second over Polish Kamil Gorlo. Despite a restart because of some serious crashes in the first lap, I was able to stay calm and drive a consistent race with a safe pitstop and fastest lap, maximum score and my best KWC start since 2011. 4 other Dutch drivers were able to step on the podium as well, both Nick, Brian, Selina and Lorenzo finished their first race in second place!! The first day was a very good one for my Bluestar teammate Grooten, who is leading the championship with 2 wins. American Logan Calvin and Belgian Matts Breckpot also finished first twice, whilst Arnaud Teuwen (Be), Christopher Withake (Ge) and Mikolaj Marczyk (Pl) scored a 2nd and a first.

150722 ruben

In the second round of heats I drew a very bad kart, not a single driver was able to finish in the top 10 with this kart today. However I managed to qualify in 4th and in a very exciting race where even my exhaust came loose, I overtook one guy on the track and one in the pit. After some defending I finished in 2nd place, with was satisfying with this kart, absolutely the maximum possible result here. Nick was also on a mission, he took home his first ever KWC victory in his 2nd heat, climbing to 6th position in the ranking just behind me after day 2! Another Dutch success was due to a great race of sister Annelien who was the first lady to win a race here, started from place 3. Brothers Emile and Marcel Hollink scored a 2nd and 3rd place, very nice drive from them, and Lorenzo made the good Dutch day complete with another 2nd place in heat 3. Kart differences are a bit bigger than what we hoped for, 7/8 tenths and that allows a lot of people from the midfield to battle for podium positions when having a good kart. Tomorrow we will continue with heat races 3, 4 and 5.

Practice day 7

Last day of practice goes well
July 21st 2015

The last day of practice was again a very good one. I’m very happy about the practice week in general, drove a lot of different karts and we had enough time to focus on the important details. Today we were even asked (together with Mathias) to test a couple of karts in our heats, to see if they had to turn them down or upgrade them a bit. The mechanics were working hard all day and the kart differences were much smaller compared to Sunday.

150721 lorenzo

For the KWC I think all Belgium Bluestar guys, Mathias, Robin and Yoan are very fast, like Italian Gianni Bongiovanni. Also the Dutch drivers are going well, Nick is fast every heat and close behind him come Lorenzo and Brian. Also the Dutch ladies seemed to outperform their international rivals. Some outsiders might be Betti (It), Carridi (It), Marczyck (Pl), Withake (Ge), Teuwen (Be), Breckpott (Be) and Baccellieri (Be). But also the Colombian, American and Brazilian guys will compete for podiums. Tonight (Tuesday night) is briefing and also the group draw will be released today! Tomorrow morning the races will start, make sure you follow the updates on my website during the day!

Nations Cup

Broken down kart and ‘superkart’ screw up our chances of winning
Sunday July 19th 2015

On Sunday July 19th KWC 2015 kicked off with Nations Cup. No less than 32 teams from 13 different countries entered the event. Therefor, there was a qualifying race scheduled in 2 groups, both racing 3 hours with the top 8 of each race advancing to the 3 hour final. The remaining 16 teams drove a 1.5 hour mini finale. I teamed up with Robin Borremans, Mathias Grooten, Yoan Medart and Gregory Laporte (this time as a coach as we could not drive with more than 4 drivers) for the Belgium Bluestar Racingteam for the third time. Earlier this year we won the 24 hours of Brussels together. The team race where every team represents a country started for us just after 8am in the morning with a 5 minutes qualifying. I was able to take pole position with a 6 tenths gap to 2nd placed Mikolaj Marczyck for Poland. In 3rd to 5th place were Rico Haarbosch (Holland IKM), Nick van Overveld (Holland Flying Dutchman) and Giovanni Baccellieri (Belgium Holla Lulu).

