Two cars in the Simrace Vereniging Nederland GT championship, and not one Corvette or Porsche. Dennis Douna and Robin Verdegaal opt for Aston Martin in the SimRace Vereniging Nederland GT championship. Getting to grips with the new machine, the SFH duo started the season with finishing positions around the top five. A couple of races into the season Dennis Douna took the first few podium finishes. But then conflicting schedules lead to a couple of forfeits, and several unfortunate incidents in the last races meant that SFH failed to make an impression in the final season standings.
Simracing For Holland will be back for next season, because the GT format gives a welcome change from the busy endurance calendar. Marcel Offermans will make sure there will be at least one SFH Corvette on the track. Here is a short recap of the 2015 season races.
10-09-2015 Sebring International Raceway, Sebring
24-09-2015 Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot
08-10-2015 Atlanta Motorsports Park, Dawson County
22-10-2015 Hockenheimring, Hockenheim
05-11-2015 Red Bull Ring, Spielberg
19-11-2015 Silverstone International Circuit, Silverstone
03-12-2015 Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, Oschersleben
17-12-2015 Circuit of the Americas, Austin
Race 1 | 10-09-2015
A great debut for Dennis Douna in the first SRVN GT race. Qualifying in third place he managed to stay there during the qualifying race, succesfully defending his podium position against the Ferrari of Bram Beelen. The first two steps of the podium were for Rudy van Buren and Roy de Muinck. Robin Verdegaal barely qualified in the top ten, but a first lap spin in the fast chicane threw him back to last position. Although he managed to pass more than ten cars within the fifteen minute race he finished three positions further back than he started.
In the main race Douna and Beelen continued their fight. This time however Douna had to let go of third place. Robin Verdegaal quickly moved up to 10th place but when Martijn Huisers spun in front of him in the last corner Verdegaal’s Aston Martin sustained a lot of damage. Limping back to the pits Verdegaal ran into more trouble when Huisers sent him into the tirewall in the fast chicane. The SFH Aston Martin retired in flames.
#93 - Douna - 4TH
#69 - Verdegaal - DNF
Race 2 | 24-09-2015
A conflicting race schedule forced Dennis Douna to forfeit in the second SRVN GT event at Spa-Francorchamps. Robin Verdegaal qualified better than last time, barely missing out on a top 5 position. With five minutes to go Jos Friemann and Roy de Muinck tangled up for first place, resulting in the retirement of the former. Meanwhile Verdegaal was battling for fifth place: “I Should have finished P5 in the sprint race but lost a place while outbraking Jeroen Huisers with two wheels on the outside kerbs. Tom Schenkels didn’t hesitate and put me one position down.”
Starting from P6 in the second race Verdegaal slowly got into rhythm while being hounded by Gerben Kelly who kept his Porsche in the SFH Aston Martin’s slipstream. “When I finally broke the tow I could reel in Jeroen Huisers and close the gap towards Tom Schenkels. After a couple of sloppy attempts I finally got a run around the outside in Les Combes. The replay shows contact during the pass, which must have helped a bit.
Initially I could drive away but overheating rear tyres almost gave Tom the chance to counter. On the finish line I was five meters short of P4, which went to Roy de Muinck who limped home after damaging his car in the last lap. Close, but no podium.”
#69 Verdegaal - 5TH
#93 - Douna - DNS
Race 3 | 08-10-2015
On the small but treacherous track of Atlanta Motorsportpark the SFH Aston Martins qualified in 5th and 6th place. During the qualifying race both drivers managed to pass Bram Beelen’s Ferrari. In the main race Douna put the pressure on Roy de Muinck in third place. Three quarters into the race de Muinck made a mistake that forced him to retire. Meanwhile Verdegaal had to defend his position for most of the race agains Beelen who showed more pace than in the first race and managed to put his Ferrari alongside Verdegaal’s Aston Martin a couple of times. But he never succeeded in completing the pass. A first podium finish for Douna in the SRVN 2015 GT championship.
#93 - DOUNA - 3RD
#69 - VERDEGAAL - 4TH
Race 4 | 22-10-2015
Just one SFH Aston Martin on the Hockenheimring. Dennis Douna didn’t qualify very well in the sprint race but worked his way up to fourth in the last lap of the race. Going into the stadium section that turned into a podium finish when Jos Friemann ran out of fuel in the penultimate corner.
The main race started spectacularly with an outside pass for second place in the first corner. Roy de Muinck wasn’t going to settle for third place though, and after the opening laps the starting order was reinstated.
While Dennis could not keep up for second place, his lead over Friemann in fourth place got smaller and smaller, until it settled around three seconds. In the second half of the race Friemann started to fall back and had to yield fourth place to Bram Beelen who started in the back of the field but drove a strong race in Germany. Another podium finish for SFH. Douna is still in the race for the top spots in the league championship.
#93 - DOUNA - 3RD
#69 - VERDEGAAL - DNS
Red Bull Ring
Race 5 | 05-11-2015
Mixed results in Austria. While Robin Verdegaal had a cautious start from 6th place after being pushed around in the qualifying race he quickly made up spots and came up to 4th until an error threw him back to his starting position. An overly optimistic pass around the outside in the second last corner saw him steer into Sven Smits and spin off onto the grass, falling back to 23rd. His catch up race stranded in 12th place.
Meanwhile Dennis Douna followed closely in 3rd place, behind Robin de Jong’s Corvette. Unable to attack from the dirty air, his race was a patient one. De Jong’s error came only halfway the race, after which Douna kept a small group of followers at bay all the way to the finish. Second place is the best SFH finish so far this season.
#93 - DOUNA - 2ND
#69 - VERDEGAAL - 12th
Race 6 | 19-11-2015
As the only SFH entry in the sixth race in the SRVN GT championship, Dennis Douna secured a steady but unremarkable fourth place in qualify, sprint and main race. Being half a second slower than the top three, his race was not about mistakes or misfortune, but about raw pace.
#93 - DOUNA - 4th
#69 - VERDEGAAL - DNS
Race 7 | 03-12-2015
Dennis Douna was not able to attend to the seventh race in the SRVN GT championship. As the only SFH entry, Robin Verdegaal failed to make an impression on the eastern German track. In the qualifying race, a failed overtaking attempt around the outside in the fast chicane ended in an off track excursion and a drive through penalty. Turning into the pit exit, Verdegaal was rammed from behind, resulting in severe damage and a second pitstop for repairs.
Starting from last place meant that the main race would be a tough one on this track where it’s hard to overtake. A couple of laps into the race one of the cars had an off in last corner and rejoined the track from a 90 degrees angle. When Verdegaal chose to pass around the outside it turned back to the left, forcing Verdegaal into the wall, thus ending this bad luck race weekend in typical fashion.
#69 - VERDEGAAL - DNF
#93 - DOUNA - DNS
Circuit of the Americas
Race 8 | 17-12-2015
The final SRVN GT race again was a single SFH entry race. Trouble in the qualifying session forced Verdegaal to start from the back of the grid, only to see himself forced off track by one of the Porsches. This meant another start from the back in the main race, where picking up positions went much better, until transmission trouble struck and Verdegaal tumbled back down the order, losing five of the positions he had gained before. A bad exit gave the same Porsche the chance to repass, which resulted in a big crash after a weird get together on the fast backstraight, that ended the race prematurely. No points for SFH in a disappointing season finale.
#69 - VERDEGAAL - DNF
#93 - DOUNA - DNS