6th place at Oldenzaal, December 2016

Last weekend I started my preparation for the World Championship by competing in a race at Oldenzaal.
The track is famous in The Netherlands, and one of the eldest tracks here, but I’ve never been there.
It was a 2 hour endurance race and I competed with teammate Nanno van der Poel who has been my endurance team mate for many times in the last 16 years.
We both quit karting around 8 years ago, we gained weight, there’s not much power left in our arms, we’re missing the sharpness  of a driver that races many times a year, and there’s no track knowledge.
So no idea how we would do, but we went there with no expectations other that we definately would not except a terrible result.
Practise session started on a half wet track, which I like a lot.
I ended up on 8th place, out of 18 drivers. Not bad!
We competed against professionals with coaches on the side who were in constant radio contact.
The 2nd part of the practise session was on an almost dry track, Nanno too over the wheel.
He started competitive on 4th place at the ranking for about 10 minutes, ending at 7th place.
He was fast, so we decided that he would qualify us and he ended up on 8th place on the grid.
We looked at each other, satisfied, because we still had chances to compete in the front of the field.
Our first thoughts: We are still fast enough, but our bodies already started hurting enormously.
Nanno qualified, I started the race, which was quite a while ago in karts, I couldn’t even remember the feeling!
My start was good, I overtook 2 drivers and drove at a steady 6th place.
Few laps later i managed to take 5th place, but later on I got kicked of the track by a frustrated driver that I lapped, he received a stop & go penalty.
Unfortunately I was back in 8th place.
Later in the race I managed to get back to 7th place. In the last 30 minutes Nanno took over 6th place, and that was our position at the finish.
Quite a good start for the two ‘grandpas’ competing against drivers that could be our son.
The karts we competed in are the same as the ones that I will drive at the World Championships; a Dino chassis with Subaru engine, so I already gained some experience with those karts.
Conclusion: I have to compete in more kart races to become a top 3 driver again, my arm- and shoulder strength is terrible and I have to loose some kilos.
Positive: 7 months to go and at least 4 races (Dutch-, Belgium- and European championships) and enough time to get in shape!