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