Considering that both drivers of the Phoenix Audi, Jean-François Hemroulle and Tim Verbergt have been classed as “Gold”, they automatically inherited an extra 50 kilos of ballast. Now I’m not familiar with this “Gold” definition but I guess they are “better” than the others? If anyone out there knows, please drop a comment.
The Belgian Race Kick Off was the season’s opener for the Belgian GT Championship Mediagroep Van Dyck and for pole holder Jeffrey Van Hooydonk the season couldn’t have started off in a worse way. Our former F3000-driver, due to a problem in the right hand front wheel hub, was unable to exit the pit box in time, resulting in the KRK Dodge finally taking to the track a few laps down. The other KRK Viper appeared to be going well, but a ten seconds stop & go put an end to any ambitions they might have held. The reason for this penalty was a late tyre change on the starting grid.
Notwithstanding the damp track all teams opted for slicks, apart from the Ford GT of Duncan Huisman. The Dutchman shot off like a bullet at the start, but early on in the race had to call in to swap his rainwear for slicks.
Up front Fred Bouvy (Ferrari) was unable to hold off Vosse (Aston Martin), but shortly after the Verviers based driver went off and Renard and Vosse saw their podium place disappear. Bouvy and Coens did far better and promptly won the first race of the Belgian GT Mediagroep Van Dyck; a first ever victory for Delahaye Racing by Francorchamps Motors in the Belgian GT.
Behind the Italian prancing horse Verbist at the wheel of the First Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S brilliantly battled his way through to finally finish second, giving him and Bert Longin their first podium.
The biggest surprise came from the West Flanders based brothers Hans and Frank Thiers in their Ferrari 430. They finally finished in an excellent third spot. Behind them Renard and Vosse still managed to grab fourth place, with the Lamborghini Gallardo of Dany De Laet and Arjan Van Der Zwaan fifth and the season’s favourites Hemroulle and Verbergt in their Phoenix Audi clinching sixth. The Finnish pair Vanhanen-Nurminen, winners in Division 3, crossed the line in ninth place and Menno Kuus, with his Match Racing Ginetta took the GT4 laurels.
The second race of the Belgian GT in this Belgian Race Kick Off weekend started in dry conditions, and pole holder Koen Wauters as also François Verbist shot off like a couple of arrows. Damien Coens in the Ferrari made a mistake in the first left resulting in the car falling back behind the pack.
The Dodge and the Porsche quickly built up a gap with the rest of the pack, however a stop & go of ten seconds as the result of some late work carried out on the starting grid brought Verbist in. Later in the race his team-mate Bert Longin experienced a second stop & go, and no way could they achieve anything better than an eighth place.
Koen Wauters drove a perfect first stint prior to handing over the lead to Jeff Van Hooydonk. Behind him an excellent battle ensued between the Phoenix Audi, the Kuismanen Ford GT and the remarkably strong up-coming Delahaye Ferrari. Bouvy drove an exceptionally tight race finally finishing third, enough to take the lead in the championship. He did however need to let the Ford GT of Duncan Huisman come on through and two laps from the finish the Dutchman also got the better of Jeffrey Hooydonk, the latter once again just missing out on clinching his first victory. As such the spoils went to Pertti Kuismanen and Duncan Huisman.
In fourth place we find the Phoenix Audi, ahead of the second KRK Dodge Viper of Kris Wauters and Raf Vanthoor, the JD by KS Lamborghini driven by De Laet and Van Der Zwaan, the Thiers brothers in their Ferrari and the unfortunate Porsche of Verbist and Longin. And last but not least a supreme Menno Kuus once again came out on top in GT4.
The next meeting is in a fortnight’s time, on 9th and 10th May, during the 1000 Km of Spa, for the second round of the Belgian GT Championship.
Result Race 1
- 1. #3 Delahaye Racing – Ferrari F430 GT3 – 37 laps
2. #50 First Motorsport – Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S +23 seconds
3. #2 Scuderia Monza – Ferrari F430 GT3 +24 seconds
4. #72 Barwell Motorsport – Aston Martin DBR9 +53 seconds
5. #10 JD Competition by KS – Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 +67 seconds
6. #9 Phoenix Belgian Audi Club – Audi R8 GT3 LMS +67 seconds
7. #8 KRK Racing – Dodge Viper Competition Coupé +1 lap
8. #12 Kuismanen Competition – Ford GT +1 lap
9. #250 Westend Racing – Porsche 997 GT3 + 1 lap (winner D3)
10. #5 JD Competition by KS – Lamborghini Gallardo +1 lap
11. #114 Match Racing – Ginetta GT4 +3 laps (winner D2)
Result Race 2
- 1. #12 Kuismanen Competition – Ford GT – 37 laps
2. #4 KRK Racing – Dodge Viper Competition Coupé +2 seconds
3. #3 Delahaye Racing – Ferrari F430 GT3 +3 seconds
4. #9 Phoenix Belgian Audi Club – Audi R8 GT3 LMS +15 seconds
5. #8 KRK Racing – Dodge Viper Competition Coupé +73 seconds
6. #10 JD Competition by KS – Lamborghini Gallardo +78 seconds
7. #2 Scuderia Monza – Ferrari F430 GT3 +82 seconds
8. #50 First Motorsport – Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S +91 seconds
9. #250 Westend Racing – Porsche 997 GT3 + 96 seconds (winner D3)
10. #114 Match Racing – Ginetta GT4 +3 laps (winner D2)
Intermediate rankings Belgian GT Championship
- 1. Bouvy – Coens (Delahaye Ferrari 430) 16 points
2. Kuismanen – D. Huisman (Kuismanen Ford GT) 11 points
3. Longin – Verbist (First Porsche 911) 9 points
4. Koen Wauters – Jeff Van Hooydonk (KRK Viper) 8 points
Thiers – Thiers (Scuderia Monza Ferrari 430) 8 points
Hemroulle – Verbergt (Phoenix Audi R8 GT3) 8 points