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In the first stint I managed to build up a 20 second lead with consistent lap times before a gave the kart to Robin Borremans after 40 minutes. We had to make 3 pit stops and 3 kart changes, both in separated pit lanes. This all worked fine, and Robin made our first kart change. We got back a pretty bad kart, and Yoan changed this kart quickly after he stepped into the kart. With a nice 3rd kart we were able to stay close to the leaders (Poland and Germany who had to make one more stop). It became warmer and warmer and several drivers seemed to have problems with the temperature, also Yoan was suffering but he managed to keep driving good lap times. Mathias finished off the race for us, bringing home the kart nicely in 1st place with over a gap of over a lap to the second team of Holland IKM. Due to a very nice stint of Lorenzo Stolk they beat the German team to the line. The other Dutch team with Thom van Dijk, Brian Kroon and Nick just missed out on the final as they had a mechanical failure in the end of the race, bad luck for them. The second qualifier races was won by team USA.

150719 nc (2)

In the mini finale it was the Dutch team with Brian, Nick and Thom that took victory, proving they should have been in the big final. With a delay of around 2.5 hours qualifying for the big final started. Something we were afraid of, seemed to be true, the karts were not very well suited for endurance races (the owner even wanted to decrease the length of the final), resulting in much bigger kart differences than the days before. I had a pretty slow kart, qualifying only 10th almost a second off pole position of Polish Kasia Brem. Also Lorenzo for Holland IKM had similar problems starting just in front of me. In the first few laps I was able to overtake 2 people and changed kart afterwards. I got a very decent kart and drove in my first lap already a top 3 lap time. Unfortunately, after 4 laps, the kart broke down and there went our chances on victory. Many people pointed at us as the big favourites, but after only 15 minutes we were dead last 3 laps down. The kart we got back was also 7-8 tenths off the pace.

150719 nc (3)

After I completed the full first hour, Mathias took over my kart and changed it rather quickly, 2nd kart change as the broken kart didn’t count :(. We now had a very good kart, and after approximately 15 minutes something with the limiter happened and we suddenly got much more power. The same thing happened to Holland IKM in the morning race, and they completed their stint until the next kart change. The ‘problem’ in combination with a malfunction in the gas cable caused Mathias to crash in the wall. Luckily we could continue and Mathias drove crazy lap times of 2 seconds faster then everyone else. At that moment we even had a chance to win the race again with still 1 hour and 15 minutes to go. Then what seemed to be our luck after the bad luck earlier, again turned out to be a huge disadvantage for us. Robin prepared for a driver change and at once, he had to step into another kart, in contrast to what happened with Holland IKM in the morning. This gave a discussion in the pit lane, it was in the end not our fault the kart has the problem and if we would have a very slow kart we would not be asked to change either. All in all it cost us another half a minute, and we had to continue in another kart. Robin and Yoan give their best in the remaining hour, resulting in a 10th place only 2 laps behind the leaders, a bizarre race.

150719 nc (4)

Belgium Holla Lulu Racing, Matts Breckpott, Giovanni Baccellieri and 2 marshals who just made it to the final with some luck, drove a very strong race and won the Nations Cup 2015. The Brazilians who could not complain about their karts, ended up in a very nice 2nd place, just before the team of Matt Bartsch, Adrian Janecsko, Tim van den Acker and Arnaud Teuwen, congratulations to all podium finishers! Another ‘favourite’ Holland IKM ended up all the way in the back after some strange decision like continuing with very bad karts and making an extra kart change. A shame, because the young Dutch drivers were really quick. In the end the kart differences and the reliability of the karts is a big point. Luckily the mechanics still have 2 days to prepare the karts and we drive only short races from now on, so I still have good hopes.

150719 nc (5)

Unfortunately also no victory in my 8th Nations Cup, after 3 consecutive 3rd places in the last 3 years, no podium result this year. On the other hand I am very positive about the upcoming week, I think I really have the speed here and with our team we are strong for the team championship. On Monday I will take a day off to get back to full power after the 2 demanding stints. I think it is better to charge the battery fully again to make a good last day of practice on Tuesday.

