Ruben Boutens

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

Racehall of Champions

Ruben steals the show in last big race of the year
Aarhus (Dk), 27-28 December 2018

Like previous years, for the last race of the year I drove to Denmark to participate in the Racehall of Champions. A magnificent track which hosted the 2013 Indoor Kart World Championship. Together with talented youngsters Eliano de Vos and Hugo Leenaars and Selina Balneger I arrived on the track on Wednesday evening for some first practice. The track was changed a bit compared to last year and I still loved the wide and fast track which was very good for overtaking. On Thursday a 5-hour endurance race was organised, 18 teams battled in 3 different weight categories for the victory. I raced together with Ian Andersen and Ayrton Walczak, two very nice guys who are always fast in Racehall. I started the race and after qualifying in 2nd place, I had a bit of a challenging first stint as I was chased by some Danish drivers and at the same time, I couldn’t follow the German team of WRT Lubeck who had a nice first kart and made very well use of it. We had to make 3 kart changes and Ian went out on track for the 2nd stint. He drove very good laptimes and closed in on WRT Lubeck. We came back to 10 seconds behind the leaders, but at that moment, Ian entered the pit for the mandatory fuel stop, while there was already another team in the pit. A costly mistake as we had to wait more than 50 seconds before we could press the button and enter the kart change zone. We were now again a lap behind and chances on victory sharply declined.

Ayrton did everything he could in his stint, lapping very consisted and fast laptimes and coming closer to the Germans again. As he was fast, we decided to wait long before performing our final kart change. I stepped in to this last kart for the final 10 minutes of the race. We managed to come pretty close to the leaders but ultimately finished in 2nd place behind Andre Lohse and Lars Ole Jens who drove a very strong race. The Dutch team with Selina, Hugo and Eliano finished on a very good 2nd place in the 65kg class behind the team of Consulting Denmark Jr. On Friday was the most important day for me with the individual championship in 4 different categories, the Juniors (65kg), Seniors (80kg & 100kg) and Old Boys (110kg). I participated in both the 80 and 100kg class. I was very much focused to finish the year on a high, I really wanted to win today and I started with a win in my first heat race in both categories. I felt strong out there and knew that the starting position in the final would be very important as the races were short. In the past years I was often one of the fastest drivers in the final but had to overtake too many drivers. In the second round of heats I finished 3rd and 2nd while Ayrton Walczak (80kg) and Lars Ole Jens (100kg) took the win. In round 3 I could score 2 victories again, meanwhile I drove the fastest lap of the day of all categories in a very good kart, I was ready for the final.

The Junior category featured many strong drivers, but it was Eliano who was the star of the day by winning 2 of his 3 heats and winning the final in great style after driving one of the midfield karts. Eliano was fast from the beginning on this track and deserved the win like no other driver. Hugo also drove for the first time in Denmark and was one of the youngest participants. He showed great potential in all his races and finished in a good 11th position in the final. For the finals we had to draw a kart which was a very exciting moment, I just hoped I didn’t draw a very bad one and that was not the case. In the 80kg class I could pull away from the beginning of the final, building up a small gap to Selina and Ayrton who were fighting for second place. Behind them, an interesting and intense battle for 4th took place, which was ultimately won by Polish Wojtek Stefaniuk. My girlfriend Edyta improved her performance from last year, finishing in a strong 6th place! I was able to secure my first ever win in the Racehall of Champions, a very very nice title which already made my day very good!! There was however another title for grab, as I could start from pole in the 100kg class as well. In this final the competition was even stronger, from the start of the race I had German Lars Ole Jens, Ian Andersen from Denmark and countrymate Selina close behind my bumper. In the middle of the race I was able to slightly pull away, before Ole Jens came closer again. It was a very good race, but I didn’t make any mistakes and finished off the year in the best possible way, with a double win in the Racehall of Champions. After my victories in the Indoor Kart World Championship, British Rental Kart Championship, Belgian National Championship and Formula Karting Championship I could add another big title to my amazing list of results in 2018. I was honored with some big wreaths and an amazing collection of great prizes on the Racehall podium. I would like to thank the organization and ATR Team for making this event possible, and I’m already looking forward very much to 2019!

