Ruben Boutens

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

Puchar E1 Gokart Poznan

Ruben victorious in first edition Puchar E1 Gokart in Poland
Puchar E1 Gokart Poznan, 14 October 2018

During the 2018 Indoor Kart World Championship I was approached by my karting friend Karol Romanczyk regarding a new indoor kart tournament hosted on the new track of E1 Gokart in Poznan. The format included 4 qualifier rounds, a semi-final and a final for the top 12 drivers in the ranking. 90 kilograms was the minimum weight and there was a great prize pool, so I was looking forward to go. A new track for me, and I arrived there on Saturday 13th of October, the track looked amazing, having a first-floor level and an outside part. The Sodi karts were not very fast, but nice to drive. The weather was perfect this weekend and that allowed us to also drive on the outside part. After a few practice heats I felt comfortable on the track and I really liked the variation between the normal tarmac on the ground floor and the more slippery surface on the first floor. On Saturday evening we went into the beautiful city center of Poznan to relax before race day would start on Sunday.

On Sunday around 30 drivers gathered on the track, maybe slightly less than expected but some strong drivers were present and for a first edition it was a really nice field of drivers. A lot of drivers I didn’t know but it felt like many people were looking at me as being the favorite, I was the only non-Polish driver on the grid today. I was excited to get going and in the first heat I could take the full amount of points after being chased by the young Polish talent Maksymilian Bergiel. In every race we had to make a pitstop which worked via a laser system which detected that you entered the pitlane. In the next rounds I faced a couple of strong opponents, but every time I managed to grab the victory, kart differences didn’t seem to make the difference today, which is always very good. After 4 qualifier rounds I was 3 points ahead of Przemo Niewiadomski, a driver I knew from the Polish Indoor Kart Championship who has driven here before and was very quick. He finished one time second, and like in the qualifying heats, we didn’t meet in the semi-final as the group were based on the points standing. We both won our semi-final, keeping it tight going into the big final.

The number three placed driver was already some 10 points behind, so I knew my focus should be Przemo as he was my only real rival left. All 12 finalists had to do 1 hotlap in the same kart one by one, starting with me. I put in a very good lap, feeling confident this might give me some extra points for the shootout qualification. It was cool to see the 11 other drivers going one by one after me and I had some time to prepare for the final race, for which I didn’t draw the best kart in the pack, but neither did Przemo. Nikodem Wierzbicki qualified in 2nd place after me, which was not bad for me looking at the points. The final comprised 25 laps, approximately 25 minutes, and I was challenged from the beginning by Nikodem. He put me under a lot of pressure, for the first time today I had a real battle on my hands and this was nice to see in the final. We pulled away slowly from Przemo who was around 5th place and when Nikodem made his first of 2 mandatory stops approximately halfway in the race, I decided to stay out. I was risking the first place in the race as Nikodem was a bit faster than me, but for the championship this was safer. When I made my two pitstops, I came out just behind the leader, but I was still close. When a backmarker was in front of us, I could come on his bumper again and I attacked the same lap, taking back the lead successfully. From that moment I defended and I booked my sixth victory of the day, winning the championship with a clean sheet!

It was amazing to win the first edition of this event in style, and a big honour being received in Poznan with a lot of respect and appreciation. During the prize giving ceremony a lot of great prizes were awarded to all top 10 finishers. On the podium I received a nice trophy, a free entry ticket for next year and for another Polish championship. On top of that I got a driving course from a professional racing driver, Mateusz Lisowski, to which I’m really looking forward. I would like to thank the organization including Karol Romanczyk and the crew of E1 Gokart for the invitation and hope to see you again next year during an even bigger second edition of this event.