Practice day 6

PGKart is crowded as the weekend starts
Saturday July 18th 2015

On Saturday July 18th it was very crowded at the kart track, almost all heats were fully booked. I tried to do 3 heats in a row today, it was warm, but no problem. That’s good to know for the Nations Cup of tomorrow. I do know however that I will not take any risks regarding weights, as you lose a lot of weight during the sessions. I’m already taking with me 2.5 kilos more than in the beginning of the week. Today was a very good day for me, finishing 1st in all but one of my sessions with 5 different karts. At the moment it is really annoying to realise we still have to wait until Wednesday before KWC will start, I feel I am ready for it. Also during the heats it can be frustrating, as people who just arrived a driving many seconds off pace and become driving chicanes every now and then. One advantage, it serves as a good opportunity to practice overtaking!

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I’m happy we start racing tomorrow with Nations Cup, we can then see who is really fast at the moment. Many top drivers will use it as a good practice for next week. Today Nick and Lorenzo were positively surprising, as they drove quick laptimes in all their heats, and that didn’t go unnoticed by other internationals who are watching them. Tonight at 8pm there will be briefing for Nations Cup, tomorrow morning we will finally kick off!

Practice day 4

Track gets crowded as more drivers arrive
July 16th 2015

On Thursday was the last day of practice in the evening, from tomorrow onwards the track will be open for KWC participants only in the morning and afternoon. The PGK crew was very busy with serving everyone at the desk, but after a while we were able to book our sessions for today. It was again extremely warm today, with a humidity sky high making it feel even warmer. Luckily the circumstances are the same for every driver.

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During all my heats today, I was able to drive in the top of the sheets and that gave some confidence. I tried a lot of different things, some working out quite well other things didn’t. I also experienced with a lot of different outfits, I took with me a couple of different suits, gloves and shoes to make the best combination that fits the karts and track.

All in all, we are happy to be here in time to prepare well. Brian, Nick and Annelien showed again very decent pace today!

150716 inschrijven

As we advance during the week, a handful of drivers who just arrived tries to drive behind us and copy our driving styles. Former world champion (2005) Werner Truegler from Austria and quick Brazilian Humberto Rubin (3rd place World Cup 2014) joined us on the track today. Also the guys from the organization come in one by one, Poul Horneman was present today, and also Corné Snoep (this time not as a driver) and Bas van Osta both from the Netherlands will join the race direction this year, they arrived well too.

Tomorrow practice continues in the morning.

Practice day 3

Cooling down on 3rd day of practice
Wednesday July 15th

150715 dag 3 glijden

Before we headed to the track again on Wednesday, we went with a big group of KWC participants to a big waterpark where we enjoyed some slides and ball games in the water, a nice cooling down with hot temperatures of over 35 degrees.

At 6 o’clock we were present at the kart track again to drive some more practice heats. Today we went out on track with already more than 10 drivers per session. A lot of people were trying to analyse the lines of the quick drivers, Gianni Bongiovanni being one of them. The Italian guy who also participated in Belgium ealier this year was showing some very impressive pace and a different driving style. Although I couldn’t match his times, the feeling was still pretty good and there are some heats left to improve. After the practice we went to the city of Ancona for some good dinner!

Trip to Italy and first practice

Warm welcome in Italy
July 12th, 13th and 14th

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On Sunday July 12th it was finally time to start our journey, our car was packed and we were ready to leave to Southern Europe. Two weeks of go kart action were waiting for us in Italy, the location of the 2015 Indoor Kart World Championship. Together with dad, sister Annelien, Nick van Overveld and Brian Kroon we left on Sunday morning. We decided to do the trip in 2 days, as we then could take is easy and stop at some nice places while travelling. We passed the Swiss Gothard pass in the alpes, and stopped at the Enzo Ferrari museum in Modena. On Monday evening we arrived in our house close to Camerano, the people from the place were very friendly and with the temperatures over 30 degrees Celcius we could well say we had a warm welcome in Italy. As we were only a few minutes away from the track, we had to go there after unpacking our stuff.

20150714 training dag 1 en 2 (2)

When we arrived at the track, some other Dutch guys were already practicing, Rico Haarbosch, Lorenzo Stolk and Selina Balneger were present. Also some internationals were already out on track, always nice to see them again. My Colombian friend Andres Prieto, winner of last year's final was in Italy with two Colombian mates. We drove two heats tonight and it directly felt good. A couple of karts were clearly slower than the rest of the pack, but they were put into the garage and fixed straight away, the mechanics know what they are doing, how different compared to last year, luckily. However I think it is too early yet to judge about the kart differences right now.

