SA hero Jordan Pepper in the thick of Intercontinental GT title fight in Jozi 9 Hour finale
If last year’s dramatic, thunderstorm-lashed down-to-the-wire Kyalami 9 Hour Intercontinental GT Championship decider was anything to go by, race fans can expect this weekend 2020’s epic edition to be just as thrilling.
ICGT TITLE GOING DOWN TO THE WIRE
While spectators are not allowed, it is certain to make for a thrilling race, live streamed or on TV. A high quality, if low quantity international field will once again take the title down to the wire. And several local heroes are right in the thick of it.
South African GT racing hero Jordan Pepper and his Bentley teammates are among nine crews and three car manufacturers set to fight it out for ICGT championship honours when the series comes to a head at the legendary Kyalami race. Bathurst 12 Hour winners in Australia back in February, Pepper, Jules Gounon and Maxime Soulet also scored in the other two races run so far in the lockdown-hit 2020 season.
SOUTH AFRICAN TITLE INFLUENCES
Pepper is not the only South African who can influence the title chase . Both van der Linde brothers are teamed up with drivers in title contention too. BMW’s DTM winner Sheldon shares a Walkenhorst’s M6 GT3 with BMW’s Indianapolis 8 Hour winners, Augusto Farfus and Nick Catsburg. Both of them sit six points adrift of the leading Porsche duo in the title race
The elder van der Linde brother, Kelvin is another local favourite. He’s racing one of three African art-liveried Audi Sport Team R8 WRTs in the 9 Hour. He shares with two more drivers in contention for the ICGT title. The younger Vantoor brother Dries, and Markus Winkelhock who is also chasing a second Intercontinental GT title.
Honda NSX drivers Mario Farnbacher and Renger van der Zande are in the championship mix too. They will be joined by Bertrand Baguette at Kyalami. The second Walkenhorst BMW M6 crew of David Pittard, Martin Tomczyk and Nick Yelloly who finished second in the Indianapolis 8 Hour and Audi’s Spa 24 runner-up trio, Frederic Vervisch, Patric Niederhauser and Mattia Drudi. They are all capable of stealing an upset championship victory.
Two more South Africans, Saul Hack and Andre Bezuidenhout share a Pro Am Class Porsche with Dylan Pereira. Other notable entries include Silver trio Martin Lechman, Milan Dontje and Dennis Marschall’s Audi R8. And a second Bentley for Alex Buncombe, Seb Morris and Oliver Jarvis.
NO SPECTATORS BUT 9 HOUR IS LIVE ON TV
South Africa’s lockdown restrictions mean no spectators wilkl be allowed at the Kyalami 9 Hour. All qualifying sessions and the full nine hours will however be broadcast free on the GT World Youtube channel. DSTV SuperSport will also carry live coverage across South Africa throughout the weekend.
Pre-Qualifying is 09h45 Friday 11 December followed by three Qualifying sessions from 12h20 before the 16h00 Top Six Pole Shootout. The race starts an hour earlier than originally planned at 11 am, Saturday 12 December.