Category

ELMS

Mixed feelings after the final ELMS race of the season

The 4 Hours of Portimao signified the end of my first LMP3 season in the European Le Mans Series. Unfortunately, the race didn’t go as we’d hoped but that’s part of racing. In the end, we ended the championship in fourth place, which was mainly the result of a very strong first half of the season. The second half is best described as ‘character building’.

A promising start

The test on Wednesday, a preparation for the coming weekend, went very well. My teammate and I ended up in third and fourth place and I was matching the more experienced drivers around me quite well and I was very happy with that. On Friday and Saturday, we saved our tyres and ran a limited amount of laps. It all looked very promising.

DQ

In qualifying we had our first setback. My teammate Giorgio Mondini had a flat left front and spun, which brought in the red flag. Our car was brought back to the pits and the team drove it in the box. In the ELMS, that’s only permitted after the chequered flag has been waved. It meant disqualification and a start from last place.

A fine first stint

Starting an ELMS race from position 39 is not easy. You’re absolutely on the back of the field and you’ll need to pass the GT’s first. I did the start and we started the race on the same tyres we had in qualifying with – of course – a new front left. That upset the balance a bit in the first laps but after a while it got better and I could find some great pace. I managed to climb up from 39th to 17th, 18th to sixth in our class. I could attack, overtake a lot of cars and I was enjoying myself a lot.

An early exit

Giorgio took over the wheel and in the first half hour he managed to pick up some more places. After 30 minutes however, he came into contact with a backmarker. This destroyed our suspension and ended our race. It also ended our chance of finishing in the top three of the championship. That’s a shame because especially in the first half of the season, things were looking very good. But let’s look at it from a different perspective: this season, I’ve learned so much. I’ve driven a couple of good races and when things didn’t go our way, I’ve always managed to make something positive out of it.

The season has ended an I’d like to thank Euroointernational for a wonderful season. Now, it’s time to look at the future and I can assure you that very soon, I’ll be able to share some good news!

A huge bummer at Spa

The penultimate round of the European Le Mans Series at Spa-Francorchamps turned into a huge disappointment for myself and the Eurointernational team. In the rain, I hit a puddle and spun out of the race, while fighting for a top spot. Very, very sorry because we were having a great race until that moment.

A second home race

For many Dutch drivers, Spa-Francorchamps is like a second home race and it’s the same for me. A great track in the Ardennes, where a drive gets rewarded for his skills. It’s also a track where the weather plays a huge part. The micro climate around Soa has brought many unexpected rain showers in the past and last weekend was no exception.

Practice

Let’s start at the beginning: free practice and qualifying went very well. The car was great and we were constantly at or around the top of the charts. My teammate was in the car for qualifying and he drove the car to second place on the grid, so we had a great prospect for the race. AT the start of the race it was raining already and it just got worse and worse.

Spray

After an hour and a half of racing, I took over from my teammate and immediately realised how bad it was. I never drove in these conditions. The spray was enormous and when you got overtaken by an LMP2, the blinking light of the car disappeared almost instantly. Despite all this, I felt great in the car. The rain was intense but I could find a good rhythm.

An early exit

At Pouhon, the quick left-hander at the back of the circuit, it all went wrong. I went wide at entry and spun on a puddle, while trying to get back on the racetrack. This meant the end of my race immediately.

These moments are always very hard to take, especially because the safety car came out a short while after my accident. Unfortunately, these moments are part of the sport. The only thing I can do, is apologise to the Eurointernational team, take responsibility and learn from this.

So that’s exactly what we’re going to do. I’ll learn from this and focus on the season finale at Portimao. I’m looking for redemption!

A terrible weekend at SIlverstone

Last weekend, we were at Silverstone for the fourth official round of the European Le Mans Series. Unfortunately, we had a very bad weekend. Despite our great pace in practice and qualifying, we weren’t able to score points in the race on Saturday. During the Four Hours of Silverstone we were plagued with technical problems and we couldn’t score any points.

Silverstone

Silverstone is ofcourse a great track to race on. The history of this place is visible everywhere and the British fans are among the most polite and most interested out there. This is what make racing in England so special and the sacred ground of Silverstone is extra special. You want to do well on a track like this and it was frustrating to see that it wasn’t going to happen.

Faulty Gearbox

As I’ve mentioned, we had great pace in practice and qualifying. Everything seemed possible for the race and we were really focussing on race pace, that’s where we’re usually on our best as a pair. Unfortunately, after three laps we had a gearbox problem and it took our team seven laps to fix it. This meant that we were out of contention for a good result.

These moments are there to learn from and we decided to use the race as a test to gain as much data as we could. We were still hoping for one or two points but the race didn’t bring us any luck.

Everything is possible

Ofcourse I’m not happy, especially because this weekend I was quicker than my teammate Giorgio Mondini. Our first half of the season went very well but after losing points in a crash at the Red Bull Ring, this was another dissapointment. Luckily, we’re still in a shared second place in the championship, so there’s still everything to play for. What has happened to us could happen to someone else.

Again, I’ve learned a lot from this weekend and I’m already looking forward to the next race, where we’ll be trying to bounce back as strong as possible!