The annual MRCZ Open International race 2017 was held over the weekend in Zwevegem, Belgium. The event took place in a nice heated hall on which the organizers laid out a track of 20 x 30 meters with brand new ETS carpet. In order to provide maximum grip, the carpet was stuck on the floor with double sided tape. Saturday saw two rounds of free practice followed by 3 rounds of qualifications. On Sunday, two more qualifications (best two out of five would count) and 3 finals were scheduled. In Touring Stock XRAY driver Florian Joos took the TQ and also won the 3 finals to claim the overall victory. Frank Baggen claimed the second place in front of Pasquinel Neys in third and two XRAY drivers, Laurent Desperries and Thomas Hostyn.
In Touring Modified, in the first qualifier, XRAY’s Thomas Stockman was the fastest and Florian was about 5 seconds behind. In the 2nd and 3rd qualifier the gap increased to almost a lap, despite the fact that the other drivers were using newer tyres. John Ermen, a former ENS winner took the last qualifier with the fastest time of the day. Thomas Stockman took the overall TQ from John Ermen, Mitchell Van Es and Florian. Florian won A1 and finished in second in A2, behind Thomas Stockman. In A3 unfortunately Florian was wiped out at the start, so he couldn’t fight for the overall victory. Thomas Stockman grabbed the win in front of Florian Joos in second and John Ermen in third. Athan De Witte and Stefaan Rommens rounded out the top 5.
In Formula the current Belgian 1/10 ISTC stock champion Vincent Van Gansen having no previous Formula experience was anxious to see how he would get on. A good benchmark for him was the presence of Steve Deblaere, a regular ETS A finalist and Willy Voisangrin, the French national Formula champion. Vincent drove solid qualifiers that put him in the P3 position. In the finals, he often found himself in second position, but due to some problems with the backmarkers he had to settle for third overall, behind Steve and Willy, but in front of Ghislain Mantrand and Fréderic Favier. Vincent’s laptimes were only .1 shy of those of Steve, so with a bit more experience he will surely improve even further.