John Ermen Wins 4th Dutch National with BLITZ Race Bodyshell
In the weekend of 7th and 8th of July the 4th Dutch national was held at the small and very technical track in Gouda were the asphalt was recently renewed. The weather for the whole weekend was absolutely fantastic 25 – 27 degrees with no clouds in the sky whatsoever.
On Friday we went to the track to do some practice. It was a bit slippery because of the new asphalt and because there was not made allot use of the tack yet. We used the same setup as on the Hamm track the week before and the car went pretty good from the start. Because in Dutch Championship additives is allowed we made some minor adjustments to the setup. Mainly we made the car stiffer in the front and the rear to let the tires do all the work. We were pretty happy with the performance of the car and we head back home at the end of the day with a good feeling for the weekend.
On Saturday the grip was allot higher than the day before also because there were more cars driving on the track. We tried some stiffer springs in front and in rear which made the car ultra-stable on the smooth and technical track. The R&B power plant was also doing very great, the combination with the 2092 pipe and Tornado Fuel was working great whole weekend. At around 1 o’clock we were showing race pace already and we decided to check the car and prepare for the race on Sunday. After the end of the day we did a “shake down” and went home for a good night’s rest.
Sunday race day. The track in the first round of qualifications was a bit slippery but really fast. I was able to set the pace with a 22 laps in 5 minutes and 12 seconds.
In the 2nd round of qualification the temperature gave the track a bit more bite and the car felt really good. Half way the qualification I needed to retire because of a broken 1st gear.
3rd and last round was up, we decided to make some adjustments to the car which made the car really fast but hard to drive. I was able to set a new lap record of 13.592 but in the 10th lap I just clipped the curb after the chicane at the end of the straight and my car went off. Rick was also very consistent with 21 laps in 5:00.148 in the 1st round and 21 laps in the 3rd round in 5:00.147 which was good for 2nd place. Steven and Robin were topping the sheets on spot 3 and
Top 10 after 3 runs:
No  Name Nat Laps Time  Car/Engine
1  John Ermen NL 22 5:12.381  Xray RX8 / R&B CXr
2  Rick Vrielijnck NL 21 5:00.147  Xray RX8 / Picco
3  Steven Cuypers BE 21 5:01.195  Mugen / Picco
4  Robin D'hondt BE 21 5:06.240  Motonica / Picco
5  Gunther van Staey BE 21 5:14.087  Serpent / Xceed
6  Arie Manten NL 20 5:05.119  Xray RX8 / Picco
7  Michiel Renting NL 20 5:07.065  Sheperd / OS
8  Frank Baggen NL 20 5:08.316  Serpent / Reds
9  John Lenaers BE 20 5:10.585  Mugen / R&B Cxr
10  Daan Haling BE 20 5:12.646  Motonica / OS
In the semifinal I left from pole and led the race until halfway. Just after a fuel stop I had a flame out and my glow plug was broken. Probably this happened in the pits during refueling when the engine temperature raised due to lack of cooling from driving. The marshal brought the car back to the pits and I’ve lost about 4 laps while my pit crew was replacing the glow plug. Back on the track I was almost on last spot and needed to catch up some serious time in about the remaining 7 minutes of the race. I was able to unlap myself about 2 laps and finished on 3rd spot in the semi to guarantee myself a 6th spot in the main final.
At the start of the final I was 6th on the grid but was able to take off fast enough to gain 3 places just before the 1st corner. In 3rd spot right after Robin and Rick we could made a small gap between us and the rest of the pack. Just before the 1st fuel stop I took a chance to overtake Robin in the small chicanes. The gap between Rick and me was getting smaller and smaller and just before the 2nd fuel stop I was able to make a pass on Rick before the pit lane. Just before half way I was able to extend my lead to 1 lap. Because of use of the additive and the track temperature the tire wear was high enough to make a tire change. This way we could also take advantage of the additive on the tires 2 times in 1 final. After the tire change Rick ran into some problems and needed to retire with radio problems. Steven had then taken over 2nd spot of Robin the manifold of Robins engine came off and needed to be fitted back on which cost him precious time. Steven ran into some problems later in the finale sending his car into the grass a couple of times which gave the position back to Robin at the end of the final. At the time I crossed the finish line I had a royal lead of 10 laps in front of Robin.
After 30 minutes of racing:
No  Driver Laps Time Best Lap Avg. Car/Engine
1  John Ermen 124 30:15.307 13.742 14.639  Xray RX8 / R&B CXr
2  Robin D'hondt 114 30:11.143 13.960 15.887  Motonica / Picco
3  Steven Cuypers 112 29:53.994 14.122 16.017  Mugen / Picco
4  John Lenaers 111 30:14.436 14.759 16.346  Mugen / R&B Cxr
5  Martin Zevenhoven 108 30:05.880 14.689 16.721  Serpent / Xceed
6  Arie Manten 105 30:01.077 14.750 17.153  Xray RX8 / Picco
7  Niels Reijnders 100 30:04.706 15.405 18.047  Mugen / Novarossi
8  Michiel Renting 96 30:14.780 14.534 18.903  Sheperd / OS
9  Rick Vrielijnck 72 18:23.087 13.944 15.320  Xray RX8 / Picco
10  Danny Leewis 52 14:09.922 14.674 16.344  Serpent / Xceed
A new lap record, pole position and 1st after a 30 minute race with a 10 lap lead, you could say it was a successful weekend, a very successful one if I admit honestly!
Thanks to all my sponsors for their support: Team Xray, R&B Products, Team Titan, Blitz, Tornado Fuel, RC Car Color and Matrix tires. And thanks to my dad and Imail for the fast refueling and tire change!