9 Hour honours shared, Loeb beats Vettel in a Blizzard, Regional Action
Among the biggest international action in Toyota Gazoo Racing Week 5 went down at the Kyalami 9 Hour on Saturday. And everyone emerged a winner at the ‘2021′ season finale. ASP Mercedes GT3 trio Raffaele Marciello, Jules Gounon and Timur Boguslavskiy won. Second placed Ferrari 488 GT3 drivers Come Ledogar and Alessandro Pier Guidi were crowned drivers’ champions. And third placed R8 LMS GT3 trio, home hero Kelvin van der Linde, Patric Niederhauser, Markus Winkelhock clinched the Intercontinental GT Challenge Manufacturer’s title for Audi.
9 HOUR RACED AGAINST ALL ODDS
Qualifying for the lockdown hampered race, delayed from its original December date, was cancelled. A torrential Highveld thunderstorm that flooded several nearby neighbourhoods. But the race went on. The winning Mercedes started from pole, set the fastest lap and dominated. It left Audi to clinch the maker’s title when the second Ferrari retired with gearbox issues. But the battle for the driver’s title went down to the wire. That after the remaining Ferrari moved ahead of championship rivals Niederhauser and Winkelhock’s Audi and stayed there.
Impressive Stradale Motorsport Lamborghini trio Charl Arangies, Arnold Neveling and Michael van Rooyen were the first local car home. After a troubled run to eighth. Teammates Xolile Letlaka, Tschops Sipuka and Phillip Kekana made history. They become the first all-black African crew to start and finish the Kyalami 9 Hour.
Sebastien Loeb overcame Sebastian Vettel and a Swedish Arctic blizzard to take his fourth Race of Champions. Nine-time World Rally champion Loeb, who ended second in the Dakar and took his 80th WRC win at Monte Carlo in January, started February in style too. He edged on form four time F1 World Driver’s Champion Vettel three races to one in Sunday’s Final. Father and son Team Norway, Petter and Oliver Solberg Saturday won the Nations Cup. They defeated Team USA’s Jimmie Johnson and Colton Herta.
MACKIE ADDS FOURTH V8 TITLE
Also at Kyalami, Thomas Reib drove his Lumina to victory over Warren Lombard’s Falcon and Julian Fameliaris’ Corvette. It wasn’t enough for Reib to stop Mackie Adlem’s Jaguar from taking his fourth Mobil 1 V8 Supercar title. Third championship rival Jaguar XKR Franco di Matteo’s Jaguar retired. Paulo Loureiro took M Power BMW honours from Adrian Dalton, Rick Loureiro and Class B winner Jagger Robertson. And Nick Adcock and Michael Jensen’s Ligier beat Riaan Botma’s similar car and Francis Carruthers’ Pilbeam in a damp Sportscar 1 Hour.
There were also a few regional races back in South Africa. Gauteng GXCC Cross Country champion Mike Pentecost got his 2022 season off to a flying start. He rode his Kawasaki to victory and 450cc OR1 class honours at Verena on Saturday. 200cc OR3 class winner Davin Cocker was second on a Husqvarna from class rival Matthew Wilson’s similar machine. And OR3 250cc top two Scott Heygate and Kerim Fitzgerald’s KTMs.
Aldo Scribante hosted Gqeberha’s first EP race meet of the year. Celso Scribante’s Lamborghini beat Deon Slabbert’s Polo and Gordon Nicholson’s Nissan GT-R in WP Saloons. Jeandre Marais’ S2000 won the 45 minute enduro from Slabbert’s Polo and Aidan Barnard’s Ashley Supecar. Adrian Barnand’s Kadet took the Coastal Challenge and Anro Swart’s Ford Streetcar honours. On two wheels, Johan Anker took the EP Bike win on his Yamaha. Ashton Heidemann took the CBR 150 win and Dylan Grobler NSF 150 honours.
IDUBE MAX KARTING SEASON OPENER
It was a day of domination in the opening KZN Rotax Max karting regional at iDube. Home hero Cristiano Morgado came back to beat Jozi visitors Jamie and Brandon Smith to DD2 honours. Shane Foley won DD2 Masters and Troy Snyman Senior Max. In the schoolboy classes, Uzair Khan took Junior, Travis Mingay Mini and upcountry visitor Matthew Shuttleworth Mico Max. And Ronaldo Koen took Baby Bambino honours.