Racehall of Champions

Ruben finishes successful race-year 2017 in style in Denmark
Aarhus (DK), 27/28 december 2017

Like in the past 2 years, I visited the great track of Racehall in Aarhus (Denmark) in the last week of the year for the Racehall of Champions event. On Wednesday 27th of December the individual championship was scheduled, with 34 drivers in the main 90kg class. After a couple of training sessions I was ready for the qualification in which I managed to drive to a 7th spot overall. Not fantastic, especially because this result counted for all 4 heats. In every heat 28 drivers were on the grid and I had to start from position 5 or 6. The heats are typically short with only 10 laps, and hence not much time was there to make up positions, although there is ample space for overtaking on the wide track of Racehall. In the first heat I came back to a 3rd position, while in the other heats I struggled a bit more, resulting in a 10th, 5th and 4th position, again bringing me to the 7th place in the ranking before the final. I knew however that the final was deciding and that nothing was lost yet. I was very motivated to make the most of it and in the first 2 laps of the 12-lap final I overtook already 2 Danish guys. Then I hunted down Dutch/Polish Ayrton Walczak and Danish local Nicolaj Kandborg to take over 3rd position. Ian Andersen was leading the race and was lapping faster laptimes than all other drivers, so my goal was now set on the 2nd place of Mathias Sponholtz. I was able to close down the gap, but there was 1 lap too few to really attack him. Therefor I ended the final in 3rd position, not bad at all looking at my starting position so I was satisfied with the result. My girlfriend Edyta had a very good day first of all making it into the final and secondly by driving from 24th to 16th place in that final!


On Thursday 28th of December a 5 hour endurance race was organised, and I teamed up with 2 of yesterday’s rivals, Ayrton Walczak and Nicolaj Kandborg. We both showed good speed in the individual championship so we were ready for the endurance race with 18 teams on the grid. We had to make 5 mandatory kart changes, including 4 driver changes and 1 fuel stop. Nicolaj took the qualification and the start and was driving in various positions from 1 to 4 during the first hour. After a one-and-a-half hour stint I took over and could grab back the first position in the race and start building up an advantage. In the third hour of the race the fuel stop took place and after 3 hours and 15 minutes Ayrton made his appearance on track. We had a comfortable position at that moment and Ayrton could drive solid laptimes. Michele Gatting driving for a local Danish team was closing in on us however, and so we had to be aware during the last hour of the race. I did another stint of 35 minutes and could consolidate our advantage, which was more than a lap at that moment. In third position was the team of Ian Andersen and Michele Ottini, a strong team which was a bit unlucky in the beginning of the race and later on dropped back a bit by doing a couple of extra driver changes. Ayrton finished the race and we took the victory, a very nice way to finish the 2017 season which was already one never to forget for me!


Racehall of Champions

Ruben finishes the year nicely in Denmark
Aarhus (Dk), December 27th & 28th 2016

Like last year, Rico and I decided to make the big trip to Denmark in the last week of the year for the Racehall of champions. On the impressive track there is always a great field of participants from all over Europe. On Monday the 26th we arrived together with Dutch Value youngster Mike Dijkgraaf to do some practice heats. We had a great time out on track and we were ready for the first day of racing on Tuesday. The 100kg class was planned and 47 drivers started their first of 4 qualifying heats. My day started off very well, as I was able to score a 2nd and a first place in the first two heats. In heat 3 and 4 I had somewhat more difficult karts and had to fight for top 10 positions. Rico had some tough luck and managed to get into the finals only in about 15th position, just behind the third Dutchman in the final, Marcel Hollink. I was ranked 5th after the heats and had good chances on fighting for a podium spot. I was the only non-Danish driver in top 10 and we our doubts about the way the karts were drawn, certainly not random and luckily for the final the draw was done in a transparent way. I had a good kart and in the warm up I managed to clock the fastest laptime.

161227 rhoc dutch value

Now I knew I had to give it all, the final was only around 15 minutes in length. In the first lap I was able to overtake both Nicki Thiim (well know Danish touring car driver) and Markus Bang in one move. Then I was chasing down Nicolaj Kandborg for second, and halfway the race I was on his bumper and immediately overtook him. While setting the fastest laptime I closed in on the leader, Mathias Sponholtz. Unfortunately I the time was too short to catch him and I ended up in 2nd position just 0.8 second behind the winner. Despite the disappointment of not winning the race, I was very happy with my first podium here in the individual championship.

161227 rhoc podium 100

In the evening I drove together with Ian Andersen a 1 hour endurance race in the fast Superkarts which were used during the KWC 2013 as well. This was good fun but unfortunately we just missed the podium and ended the race in 4th position. It was a pleasure to drive with Ian, a driver from the Faroer Islands.

161227 rhoc ian and ruben

On Wednesday both the 65kg (junior) and 80kg (main) class were planned. In the junior category both Rico and Mike were very strong. Mike fought for the 3rd place in the final, but in the end had to settle for 10th position. A super performance from one of the youngest drivers of the field, a performance he can certainly be proud of. After Rico’s runner up position in this class last year, he now took the victory after dominating all races. In the fuel break there was a special shoot out for 8 drivers of different countries in the superkarts. I represented the Netherlands and this fun event was very nice to do. After beating Andersen (Faroer Islands) and Gosselin (Belgium) in the first 2 rounds I was able to beat Danish Moller Madsen in the final! As a bonus, I won a free entry for next year!

