Robert De Haan, the flying Dutchman

- Interview
Discover Robert De Haan, the Dutch driver who impressed at his first international year after the victory of the last Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals.

Let's get better acquainted with Robert De Haan, a promising young Dutchman who performed well in his debut in international karting.

First of all congrats for winning the DJKM title. What are your feelings about the victory?

«I'm very happy and relieved with to win the title. It was a good season (with 6 wins and 10 out of 10 podiums) and in the end, the championship became very close (Christian Ho, RFM) after subtracting the points. In my last race I knew I was champion but I was determined to end this season with a win».

Considering all the race you took part to this year, what’s your opinion about your first internationals season?

«My first year in OKJ was has been a hard year for me. I learned very much and it’s also because we work like a team together.

The plan was to gain experience and enter the finals during each race weekend, so I can go for the prizes in 2020. But I already took several podiums this year (10 DKM, 1 FFSA, 2 WSK, 1 FIA)».

You’ve dominated the first 2 rounds of the Academy Trophy but you lost the title due to a DQ in Sarno. First of all explain us what happened in Sarno and then, especially about Lonato, do you think you did all the best or could you do something more?

«It’s still hard to think about. It has been a sequence of mistakes by us as a team (mechanic used a tool for safety reasons to check a bolt on the chassis) and unclear rules & commitments by the FIA organization. First we where told that I get zero points for this race (so I can subtract this race), and in the end I get a DQ».

«The points I gain in Lonato means I had to subtract this race. But I was determined to go for a good result and tried everything I got. In the training we missed speed on the straights but was able to end on P3 after the heats. In the final I was on P2 until someone crashed into me and flew over my kart, so I had to finish the race with a broken radiator and steering-system.

After all, I ended third in the Championship. We will learn from this and it makes me stronger for the future». 

How much did you grow up this year?

«Very much. Last year I was still driving in the Dutch Championship (Chrono Karting) with Rotax Max engines and end the year with winning the Rotax Max Grand Finals (in Brazil). This year Energy Corse Racing Karts give me the opportunity to drive with the best support I could not ever imagine. They have learned me so much this race after race. I have a great mechanic Mattia Ciuffolo who understand me and know to setup the kart, but also my sport-coach Debby Hanssen (from DebSports) who is always by my side and get the best out of me. I also want to thank my parents, Indy Dontje and Vincent Franken for giving me a good helping hand this year and make things possible». 

What’s in your plan for the next year?

«We are still working to find out what is the best choice for next year. I just turned 13 years old a few months ago and still need more experience in OKJ-class.

In the other hand, I grow very fast where the OK-class is the better choice. We don’t know yet at this moment».


© M. Alosa | Photo: FM Images

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