Marlboro Masters 1998:
The Auto Trader Dutch Touring Car Championship (2/2)
The Mitsubishi Carisma 1.8
GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection, so not a diesel engine as you might think) is new in the
championship this year. There a two factory entered cars for Allard Kalff and Sandra van
der Sloot. All Carismas are built in the former DAF car factory in Eindhoven, the
Netherlands, and the factory tries to improve the dull image of the cars by taking part in
races and rallyes.
The racing Carismas are lacking power and reliability and can't really threaten the BMW's and Renaults. Even the services of well-experienced driver Allard Kalff (a former European Opel Lotus champion who also drives GT races in England) doesn't give them an edge. Still, the cars are improved race by race and maybe we'll see them winning next year.
Here's Sandra van der Sloot
in her Carisma battling with Pieter van Soelen in a BMW 320i Coupé run by Braspenning
Racing. Sandra is the only female driver in the Dutch Touring Car Championship. She made
her name racing in several one-make cups, where she often outraced her male opponents.
This year however she's struggling.
This is close racing by
Marcel Alderden, overtaking one of the BMW's of the H&P Panorama team. Alderden drives
Donald Molenaar's last years car, also entered by Donald Molenaar.
A bit of bumper hugging by
privateers Roelof Lantinga (VW Golf 2.0 16v) and Jaap Kielman (Opel Astra GSi). Their cars
are evenly matched, but the Astra is more reliable. Therefore its higher placed in the
points standing and it won the battle with the the Golf in this race.
Here's Jaap's Astra again,
now in dispute over a piece of tarmac with Ron Braspenning (BMW 320i Coupé). Both cars
have 2-litre engines, but the one in the BMW has 6 cylinders where the Astra has 4.
Therefore the power output of the BMW is higher because it can withstand a higher engine
strain. But on the other hand the Astra is lighter and more nimble, so it could be in with
In this race Ron Braspenning and most other BMW's proved to be faster, probably because they're higher developed. Ron Braspenning is a well-known garage keeper in the Amsterdam area and runs his own racing team with no less than 5 BMW's entered in this race.
The race was nice to look at, but not that spectacular. Sandor van Es took the lead
very early in the race and kept it ever since. Standing next to the track watching, it was
interesting to notice the cars deteriorating during the race. The tire and engine wear is
worse than you might have expected, and underbraking and sliding cars were common at the
end of the race. This is probably an effect of the almost standard production car
engineering of the cars, which doesn't allow much parts to be up to racing demands. Breaks
and gearbox are the weak spots in these cars, and successful racing in this class is not
really about being the fastest driver. You can only be successful if you can get the
maximum speed from your car the longest time, and that takes more strategy and engineering
skills than driving skills.
Because of the low interest of Dutch car dealers in racing, this class is no match at all for the touring car championships in England, Germany and many other European countries. It needs desperately to have more different and competitive cars in it to get more general attention and survive. In the current state it's more clubracing than anything else.