Robin D’Hondt reports on his first Belgian National encounter

Over the weekend SDD driver Robin D’Hondt got the defence of his 1:8 National title underway at the opening round of the 2008 Belgian Nationals and the young ace couldn’t have made a better start to his campaign. Robin sent us the follow report from the Houthalen race –

The first round of the Belgian Championship was held at the rather small and very technical track of Houthalen (Limburg). The weather forecast was not as a normal racer would want it to be,
lots of rain on Sunday they said so I prepared some rain tires for this weekend and a second radio plate also for the rain.

On Saturday morning I was the first man on the track, trying to get my car between the bars as fast and as smooth as possible. The first laps were good but not fast enough, the back of the car was a bit loose and in some corners I wanted some more steering. The first thing I changed were the springs. I went from purple to blue in the front and from pink to red in the rear of the car because the car felt to drifty, not much grip all around the car.

The change of springs improved the car a lot, but still I had more things to change. I was running with downstop in the back at 8 and I thought because of the fast reactions that the car would probably be better at 10. And indeed it was much better. After this I changed to 11 downstop in the back and 2 in the front – PERFECT!

With this setup my laptime was 14.10 (which is fast at this track) and after disabling the front anti-rollbar my fastest laptime went to 14.043.

I have never driven without front stabi and I must say the effect was surprisingly good. A lot of more steering and the back of the car was more stable.

So at the end of testing the car was perfect and I started cleaning and preparing my car for the next day.

Sunday morning I woke up in my tent and I could hear rain. Sounds like the weather forecast was right!!

The first qualify I ran with MS aqua rain tires and these were the best at this track I think … but one problem, I only have one set of these. So I only ran one qualify to spare my rain tires for the final.

I was fastest in the first qualify with Gunther Van Staey in second.

So second and third qualify I choose not to race to safe the tires, Gunther did race the second qualify, and the track was faster but still wet, so I lost my pole position but Gunther lost he’s only set of good rain tires.

Starting from second on the grid I managed to take the lead after a few laps passing Gunther and staying there till the end of the race.

There isn’t much to say about the final, only that I did a tire stop because of the huge tire wear – 10 mm in 10 minutes.

Belgian National Championships
Round 1, Houthalen

1. D’Hondt Robin (Serpent 960’08) – 118 laps in 30:14.789
2. Van Staey Gunther (Kyosho) – 114 laps in 30:01.040
3. Bourgeois Michel (Mugen) – 109 laps in 30:07.457

The car went really fine in the final, the new car has improved a lot (I was driving OS2) and every change I made with setup I could feel immediately.

The new fuel of merlin has also improved a lot, more power and less fuel consumption! And since I drive merlin fuel now the engine looks so clean on the inside.

Thanks to my sponsors Serpent Motorsport, ATS Tires, Mega Engines, Merlin Fuel, Ghiant RC Car Colours for their trust in me and support.

And special thanks to my two mecanics, my dad and Lode, for the fast refuelling and tire stops!

Keep the Revs up

Robin D’Hondt

Source : Serpent

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