Race Report - 6 Hours of Suzuka 2020
- by Kristof Klinkers from SRF1
The first round of the #DISCA Wec European championship was held @ SRC Eindhoven in the Netherlands on the astonishing beautiful track of Suzuka. The drivers for SRF1 were Ward Somers, Sander Mertens and, newbie to digital racing, Kristof Klinkers. They were competing against 16 teams from the UK, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and two other Belgian teams, SRF2 and SVworkz.
After winning one of the two GT3 warmup races on Saturday, which we drove with a Sideways Vodaphone Lamborghini, we were secretly hoping on a podium finish on the main event on Sunday.
For the race on Sunday we had the opportunity to drive the wonderful #SVworkz 07 Oreca Mk1 in the Rebellion livery.
The first stressful moments occurred on Friday because our decals where in a train somewhere below the Channel. But after some last minute decaling of Steven Verelst and Sander Mertens we were able to present a beautiful car on the track.
The test sessions opened very well for us with a 11.5 fastest time. To be honest, the time driven was on an empty circuit with used tires. But never the less the pace was set for the qualifying session.
After the handout of tires and engine it then was time to qualify. It was very busy on the track because 16 teams were trying to set the fastest time. And immediately it was shown that the times could not get below the 12 seconds. Sander Mertens opened very well with a 12.06 but the rest of the pack were following on 12.09. With only 3 minutes to go Ward Somers had a final shot to do better than Sander. And so he did and with an amazing 11.9 the pole position was ours.
After the concours, won by two SVworkz cars. it was time for the race. We fitted new tires and Sander Mertens took the start.
Immediately the rhythm was sky high and the Porsche 919 of Road kings was really setting the pace with driver Kim Maslak. Followed by the Ford Gt of Monkeytown with Lennard Maan and the home drivers of S-Slot racing with Stefan Kievit.
Our car was not great on the new tires but after one hour of racing it was very close.
Monkey town was in the lead followed by the German team of Prospeed and we were at that moment 2 laps down on the leader but the car was improving and we were closing the gap.
Then Ward Somers took over and the car was, due to tire worn, back on his best behaviour and he managed to get a 6 laps advantage on the monkeytown Ford now driven by our race director Tamar Nelwan after 2 hours.
Kristof Klinkers took over and he also managed to stay in front but it wasn’t easy. SRF were given a stop and go penalty and had to come in the pits for 10 seconds. Then night fell on Suzuka and the gap between SRF1 and monkeytown was reduced to a 4 lap margin.
I (Kristof Klinkers) still don’t know what Ward Somers has being eating or drinking but when he took over he was flying through the night. With constant lap times of 12.1 and even some fastest times of 11.8, what a performance! He even managed to get a gap of 23 rounds on the 2nd place monkeytown.
Then Sander Mertens has to close the deal and take back the victory to Diepenbeek.
But our front spoiler was damaged and had to be replaced and we still had one tire change to go.
With 20 laps advantage Sander entered the pit and with 5 minutes to go in the race.
Monkeytown was closing fast with prospeed on 1 lap. But we managed to stay in front and win the 6H with a gap of 12 rounds on Monkeytown and 13 laps on Prospeed and SV Workz.
It was a wonderful weekend with one win in the GT3 and of course the 6 hours win.
For me it was the first time on a digital track but surely not the last time. There is still a lot to be improved on my driving but for the first time I did ok I think. I would like to thank SVWORKZ (Steven Verelst) for the opportunity to drive such a great build car. And of course my teammates Ward and Sander for having me as a 3rd driver.
See you soon DISCA !!!!