My location: United States
Jul 8, 2008

On the weekend of 28/29 June the Luxembourg National Championship was held in, where else, Luxembourg. Because the registration was open to other countries and the competition level was very high with drivers like Bertin, Cuypers and van Gastel entered I decided to compete myself.

On Saturday we had some free practice with a very tight schedule, because there were about 70 competitors. There was also a 1:10 scale electric Belgium Championship and other classes present like 1:5 scale. In the morning it was open practice but in the afternoon it was controlled practice sessions of 10 minutes due to the number of drivers and classes present. After running in an engine I concentrated on the car. I used the very hard Grey springs and 45W oil with 3 holes in the front and Red springs with 45W and 3 holes in the rear. This worked really well in combination with the Zytek body on the new car, and very cool, chicane which they changed last year. After testing some tires and small setup changes the car was really good to handle. The laptimes on Saturday were consistant 16.8 - 16.9 so it was promising for the next day\'s racing.

On Sunday qualification started and I was able to take the 2nd fastest time behind my Serpent team mate Steven Cuypers who had 18 laps in 5:04. I was not able to improve in the heats on my 18 laps in 5:08. Twice I drove 5:08 and once did a 5:09 so the Engine/Car/Body combination proved to be very very consistant! Ilia van Gastel and Daniel van der Drift rounded off the top 4.

[b]Qualification (Top 4)[/b]

1. Cuypers Steven (BE) - 18 laps in 05:04.484
2. Ermen John (NL) - 18 laps in 05:08.384
3. Van Gastel Ilia (BE) - 18 laps in 05:12.106
4. Van der drift Daniel (NL) - 18 laps in 05:13.118

After two Semi Finals and 10 minutes free practice for the Top 4 qualifiers the final started late in the eveing at about 18:30! At the start I had some trouble finding my way around the track and made a small mistake after 8 laps which caused me to fall back behind Ilia in 3rd place. Before the 5 minute marker Ilia had some problems and had to retire. After the first fuel stop I was getting back on track and was closing the gap to Steven which was almost one lap. After 15 minutes of racing I was about 3 metres behind Steven when he made a mistake at the end of the fast sweeper. I overtook him while he was stranded in the grass waiting for a marshall. After that I extended my lead. After 27 minutes also Steven had to quit because of a mechanical failure which caused me to have a 2 lap lead over former World & European Champion Adrien Bertin. The only thing I had to do was bring it home! And I did. After 30 minutes I finished with a 2 lap lead over Adrien and 3rd placed Patrick Bertrallo from Luxembourg was a further 2 laps behind.

[b]Final Result[/b]

1. Ermen John - 103 laps in 30:03.019
2. Bertin Adrien - 101 laps in 30:09.918
3. Beltrallo Patrick - 99 laps in 30:00.888
4. Van Staey Gunther - 99 laps in 30:13.523
5. Mathieu Arnaud - 98 laps in 30:05.632
6. Cuypers Steven - 90 laps in 26:20.421
7. Hereijgers Miquel - 90 laps in 27:48.702
8. Cima Philippe - 90 laps in 30:22.045
9. Van der drift Daniel - 18 laps in 05:16.799
10.Van Gastel Ilia - 17 laps in 04:47.243

The Serpent 960 \'08 in combination with the Novarossi engine and the Zytek body proved to be very consistant at the Luxembourg track. It was a nice race and definitely a nice result! It was my birthday on the 29th June but it was not a gift. I really had to work for it.

Finally I would like to thank my sponsors Serpent Motorsport, Novarossi Engines and Tornado Fuel. Also special thanks to Jonathan and Peter who helped me during the final.

With best regards,

John Ermen