Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Women in One-Make Series, Part II



Citroen AX GTi Cup drivers in 1991: Gwen Caviet, Natasja Mets, Françoise Loogman, Liesbeth Budel, Linda Molenaar, Lilian Andela (in front)

The one-make scene is so popular with women drivers in the Netherlands that it deserves its own page. In the 1990s, the Citroen AX GTI Cup had a considerable number of female participants, and its own Ladies' Trophy. Drivers who began their careers in these series after 2000 can now be found here.

Pauline Borrius Broek - got her break in racing in Citroen one-make championships, in the 1990s. She had raced since 1986, in cars including a Toyota Starlet, and had even done a round or two of the Dutch Touring Car Championship in 1989, but the AX GTI Cup, in 1990, seems to have been her first regular race seat. She was one of the leaders of the ladies’ standings for much of the year. For the GTI Cup’s lifetime, she seems to have remained involved, and when it was replaced by the Citroen Saxo Cup, she entered that as well. In 1997, she was tenth in the championship, and third in the Ladies’ standings. She did return in 1998, but only for one or two races. In 1999, she moved over to the Alfa Romeo 156 Challenge, for a part-season, meaning she was only 25th. An expanded programme in the series in 2000 gave her 20th overall. 

Natasha Davelaar - raced in the Citroen Saxo Cup in the Netherlands, between 1998 and 2000. Her best season was her first, in 1998, when she was tenth, and second in the Ladies’ standings.  In 1999, she only did a part-season, and was 23rd in the championship. In 2000, she was back to a full season, or almost one, but was only 20th overall. She got into motorsport through the “Veronica Challenge”, after gaining her license in 1992. She is no longer directly involved in motorsport, having retired after becoming a mother, and now runs a wine business.

Sandra Douma - Dutch one-make saloon specialist. She started competing in 1993, in the Dutch Clio Cup. After a couple of seasons, she switched to the Citroen Saxo Cup and gradually improved her rankings over several seasons. Her best result was sixth in 2000, and her best race performances were a pole position and a third place. Between 2001 and 2004, she returned to Clios, with an additional run in the Dutch Winter Endurance Championship in 2002 and 2003, using the same car. She was third in her class. In 2005 and 2006 she tried her hand at the Toyota Yaris Cup, and in 2007 she joined the new Suzuki Swift series. In her first season, she was third overall after a couple of third places. She was runner-up in 2008 and hoped to win the championship in 2009, but had to settle for sixth. She was eleventh in 2010 after only managing a part-season. In 2011, she stepped down to driver coaching for her family team, although she did make a brief comeback in 2013, in the last round of the Swift Cup.

Vanessa Huisman - raced in Citroen one-make series for at least three seasons. She was part of the Citroen AX GTI Cup in 1994 and 1995, although her race results from this time are not forthcoming. In 1999, she returned to the Citroen Saxo Cup, its successor, for a few races. Again, her results have been  hard to find, apart from one 22nd place in the Trophy of the Dunes, at Zandvoort. She is part of the Huisman racing family.

Debbie Loogman - raced in one-make series in the 1990s and early 2000s. She took part in the Citroen Saxo Cup between 1997 and 2000. Her best Saxo Cup championship finish was eleventh, in 1997. She was fourth in the Ladies’ standings. In 2001, she switched to the Renault Clio Cup, but did not run in all of the races. She was competing against her sister, Françoise Loogman. Debbie seems to have got into motorsport through her sister, and by winning a talent competition referred to as the “Veronica Challenge”.  


Françoise Loogman - one-make specialist who competed for ten years in the Netherlands. After swapping rhythmic gymnastics for karting in her teens, she got her start in circuit racing in 1990, when she won a funded drive in the Renault 5 Championship. Unfortunately, she wrote her car off early on. In 1991, she moved to the Citroen AX GTI Cup, alongside several other female drivers. By 1992, she was among the fastest of them, and won the first of her three Ladies’ Cups, as well as finishing sixth overall. During this time, she won pole position for a European AX race. After the 1994 season, when she was joined on the track by her sister, Debbie. She moved to the Renault Clio Cup, which was now the bigger championship. In 1998, she tried bigger cars, driving in the Renault Megane Trophy. She was eleventh overall, improving to seventh in 1999. Her last Megane season in 2000 saw her in twelfth place. In 2001, she joined the Renault Sport Trophy, back in a Clio. Debbie also took part. This proved to be her last season in motorsport, as a lot of her backers fell into financial difficulty.

Linda Molenaar - raced in the Citroen AX GTI Cup between 1991 and 1993 (and possibly 1994). As is true for most of the competitors in this popular series, her actual race results have proved very hard to track down. It does not appear that she was one of the front-runners, but even this is difficult to confirm. She is from a Dutch motorsport family, and her brother is touring car racer, Donald Molenaar.

Amber Peeters - veteran of Citroen one-make racing in the Netherlands. Between 1997 and 2000, she competed in four different versions of the Citroen Saxo Cup, usually doing a part-season. This championship always attracted a healthy female element, and Amber was fifth in the Ladies standings in her first year, and 19th overall. In 1998, she was eleventh overall, her best season, although her best actual race results came in 1999, when she scored her first podium finish. She was twelfth in the championship and second lady, behind outright winner Sandra van der Sloot. In 2000, she was 21st, after only entering five races. After this, she disappears from the start lists. She works as a make-up artist.

Chantal van der Sluis - raced in the early and mid 1990s, after some years in karting. Her first senior season was in 1991, when she entered the Citroen AX GT Cup. After a learning year with a few offs, she became one of the star drivers of the series in 1992, winning two races outright and finishing third in the championship. She was second in the Ladies’ Cup, behind Sandra van der Sloot. The following year, she moved to the Renault Clio Cup and was on the pace in her new car straight away, with two second places and sixth overall. In 1994, she drove in some rounds of the European Renault Clio Cup, although she was not as successful. It may have been this year that she crashed very spectacularly at Zandvoort. 1994 was her last season of competition. She died in 2008, aged 38, after a long struggle with cancer.

Natasja Smit Sø - Denmark-based Dutch driver, active since 1993. Her early activities were based around one-make series, usually the Citroen Saxo Cup. In 1997, she was 20th in the championship, and the following year, she was twelfth. She continued to do part-season until 2000, although she did not improve on her 1998 result. She seems to have become less active after that, with only guest appearances in the Renault Clio Cup in 2003. It was then ten years until she raced again. At the end of 2013, she became one of the new Dutch Racingdivas, driving for the new team line-up. Her first event was the 2014 Dubai 24 Hours, in a Schubert BMW 320D. Alongside her team-mates, she won her class, and was 31st overall. Unfortunately, the Racingdivas only made one appearance on the circuits that year. She does not appear to have raced in 2015.

Yvonne Vlogtman - started racing in the Citroen Saxo Cup in 2000. She was 22nd overall in her first season. In 2001, she did some rounds of the Renault Sport Cup in a Clio, and was 32nd overall. After that, she disappears from the entry lists for a while, but in 2004, she reappears, driving a Citroen Saxo in some mixed saloon races at Circuitpark. After that, she disappears once more. She was linked to a Dakar drive in 2005, but it is unclear whether she actually took part. 

(Image from http://autosport.nl/)

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