The first of six Dutch electric touring car nationals were held on Sunday, April 22 at the MACH in Heemstede. Having taken a break during most of the winter season I knew I had my work cut out for me if I were to make the A-final in this highly-competitive class. So, with Jilles Groskamp in Slovakia to prepare for the LRP Masters, the main hope for an XRAY win was in the hands of reigning Dutch champion Bart Wubben.
Yours truly getting a corner right (click to enlarge)
During the previous few weeks Bart had proved to be very fast in practice so he came to the MACH very confident and it showed during practice on Friday evening and all through Saturday. While Bart was showing the way, I was struggling to “come to grips” with the combination of running brushless and 5-cell batteries for the first time on such a large and fast track (top speeds in excess of 90KPH occasionally!). It was in the last run on Saturday that things finally started looking up and I felt that the A-final might just be within reach.
Bart right on the edge (click to enlarge)
The first heat on Sunday showed just how competitive racing in the Netherlands has become. The pack was very close together and I found myself in 12th despite what seemed like a reasonably good run. I had the runtime under control now, but I still lacked some speed to keep up with the youngsters.
This is where an XRAY is designed to be (click to enlarge)
As expected, at the front it was Bart who took the initial TQ. His car was looking good and his speed was phenomenal as usual. While the difference was minimal, Bart looked hard to beat. The next two rounds Bart continued to set the pace giving him TQ overall.
Tony and Bart happy with the result (click to enlarge)
Behind him I finally got the brushless setup worked out and improved to 18 laps in 5m13s, only 4s behind Bart. This put me in 7th place, only 1s ahead of 11th… it was that close! My finals are best forgotten as my lack of practice caught up with me. Half a year of almost no racing is not the best preparation for the summer season.
The top three with Bart in the center (click to enlarge)
Fortunately, Bart had things well under control and despite some pressure from behind did not make a single mistake all day, winning both finals and with that the first national. Now all I need is his setup and his skill...
Thanks to Frank Groskamp for providing the excellent pictures!