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K&N's Speedtec Racing Leads 2012 Dutch Supercar Challenge Championship

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Speedtec Racing's Nico and Peter van Vliet managed two seventh places finishes at TT Circuit Assen despite some mechanical issues.
Speedtec Racing's Nico and Peter van Vliet managed two seventh places finishes at TT Circuit Assen despite some mechanical issues.
Last season Holland's Speedtec Racing team dominated the Dutch Supercar Challenge Championship with consistency, making it to the podium nine of the 16 races they competed in. Over the course of their eight weekend race schedule the K&N sponsored team finished every race, without a single DNF. Backing up a stellar championship season is one of the toughest acts to follow however, because now you become the hunted, the team everyone else is gunning for.
The ETEC-Viper driven by Robert de Graaff and Philippe Ribbens proved too fast for even the very speedy Ferrari 430 GT2.
The ETEC-Viper driven by Robert de Graaff and Philippe Ribbens proved too fast for even the very speedy Ferrari 430 GT2.


In 2011 Speedtec Racing ran two cars in the Dutch Supercar Challenge, a Dodge Viper driven by Robert de Graaff and Philippe Ribbens, and a new BMW Z4 piloted by the team owner's sons, Nico and Peter van Vliet. In 2012 the team has added a second BMW driven by Leo Van der Eijk and Helmert Van der Slik.

So far in 2012 Speedtec Racing has been grinding it out with every race and managing to stay in close in the overall championship points tally. But, after their double race victory during the Gamma Racing Day at TT Circuit Assen in the Netherlands, Robert de Graaff and Philippe Ribbens driving the ETEC-Viper have now regained their rightful place, leading in the Championship of the Super GT-Division of the Supercar Challenge. At Circuit Assen the dynamic duo once again asserted the same sort of dominance over the field as they had last year, winning the race on Saturday and Sunday, and setting the fastest laps on both days.
The BMW Zilhouette driven by Leo Van der Eijk and Helmert Van der Slik earned their first victory with the Speedtec Racing team at TT Circuit Assen.
The BMW Zilhouette driven by Leo Van der Eijk and Helmert Van der Slik earned their first victory with the Speedtec Racing team at TT Circuit Assen.


The two Viper pilots announced their intention early in the weekend by posting a best lap time of 1:39.020 to earn the pole position for the first race. At the start of the race on Saturday de Graaff got caught up and dropped back into third place, but was he was able to grab the number two spot by the second lap, right behind the Ferrari 430 GT2 driven by the race leader Bert Mercure Beaune.
To the victors, Robert de Graaff and Philippe Ribbens, go the spoils.
To the victors, Robert de Graaff and Philippe Ribbens, go the spoils.


"Bert was really fast around the whole track and it was not easy to find a place to overtake him," commented de Graaff. "Everyone talks about how fast the Ferrari's can be and I can tell you they really are fast, especially in the curves and during braking. This is a very strong car. My only option was to find a better line going into the turns so I could find more speed coming out of it."

In his attempts to find the faster line de Graaff inadvertently bumped into Mercure Beaune going into a turn. For the incident de Graaff was given a drive-through penalty. After the drive-through de Graaff was back in fourth place, but he wasted no time in working his way back into second place, and pressuring the Ferrari driver all the way to the scheduled pit stop for the driver trade off.
Speedtec Racing and Speedtec Motorsports share the same garage.
Speedtec Racing and Speedtec Motorsports share the same garage.


Philippe Ribbens took over the controls of the Viper for the second half of the race, and because their pit crew was more efficient, the Viper exited the pits just ahead of the Ferrari. "For the first few laps I was really pumped up and I pushed a little," admitted Ribbens. "But my lead was up to 25 seconds so I was able to calm down and drive smoother." Ribbens drove the Viper to a very convincing victory. It was the first win for Robert de Graaff and Philippe Ribbens in 2012.

As a result of their win on Saturday the ETEC-Viper once more started on the pole for the race on Sunday. Philippe Ribbens raced first in this contest. He immediately took the lead and held on to it until the driver change. Filled with confidence when he took over the controls de Graaff took the lead and he continued to stretch it all the way to the checkered flag. With the points earned from the two wins and from setting fast lap both days, the Speedtec Racing team now takes championship lead going into the next race at Circuit Park Zandvoort on the weekend of August 26.

The BMW Zilhouette driven by Leo Van der Eijk and Helmert Van der Slik also was able to notch the very first victory and a third place finish with the Speedtec Zilhouette team during the Gamma Racing Day at TT Circuit Assen. The team of Nico and Peter van Vliet survived mechanical problems, yet managed to finish strong with two seventh place tallies. The two Speedtec Racing Zilhouette BMW's will next race at the 24 Hours of Zolder on the weekend of September 8.

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