My location: United States
Apr 6, 2009

On the weekend of 5th of April the first Dutch National was up as one of the first nationals this year. My race season has already started for me at the EFRA GP in France 2 weeks ago where I presented that the 966 / Novarossi Flash / Tornado / ATS combination were competitive enough on European level of racing. With a 3rd qualification on the GP right after Pietsch and Cristiani I felt confident for the final. Due to interference problems half way this final, I had to retire the race while being in a strong 2nd position.

Because of my performance during the first GP I was confident for the first national. And it was also on my home track so it was a win-win situation. On Saturday we tested the setup I used last year on the “good old 960\'08” and after some minor changes the car was very constant and fast. The things that were changed in comparison to last year were that I changed the weight of the car and that I removed both side plates. The weight of the car was changed because I didn’t use the monoblock weight in the middle but the optional brass battery holder, which placed the weight of the car even lower. I also tried 33 shore ATS tires which were very consistent and there for I used this during the qualifying.

On Sunday the weather was a bit warmer than on Saturday so the grip of the track was a lot better. For the first qualifier the track was going to be on his best. Because of the rising temperatures this was the time to make the fastest qualifier. Because fuel consumption on this track is always a hot-topic to make 5 minutes and therefore you have only 2 options: Refuel or adjust your driving to make 5 minutes. I chose the 2nd option. Which made me a bit slower in lap times but I could make 5 minutes which resulted In a Pole Position and a new track record! 23 laps in 5:05.59!!! The previous record was also on my name and was from 2007 with 23 laps in 5:07.82. Because the track was slower in Q2 and Q3 I tested some minor setup and engine changes.

After 3 rounds of qualifying:
1 John Ermen 966/NR 23 05:05.599
2 Rick Vrielijnck 23 05:06.146
3 Jordy Blok 966/Mega 23 05:09.455
4 Ilia van Gastel 23 05:10.809
5 Rik Veenma 23 05:11.212
6 Maurice van den IJsel 23 05:22.174
7 Daniel van der Drift 22 05:00.634
8 Arie Manten 22 05:01.220
9 Danny Leewis 966/NR 22 05:01.611
10 Joey Sorber 22 05:01.775

At the start everyone had a clean one and I was leading the pack. In the first 5 minutes I could create a gap between me and Rick. Just before refueling my engine was running a little rich so the pit guys leaned it up just a little during my first pit stop. Because of this I lost my build-up lead and Rick was now chasing me, but again my engine was running a bit rich so again it has to be tuned during the pit stop. So I lost the first place and was now chasing Rick. Now it was all or nothing so I changed the pit strategy to refuel 30 secs earlier so I could really give it all. I managed to close the gap from ½ lap to about 1 second. Just before my next fuel stop I ran out of fuel and the glow plug went in the engine which resulted me to retire the race.

Results of the final:
1 Rick Vrielijnck 131 30:06.611
2 Rik Veenma 129 30:04.454
3 Jordy Blok 966/Mega 129 30:06.141
4 Ilia van Gastel 129 30:07.430
5 Miquel Hereijgers 966/Mega 126 30:02.867
6 Marcel Schouten 125 30:00.994
7 Arie Manten 123 30:15.335
8 Peter Ceyssens 114 28:52.134
9 John Ermen 966/NR 69 15:46.127
10 Danny Leewis 966/NR 69 16:08.242

The speed of my 966 was great in the GP and the National so we are definitely there so let see what we can do in the next races. The next one is the GP in Heemstede. Let’s hope that the bad luck will disappear for ever!

I would like to thank my sponsors Serpent, Novarossi, ATS and Tornado and of course my pit man Jonathan Dupont for helping me out this weekend!

C-U Next time,
John Ermen

Jordy Blok had a good race-weekend with 966/MegaZX combo.

Practise on saturday was fine on the fast Rucpen Track.

Q1 on the sunday was not very good though, both track and car felt so different, but in Q2 I could do 23 on 5.09 and that was good enough for 3rd spot and direct to the final, YES !

The final started ok, just lost one place to van Gastel, but could claim it back later in the race. A few times in 2nd spot due to my Mega ZX used less fuel and a different pit-stop strategy, but in the end as tyres were smaller and it was hard to push harder I settled for a nice podium finish in 3rd.

Thanks to Serpent/Mega/Xceed and my dad for mechanic.

Next race is the Dutch GP 1/8 and then off to Italy for the B-Euro.

Jordy Blok.