20150714 training dag 1 en 2 (3)

On Tuesday we first visited the Italian beach joining young Dutch driver Thom van Dijk. After a nice BBQ later on during the day, and after Nick and I watched a nice mountain stage in the Tour de France we were ready to go racing again. Practice is overly expensive here, but luckily I have managed to collect almost 1200 euros via crowfunding this year. This allows me to practice enough and pay some of my travelling and daily costs over here. I am very thankful to everyone who helped me with this, because a lot of practice will definitely help here. Today Nick and I drove 3 heats, Annelien and Brian again 2. From today on it was no longer possible to pick your kart, you were randomly assigned one which is off course much better. Up until Thursday there are still other heats in between, from Friday onwards the track will be exclusively available for KWC participants. Today I was able to compare some laptimes, and it looked quite okay.

20150714 training dag 1 en 2 (4)

The heat is certainly playing a role here, a lot of people were complaining about it. Luckily I am very well prepared and I do not expect any problems because of the heat. The tickets we reserved from home were already waiting for us in an envelop, nicely done. The Italians barely speak English, however their very nice attitude makes up for that. The building is very nice although I expect it to become very crowded inside later in the week. Today 2 quick American drivers, Jon Kimbrell (triple USA rental kart champion) and Logan Calvin (reigning USA rental kart champion) and the Germans Christophe and Lukas Withake went out on the track as well. Marcel and Emile Hollink and Johnny Kraak completed the Duch delegation of in total 11 drivers. Live timing will be online shortly, I will post the link on my website and also the race schedule will be posted when available. I think that will be on Friday or Saturday. So far mainly positive news, Nick, Brian and Annelien all showed a nice pace as well.

Preview

Preview kwc 2015
July, Middelburg

From July 19th until July 26th the Indoor Kart World Championship is held for the 11th time in a row! This time the event takes place in Italy for the first time, the location is Camerano, on the Italian East coast. We drive the PGK-Z shifter karts, for the first time geared karts are used. To minimize the factor of luck, no less than 10 qualifying races will be driven. The track is an indoor/outdoor track like in Eupen and Essen (2011 and 2012). This year I will join the Belgium Bluestar Racing Team for the third time after I took the team world title with them in 2009 and after our 3rd place in Nations Cup last year. From July 13th until July 20th we will have a practice week, Nations Cup will be due on July 19th and the individual World Cup starts Tuesday 21st of July.

In January I've already won my entry ticket during the British Rental Kart Championship. Afterwards, I also took home victory during the Dutch (DOK) and Polish Indoor Kart Championships, both official KWC qualifiers. Earlier this year, the PGK-Z kart were the karts for the Belgian Indoor Kart Championship in Brussels where I first drove them. This was a fantastic experience, the karts have a lot of power and shifitng adds an extra dimension to the driving. This demands more practice than usual, for that reason I already went to Italy in May to test the track and the karts to come prepared to Italy for the practice right before the World Cup.

Practice week Camerano

Ruben and Annelien get to know the track
May 25th-28th 2015

In the last week of May I went to Italy by car together with my dad for a week of practice in Camerano at the World Championship track. After a nice trip with stops in legendary places like Monza, Maranello, Imola and Misano, we first made it to the track on Monday.

A day later we picked up my sister Annelien and my 90 year old grandfather from the airport in Ancona, a larger city close to Camerano. In the next 4 days we drove a couple of heats a day to get familiar with the powerful shifter karts and the track. It was awesome to drive with those karts again since the Belgian Indoor Kart Championship earlier this year. The track was very nice, with just over 50 seconds a nice lenght for KWC although overtaking seemed to be rather difficult.

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The practice went quite well, despite we didn't really have a good comparison, we left Camerano with a really good feeling at the end of the week, we were already able to drive consistent lap times. The locals didn't talk English that well, but they were very very helpful which made us feel very welcome. I am already looking forward to the start of the World Cup, I can't wait to come back here in a few weeks.