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Belcar – Race Report – Round 1 Zolder

More than 20.000 spectators packed into Zolder under an almost summer sun in attendance for the Belgian First Race featuring BTCS, the first round of the Mediagroep Van Dyck Belcar.

The first half of this race, also the beginning of the GT3-era, was without doubt of a very high level, with four different makes within a handful of seconds. The Corvette with Longin, the Dodge Viper with Heyer Jr, the Porsche with Soulet and the Aston Martin with Marchal at the wheel provided exciting viewing up till the pit stop. The only one missing from the roll call was Mosler. In fact all Moslers disappeared far too early out of the race, and it appeared as though they could not bear the pleasant spring warmth.

At times it looked easy for pole man Bert Longin, but it wasn’t the case. First he saw his lead melt like snow under the sun with the appearance of the Safety Car – there was debris on the track– and then there was a quirky accelerator pedal and overheating brakes made it difficult for the driver from Leuven.

“The throttle cable was not returning progressively, which was definitely losing me a second per lap and on top of that it was anything but ideal for the gearbox”, Bert explained after finishing his stint.

But once again PK Carsport proved their reputation during the driver change over. The team won no less than 24 seconds ... standing still. The young champion Anthony Kumpen drove his Corvette Z06 N°1 to a perfect victory, with approximately a 25 second bonus on the young wolves in the GPR Porsche 997: Maxime Soulet and Guillaume Dumarey, who also both drove a magnificent race.

A small excursion into the sand trap cost the Canadian Mark J Thomas a podium place in his Dodge Viper of GS Motorsport, which he shared with Heyer Jr. In the end it was the other GPR Porsche with Duez-Maes who were narrowly third, after an impressive end rush from the man living in Ingelmunster.

Marc Duez: “We lost the race during the pit stop. The Porsche’s rear tyres were completely shot, amongst other things due to the heavy braking and we therefore had to change the rear (contrary to the other leaders). On top of that it was really so hot in the car that we made a hole in the car’s windscreen.”

The Prospeed Porsche of Loix-de Radiguès, who started from fourteenth place, clinched an excellent fifth place, ahead of the Aston Martin of Coekelbergs-Marchal and the Porsches of Haane-Stielstra, Penders-Lamot and Neyens-Couwberghs, brilliant winner in Division 2. In the Porsche 996 Supercup of NGT they completed the top 10.

In Division 3 the Thiers brothers took advantage, notwithstanding a drive-through after exceeding the reference time,of the retirement of the Porsche driven by Dierick-d’Ambrosio (drive shaft) and the Mosler-BMW of Kenis-De Keersmaecker (mechanical damage) to win Division 3.

Chad Racing had a difficult race and after a fine start of Nigel Greensall, the Porsche 997 dropped back into 17t overall.

This first meeting was a highly successful première for the season and provided a real sense of expectation ahead of Belcar’s 2007 overseas trip to Donington Park in three weeks time for the second race. The British GT and F3 are also on the programme there.

Final result:
1. Kumpen-Longin (Corvette Z06), 74 laps
2. Soulet-Dumarey (Porsche 997) at 25.216
3. Duez-Maes (Porsche 997) at 44.620
4. Thomas-Heyer Jr (Can-All/Dodge Viper) at 51.501
5. De Radiguès-Loix (Porsche 997) at 58.152
6. Coekelbergs-Marchal (Bel-P-B/Aston Martin DBR9S) at 1.03.581
7. Haane-Stielstra (Porsche 997) at 1.16.272
8. Penders-Lamot (Porsche 997) at 1 lap
9. Van Hover-Van Loo (Porsche 997)
10. Neyens-Couwberghs (Porsche 996 Supercup) (1st Div.2)
13. Thiers-Thiers (Porsche 997) at 2 laps (1st Div.3)