161227 rhoc team

Then the 80kg class. With a 2nd, 4th, 5th and 1st position I was again in top shape and spot on for a top start position in the grand final. Only Danish favorite Jannik Nielsen was ahead of me, even after both Rico and I beat him to the line in the penultimate and last spectacular qualifier heats. Rico lined up in 4th while Ian Andersen was in between us. Emiel Hollink was the 3rd Dutchman in the final, following the example of his brother from yesterday! This time I drew a not so good kart and in the warm up I was not able to drive a time amongst the 12 fastest drivers. With a second starting position I still had everything to play for. Surprisingly, due to the slipstream I was able to stay on the bumper of Jannik in the first few laps. I was even able to overtake him at the end of the straight. I knew it would not be good to defend too hard, first because then I would likely get a blue flag here, and second because then the number 3-7 would close in quickly.

161228 rhoc podium 80

Jannik overtook me again with a hard move, and then he pull away. After a couple of laps Filipe Vieira closed in and he passed me also, I was not planning to lose much time because I realized I could maybe profit from a fight between Vieira and Nielsen. Rico closed in on me but had not enough time to catch me, so I stayed on third position. Vieira reached the back of Nielsen but was not able to overtake him. And so I closed my very successful season 2016 with another podium, given the kart I had, I was very satisfied with the result. I’m looking forward very much the next big events in 2017!

Racehall of Champions

Ruben finishes 2015 kart season in Denmark
Arhus (Dk), December 27/28

rhoc trio

Together with my dad and Mika Mathia I left Holland on the 26th of December to take part in the Racehall of Champions in Arhus, Denmark. My Dutch Value teammate Rico Haarbosch joined later that day. There were 4 individual classes in the standard karts and a 1 hour teamrace in the superkarts also used at KWC 2013. On Sunday 27th of December we arrived early at the track to do some practice sessions, because the entry list showed a lot of fast drivers which were not to be underestimated. Today the three of us all took part in the 100kg class, more or less a warm up for Monday but once you start racing you want to win of course. A lot of autosport drivers joined the championship and this was fun on the one hand, on the other hand some of them didn’t care too much and drove quite aggressively. During the heats, kart draw was very important, the track has long straights and with a less good kart it is very hard to still score good points. In my first two races I scored 2 bad results, 10th and 9th and I knew the last heat had to be good. With a 3rd place I secured a starting position inside the top 10 for the final at the end of the day, featuring the 24 best drivers.

rhoc startgrid

In that final Frenchman Jean-Philippe Guignet started from pole position and immediately build up a lead over Rico. Rico had to defend his 2nd position which created a long line of karts behind him. I worked my way up from 9th to 5th place when I was bumped out by ruthless driving Nicki Thiim from Denmark. Luckily he didn’t participate on Monday as he made not much friends on Sunday. 5 people were penalized during the final, most of them simply ignoring the penalty which lead to some chaos on the track. Luckily Rico remained calm to take 2nd position over Danish Nikolaj Kandborg.

rhoc podium 100kg

Later that day 12 teams competed in a 1 hour endurance race with the faster 13BHP superkarts. In this race I teamed up with Michele Ottini, a team organized by Martin Christensen. We had a lot of fun on the slippery track and were able to finish in 2nd position. The race was won by the local Danish drivers from Polle Racing, including Mark Kamstrup who finished in the top 10 in KWC 2013.

rhoc endurance

After a 10km run through Arhus and a good night of sleep we were looking forward to another day of racing on this great track. Today the 65kg (junior) and 80kg (main class) categories were raced. In the junior class it was a battle between Christiaan Lungaard and Rico Haarbosch all day long. In the end however it was Aske Nygaard who took home victory in an exciting final. Rico secured another 2nd place just before Lungaard. Mika was able to finish in a very decent 5th position, for his first time in Denmark this was a remarkable effort! In the 80kg class Rico showed his talent once more, finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the heats to grab pole position for the grand final. I drew the same kart twice in the morning, which resulted in a 10th and 6th position before I came up to speed and won my last race. After a nice battle with Nielsen (local favorite) and Teuwen (last year’s winner) I finally got a win. This brought me to the 8th position on the startgrid for the final.

rhoc podium 80kg

This final worked out pretty well for me, as I was able to win 4 positions by clean overtakes. I had some good fights with Danish Daniel Lundgaard and reigning Belgian GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne. Rico was defending his 1st position against Jannik Nielsen. After less than 1 lap of defending, Nielsen just pushed Rico on the back of his kart and he had to run wide. While everyone clearly saw this was a ridiculous move, the marshalls decided not to do anything at all. This was for most people a real letdown of the officials and a shame the final had to finish in this way. Top 4 remained unchanged in the last 5 laps, so Nielsen passed the chequered flag first in front of Rico, Guignet and me. All in all we enjoyed the weekend, despite some questionable judgement of the referees. It was nice to see some international drivers again and we hope to face them again in 2016 in other great karting events.

rhoc ruben stoffel