My location: United States
Mar 30, 2010

1st Dutch National Apeldoorn

After a long cold winter stop, last weekend was the1st Dutch national at the beautiful venue of Apeldoorn were this years 1/8 IC GP is held. Weather forecasts were not all too good but on Saturday we had an almost dry day and I had a chance to do a lot of testing with the “newly-build-but-shaken-down” 966 with R&B power. With temperatures between 10 – 16 degrees the track grip was variable during the day.

I tested the WOS uprights and on the somewhat slippy track this worked better than the original ones. After changing some springs and down stop settings I could do constant lap times. The R&B “power plant” that I’m using starting this year was doing it work really well! After changing some manifold and exhausts combinations I could do 5 minutes with no problem and the power was definitely there! As a matter of fact it was a long time ago that I’ve felt this kind of power with this fuel consumption. Usually it is power or fuel consumption. Never knew that I could have both with no effort of tuning at all!

On Sunday morning the track was wet during some nightly rainfall. First round was on a damp track so everybody was using aqua or intermediate tires. The second round of qualification was on a dry track except for one turn in front of the driver’s rostrum which caused that laptimes were 1 – 3 tenth slower than usual. In the third round track was completely dry so almost everybody set their time in this round. I was able to do 29 laps in 7 minutes together with Rick Vrielijnck, Robin d’Hondt and Serpent Team mate Ilia van Gastel. Ilia set an amazing pole position with 6 seconds ahead of Rick V. Because I had some issues with overtaking slower drivers I was in 3rd place 0,65 sec behind Rick with Robin rounding up the top 4.

After Qualifying:
Pos Name Laps Total time Diff Best time In lap Best speed
1 Ilia van Gastel 29 7:03.787 14.195 0 64.400
2 Rick Vrielijnck 29 7:09.869 6.082 14.272 0 64.000
3 John Ermen 29 7:10.519 6.732 14.393 0 63.500
4 Robin D´Hondt 29 7:11.680 7.893 14.325 0 63.800
5 Gunther van Steay 28 7:06.172 1 Lap 14.432 0 63.300
6 Steven Cuypers 28 7:11.368 5.196 14.679 0 62.200
7 Arie Manten 28 7:12.658 6.486 14.670 0 62.300
8 Stefan Koenders 28 7:14.563 8.391 14.604 0 62.600
9 Joey Sorber 27 7:00.264 2 Laps 14.740 0 62.000
10 Rik Veenma 27 7:01.006 0.742 14.795 0 61.800

After the lunch break the weather forecast finally came trough, bad for us though, because it began to rain really hard for about 10 – 15 minutes. As result all semi-finals and main NOMAC final were on a wet track. At the start of the NK final the track was drying up really hard but was not completely dry. So again I had to use intermediate tires. The tires I used in the morning were completely worn out because of the dry track and the rough asphalt surface. So I had to use the only intermediate tires I had left. Because the tires were not the right ones I lost a lot of time – actually laps – in the first 10 minutes of the race. So when the track was dry enough to change to normal tires I did this right away. I managed to close the 10 lap gap to 5 laps but it was never enough to gain a podium finish.

Unfortunate of the wet start of the final because the speed, grip and lap times were definitely there to have a podium finish.

Final Results:
Pos Name Laps Total time Diff Best time In lap Best speed
1 Robin D´Hondt 109 30:06.239 7:11.680 29 -
2 Rick Vrielijnck 108 30:11.032 7:09.869 29 -
3 Steven Cuypers 106 30:05.877 7:11.368 28 -
4 Ilia van Gastel 106 30:06.884 7:03.787 29 -
5 Marcel Schouten 105 30:08.481 7:04.541 27 -
6 John Ermen 104 30:11.177 7:10.519 29 -
7 Arie Manten 101 30:01.299 7:12.658 28 -
8 Joey Sorber 88 29:43.059 7:00.264 27 -
9 Hans Dokman 60 23:43.580 7:03.751 25 -
10 Roelof Tooms 12 4:34.772 7:12.488 26 -

Next National will be on my very fast home track in Rupchen. Let’s hope for better weather than the results will follow automatically!

Thanks to my sponsors for there faith and support, Serpent Motorsport, R&B Products and Tornado Fuel and thanks to my dad and Jonathan for the pitwork!

John Ermen