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Race report by Pedro Rombouts
Round 3 of the 200mm Dutch Nationals took place at the MBC de Sluis track in Gouda. Forecasts for Saturday were bad with a lot of rain expected. This is how it happened with the track being wet all day long. Without any practice on this tight and technical track, everyone had to hope for the best on Sunday. Fortunately, forecasts for Sunday were good and we ended up having nice weather for a good day of racing.

During qualification on Sunday morning, drivers were able to do their first rounds on the track. Because of little use of the track during the year and the rain on Saturday, there was absolutely no grip on the track. Drivers really had to find the balance of their cars through the many tight corners.

After three rounds of qualification it was Team XRAY driver Pedro Rombouts who took pole position, doing his best three conservative rounds in 51.982. He was followed by Arco de Jong, Sander Borghoff, Remy Möller, Belgian Team XRAY driver Maxim Claes, and Dennis van Lammeren.

1. Pedro Rombouts – XRAY NT1
2. Arco de Jong
3. Sander Borfhoff
4. Remy Möller
5. Maxim Claes – XRAY NT1
6. Dennis van Lammeren

In the semi-final there were four places left the fight for. Daan Stuiver did the best job after 15 minutes of racing to take the win in this semi and lining up 7th for the main final. Ruben D’Arco finished 2nd with the same number of laps to place his NT1 on 8th spot for the final. The 3rd and 4th place finishers, Rik Meijeren and Ingeborg Gommers (respectively), took the last two spots for the main final.

The wet conditions on Saturday, combined with only 3 rounds of short (4min) qualifications to ‶feel the rhythm※ translated back in a messy main final, with a lot of more mistakes and incidents than we are used to. Right from the start it was Pedro Rombouts setting the pace through the tight corners of the track. After a few laps Pedro took advantage of the battles behind him and pulled away a few seconds. But after some laps he came in contact with the very first backmarker and his car ended up in the grass while a whole field of cars passed by him; it dropped him down more than half a lap. From this moment there were changing positions all the time, with Arco de Jong and some rounds later Remi Möller leading the race. But this wouldn’t last long due a technical problem with Remy’s car, and his race ended in lap 28. From there it was Arco de Jong leading again with Dennis van Lammeren steady in 2nd.

Some Drivers with early problems drove their way back to the front, with Sander and Pedro showing a better pace than some guys ahead of them. In the same moments Maxim took over the lead after showing the best lap times of all drivers. This also didn’t last long. After some 16 minutes Maxim’s car flamed out in the pit lane, and it took too long to get him back on track for a good result. From there it was Arco leading again, but he had to battle with Sander, with Pedro in 3rd approaching the two front drivers. Some 22 minutes in the race, Arco got a call from his pit crew telling him he was driving in 1st place. Arco translated this as a call for a fuel stop and came in… and this dropped him back from 1st to 3rd place. Now it was Sander, who was already the 5th different leader of the race, and Pedro up front.

After some battles and changing positions it was Pedro who got the best of Sander (who tried his best on his very worn-out tires). He asked too much of them and after they were almost completely gone after 30 minutes, so Arco and Dennis were able to pass him in the closing minutes of the race. In these closing minutes of the race, Pedro had a 9 second lead over Arco. He took the car home and crossed the line after 30 minutes to make 99 laps. Arco finished 2nd only 7 seconds behind, and 3rd spot went to Dennis van Lammeren who had the most steady and trouble-free run of the pack.

Final Results:

1. Pedro Rombouts – XRAY NT1

2. Arco de Jong
3. Dennis van Lammeren
4. Sander Borghoff
5. Ruben d’Arco – XRAY NT1
6. Maxim Claes – XRAY NT1

7. Ingeborg Gommers
8. Rik Meijeren
9. Daan Stuiver
10. Remy Möller

My appreciation and thanks to XRAY, RC Connect and Contact RC.

Picture by Ruben d’Arco.