Netherlands 1/8 NK 2 at Ruchphen

auto-Ilja-NK-21-600x564The second round for 1/8 Onroad Netherlands Nats, was held last weekend at Ruchpen track.

A really interesting and exciting race were Ilia Van Gsatel made his first race as Merlin Team Driver.

Robin D’Hondt has written this text for us:

«Hey Everybody,

The second round of the Netherlands championship was held at the fast track of Rucphen. Weather forecast looked good, we only had a bit of rain on Friday night, which made training on Saturday morning impossible, but for the rest of the weekend the dark clouds would stay away from the track.

On Saturday afternoon I came on track and the setup felt pretty nice to begin with. I didn’t changed anything at first because I wanted more grip to come, so in the late afternoon I only started changing some small things like down stops, front springs and rear arm positions.

The later it got, the faster everyone went and soon we were with 5-6 people driving lap times in or close to 13.0 (track record 12.8 I was told).

On Sunday morning the first qualify came, and checking the lap times of the lower heats I saw that the track was faster than the day before. The car felt like a train on rails and the engine was a rocket. Like I said the track record is 12.8 and in this qualify I drove a 12.858, sadly however none could tell me the last 2 digits of the current track record.

First qualy:

1                             Robin D’Hondt  32L         7:05.942

2                             John Ermen       32L         7:06.343

3                             Ilia van Gastel   32L         7:08.277

4                             Rick Vrielijnck    32L         7:12.476

The second qualify both Ilia and me had a 7:04, Rick made his time better by 2 seconds and John hit problems. Results after 2 qualify’s:

1                             Ilia van Gastel   32           7:04.098

2                             Robin D’Hondt  32           7:04.615

3                             John Ermen       32           7:06.343

4                             Rick Vrielijnck    32           7:10.601

In the third and last qualify I was able to better my time by 0,3 seconds which was still 0,3 seconds to slow to have TQ in the final. So results after the 3th qualify and hereby the 4 direct qualified:

1                             Ilia van Gastel   32           7:04.098

2                             Robin D’Hondt  32           7:04.334

3                             John Ermen       32           7:06.343

4                             Rick Vrielijnck    32           7:10.055

The final was completed by 3 persons from each half final. Which where: Gunther van Staey, Michiel Renting, Peter Ceyssens, Jordy Blok, Stefan Koenders, Tim Bosmann.

In the start of the final I could jump to first place as Ilia had a rough start. But soon he joined me just behind my rear tires and away we went from the pack for never to be seen again. In the first half of the race we were changing places a lot… sometimes we even past each other 2 or 3 times in 1 lap! I think we both could feel the eyes of the spectators, sometimes I even heard the people around the track yelling when it got really close.

And the fighting continued till Ilia made his tire stop first, 4 minutes later it was my turn to change tires but at least I had 4 minutes to get heart rate down again.

Tires on and out the pits I went, next to an orange car (Ilia off course) we went side by side onto the straight, but I wasn’t counting on having so less steering with the big cold tires so Ilia could take first position and could slowly pull away from me as I was getting used to the fresh tires.

I was about 10 meter behind and as hard as I was trying to close the gap I wasn’t getting closer.

The second from last pit stop Ilia had to make a Stop and Go for refueling over the line, so he thought it was over and out … until after the last pitstop I suddenly heard “Car 2 stop and go bad refueling”.

That’s me…  fast into the pits, stop => GO, I could come on track in front of Ilia with a small gap between us, Ilia was pushing hard to get it close and he got it close. We finished over the line 0,3 seconds apart.

Final Result:

1                             Robin D’Hondt  132         30:09.386 – Motonica – Gimar – Merlin Fuel

2                             Ilia van Gastel   132         30:09.713 – Serpent – Orion – Merlin Fuel

3                             Rick Vrielijnck    130         30:13.054

4                             Gunther van Staey         129         30:04.446

5                             John Ermen       128         30:06.127

6                             Peter Ceyssens                126         30:05.162

7                             Stefan Koenders             125         30:10.306

8                             Tim Bosmann    120         30:08.299

9                             Michiel Renting                87           21:56.008

10                           Jordy Blok                          DNS


I would like to thank my sponsors: Motonica, JP GIMAR, Merlin fuel, Sanwa Airtronics,

LRP electronics, Ghiant RC car Colours, Team C and Hobby Pro

And special thanks to my mechanics My Dad Rony D’hondt and Lody Haling for giving me the bit more advantage in the fast fuel stops and tire change.

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