Scuderia Leone
Scuderia Leone 1-2 finish at Bathurst thriller
March 05 2018

The NK GT3 championship hosted by SimRace Vereniging Nederland in association with Knac Nationale Autosport Federatie (KNAF) got underway last week at the circuit of Bathurst. And as Bathurst always does, it was a pure spectacle as 35 cars set off for the 70 minute season opener!

The SRVN NK GT3 championship counts six rounds with 20 minute qualifying sessions and 70 minute races. The championship takes us to Estoril, Spa-Francorchamps, Silverstone, Bahrain and Sebring. But first it was time for the first round at the Mount Panorama Circuit, better known as Bathurst.

Five Scuderia Leone drivers entered the qualifying session. With over 70 entries but only 35 spots in the first server the qualifying session was used to select those 35. In traditional Scuderia Leone colors it were Arjan Veltens and Ruben Correa Alves taking the best spots for the team. Arjan Veltens qualified in 5th with Ruben Correa Alves taking 2nd on the grid behind rival Kevin van Dooren, who took pole position in his Avid Chronic Racing Bentley Continental GT. The three drivers in Ivory colors all qualified in the top 35 as well. Denny Mateman qualified in 13th, Kevin Heijnen qualified in 17th and Jeffrey Koopman in 33rd.

As mentioned before, it was a pure spectacle, not after a few laps, or a few corners, but right from the start. On the first row it was rival Kevin van Dooren with pole position but it was Scuderia Leone driver Ruben Correa Alves who had the better launch off the line. They got to turn 1 side by side and it was a drag race towards turn 2 side by side as well. Ruben, on the inside, knew that the only thing he could do was keep his line on the inside and benefit from the shorter line. But before they could steer into the corner it was Kevin van Dooren who touched a little bit of grass in the braking zone, spinning into the wall in spectacular fashion!

It was Mark de Vries, who started from third on the gird, taking over second after the incident. Mark couldn't enjoy that for long however as he had some issues of his own a few corners later when his network failed to stay stable. Roy de Muinck then took over second position in pursuit of our Ruben. A little bit further back it was Arjan Veltens who had less breathing room as he was in battle pretty much the entire opening phase of the race. Kevin Heijnen had a good start as he climbed three spots from 17th to 14th, but unfortunately engine troubles meant an early exit for the #72 Mercedes. Denny Mateman and Jeffrey Koopman sustained some damage during the opening phase of the race as well. Jeffrey Koopman was able to continue, but it was game over for Denny Mateman, who could not avoid a crashed car in front of him.

Back to the front of the field. Ruben Correa Alves was able to control the gap. Slowly Roy the Muinck, driving a Radical GT3, dropped some pace while Ruben continued a steady pace, increasing the gap to 5 seconds. Arjan Veltens meanwhile had a battle with Jeroen Huisers and then another battle with Cliff van de Vin, also driving a Mercedes. Some paint was traded, but Arjan managed to take 3rd before the pitstops. Ruben and Arjan pitted in p1 and p3 but came out the pit in p1 and p2. It was Roy de Muinck who swapped tires during his stop, adding an extra 25 seconds to his stop. Both Ruben and Arjan came in for fuel only, doing the entire race on the same set of mediums.

Jeffrey Koopman had a good race as he climbed up from p33 to p21! He lost a lot of time as he had to repair the damage he got in the opening phase of the race so it could have been more, but a steady race after his stop saw him get some good points. At the front of the field it were Ruben Correa Alves taking the win with Arjan Veltens taking second place, a one-two finish!

You can take a look at the Dutch broadcast below for some of the action. The championship will take us to Estoril next as we go to round 2 of the NK GT3 championship on March 11th!