What’s your first memory of Zolder?
I was six years old when I watched my first race at Zolder. I accompanied a friend of my father’s there, who was active in the Belcar Series. So that’s where everything started and I’ve been captivated by motorsport ever since.
So it’s a real home round for you?
Absolutely! I live in Lanaken, only 20 minutes away from the track, and am very much looking forward to the DTM at Zolder. However, it’s also going to be a demanding weekend for me because many members of my family, friends and fans will be there.
Are you going to sleep at home?
No, that’s not a good idea. There’s usually a lot going on at Zolder and you can get caught in a traffic jam driving to the race track in the morning. In the GT3, I nearly missed a qualifying session once. My teammate drove in Q1 and I was scheduled for Q2 and Q3. I arrived when Q1 was already over, directly jumped into the car and still clinched pole.
Have you ever watched a DTM race at Zolder? The last one took place in 2002.
No. But I know the track pretty well from the GT3 car. I’m very much looking forward to it. Racing there in a DTM car will be a very special experience. The track is tricky. For me, it’s a bit like a small Nordschleife. A minor mistake and you’re out. There are no run-off areas. The racing will be good, even though overtaking is more difficult than at Hockenheim.
Where are the best opportunities for overtaking?
Heading into the first corner or the chicane before the start-finish line.
What sections are particularly difficult at Zolder?
Especially in the fast first sector, you can either gain or lose a lot of time. The first left-hander is very fast, and so is turn four. Then the chicane follows and subsequently we drive up and down a pretty steep hill. Plus, the weather is often unpredictable in Belgium.
Is Zolder comparable with any other DTM track?
There are some similarities to Zandvoort. If you leave the line there you’ll have an accident. That’s also the case at Zolder. In this respect, the tracks are similar, but they have totally different layouts.