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Enjoying the WTCC in Zandvoort as a VIP.

Saturday, May 5th, 2007.
A couple of weeks ago my uncle asked me if I would like to join him on national Liberation day at the WTCC (the official FIA World Touring Car Championship) at Circuit Park Zandvoort. Of course I liked that idea as I've never seen the WTCC, and it had been a long time since I had been at the circuit. My uncle could also get some free entry tickets through his work, so why not...?
Closer to May 5th my uncle discovered that they weren't just simple entry tickets, but special VIP ones. We had no idea what these tickets meant for us, but we would be finding out shortly. On the morning of May 5th we (my uncle, some of his other nephews and I) left early for Zandvoort in order to arrive there in time, as they would expect us to be there at 10 o'clock. We had to register at an office in a sort of holiday/leisure park, were we received our tickets for the day. We got our tickets and walked to the circuit. We already noticed that wherever we went no one stopped us. We came to an area with a red carpet leading to it with boards beside it marked 'VIP Club'. We asked the two nice ladies (check the Photo album for photos) who stood at the entrance if this was the right place to go. They confirmed and let us through, and we entered the special skyboxes in the VIP area. We were completely astonished by this treatment and were almost laughing because of this unfamiliar situation. Later some other people asked these ladies if they too were allowed to go our way, but they weren't allowed to do so. It was easy to find the skybox of the company from which we got the free tickets. They gave us a warm-hearted welcome with coffee and small cakes/petitfours. They wished us a nice day, which we could to enjoy as they would take care of all of our worries. They also promised a warm lunch at noon and an appetizer with some warm snacks in the evening. There were also free drinks on offer the whole day. We could also go wherever we wanted to -- but we already noticed that ourselves, haha...
When we finished our coffee, we took a look at the 'parc fermé', were we could walk through the trucks of the racing teams that were standing there. It was really cool to be able to take a look in the kitchen of the world of racing. The trailers of these trucks made me think of operating rooms in hospitals as they were just as clean. We walked on towards the pitlane, to check that out. It was nice to see all the garages with the cars and the engineers preparing the cars for the free practices. We also 'met' some famous racedrivers like Alex Zanardi (a former Formula 1 driver from Italy who now drives with two prosthetic legs), our Dutch hero Tom Coronel and various other drivers. After taking a lot of photos in the garages (you can see them in the Photo album), it became clear that the free practice would start soon, so they closed the pitlane to the public.
We left the pitlane and went upstairs to find a nice spot on top of the roof of the central building. This roof is located right above the garages and the skyboxes. From this position we could see everything that happened in the pitlane as well as on the long main straight with Start-finish line, the Tarzan corner and a few other parts of the circuit. The wind from the sea was blowing very hard on top of the roof, but we didn't care much about that. It only made it a bit tougher to take stable photos.
After the free practice was over it was about time for a nice lunch, so we headed back to the skybox. The lunch, which was Chinese with other delicacies, was already waiting for us. It all tasted really good. After lunch we went upstairs again to watch the demonstration of a drifting team. It was awesome to see the cars burn their tires amidst plenty of smoke. They were drifting with these specially prepared cars over the whole track and make 'donuts' on the main straight.
After this special break it was time for the qualification of the WTCC drivers. Every driver got a certain amount of time to try to drive some quick laps. The best times would determine the starting order for the race on Sunday. In the Photo album you can see some beautiful action shots from the qualification laps. I also listed the starting positions they achieved there. When the qualification was finished, there was another nice surprise for us: our prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende was at the racing track in Zandvoort. Not long after the qualification, Tom Coronel took him in his car and drove two laps at full speed around the circuit. After this cool stunt there was a Seat Cup race, but they stopped this race early because many of the drivers had serious issues with their tires, which couldn't guarantee their safety. In the meantime we enjoyed some nice drinks and tasty snacks in the skybox.
Unfortunately, this fantastic day being a VIP had to come to an end, but first we decided to go to the beach for a nice walk. The beach is just a few hundreds of meters away from the circuit. The wind had already attacked us a lot during the day, but here it was even worse. We had a great time on the beach anyway, and I was able to take some nice photos. Just as we were about to go home we found a boomerang on the beach and we couldn't resist playing with that toy for a while. The others did quite a good job, but when it was my turn... I have no experience with such a boomerang at all and gave it much too hard a swing. The fierce wind blew the boomerang away and it landed on top of a beach caravan. A rather stressed guy from Amsterdam didn't like that 'move' and became quite angry and shouted out some typical Amsterdam phrases which I'd better not repeat here...
But after all, we had a fantastic day that I would like to do again if I could. Thanks Gerrit!