First place on Snetterton in the Saker Challenge!

Posted on 29th of May 2011 by Vincent
Pole position and 3 victories for guestdriver Derwin Belt, Vincent ends as third.

The first international race for on the new circuit of Snetterton 200. Both the team of Bas Koeten with the cars #01 and #57 arrived at the circuit on Saturday. Derwin (driving the #01 car) and me arrived in the evening. Both cars were in perfect running order, with revised dampers and engine power.
After a good night of sleep, we were nearly to late for the briefing in the morning as we missed the highway exit to the circuit. After a bit of rushing though we were on time for the first practice of the day. Weather was good, not to warm and dry. I already drove on the circuit with a BMW M5 just the week before to get familiar with the track so I had the advantage of knowing where to go from the start. Still the track proved to be quite technical, which doesn’t show if you just look at the layout.
We had a 40 minute qualifing session which is quite long compared to the usual 20 minutes at DNRT races. Derwin took good use of the time to get even more familiar with the circuit, eventually setting a pole position time of 1:16.06 in one of his last laps, more than half a second faster than the #2 Rudolf Meijer/Herbert Boender! You can see his lap below:

I had some more problems though, as I had 2 flat tires. The gearbox also started to show some problems but still I ended up with a time of 1:18.89, not great but enough for a 5th place on the starting grid.
The grid for the first race was rather crowded, the cars were spaced about half a car"s length! So at the start there was quite some contact, as you can see on the onboard video here:

More problems though at the end of the huge bentley straight, with a big crash involving 3 cars and loads of fragments of body parts littered the circuit. This resulted in a safety car situation, as 1 of the cars had to be craned of the track. Derwin was still had the pole position while I was stil at 5th place. When the safety car entered the pit though I managed to overtake the car ahead on the straight already and was now heading for the number 3. Only two rounds later though I parked the car on the main straight due to a punctured tire. Sad ending for me but Derwin stormed on and took the first place!
For the second race I started at 6th place (I don"t know why as I clearly did not finish but I couldn"t complain ofcourse ), the start did not go that well and I lost some positions. I managed to come back to 6th place, but simply did not have the pace anymore to come any closer to the number 5 and 4 who were battling it out. Derwin was on a rampage though and overtook every car except the number 2 in the field! His last round was unbelievably fast, 1:15.9!
For the endurance race I started 4th on the grid now, again I had no clue how I ended there but no reason to complain right? For the second time that day I lost some positions in the first round. I"m simply to concerned to get another flat tire, as we start out with such low tire pressure. In a dozen rounds though I was back at 4th place. My pace was good, and I was gaining on the 3rd spot who had quite a lead on me. Sadly though I spinned at Brundle corner and lost 2 postions again. To make things worse: during the pitstop I was not in the pit for enough time so I had to come back a second time for a stop and go penalty. In the end I could not make up for the lost time and finished 6th again. Derwin was doing great yet again and finished 1st for the third time that day!
You can imangine how surprised I was to find that I ended up on the podium at third place... twice! The UK cars and the Dutch cars raced in their own leagues, so that ment that altough I was 6th overall, I ranked 3rd of all the Dutch drivers! A great day thus for and Bas Koeten Racing as we ended up on the podium 6 times, with Thom Franken being on the podium once as he was 3rd in the first race!