Review: Sasol GTC2 Championship – Rd 3, Zwartkops Raceway, 12th May
The third round of the Sasol GTC2 Championship proved to be a happy hunting ground for the Ferodo and Champion MINI John Cooper Works pair of Brad Liebenberg and Devin Robertson.
Brad set the fastest lap time in the final free practice session but Devin crashed into the turn four wall. The MINI was bruised and battered, leaving the Signature Motorsport Team with a late night repair job.
On race day, Brad slotted his Ferodo MINI into second place after setting his personal fastest-ever lap around the Pretoria circuit, 0.3 seconds off pole position while Devin missed the session due to a throttle problem.
Brad made a great start to snatch the lead from Keagan Masters (VW Golf) as the field headed into turn one. The two cars were nose to tail until on lap three, Masters made a move for the lead through turn three. The cars ran side-by-side but Brad had his measure, however, and braked very late into turn four, keeping his lead. The Ferodo MINI eked out a 0.6 second advantage by the time the battle ended.
Devin was in the wars again as he passed Adrian Wood (VW Golf) on the outside line in turn five when he was pushed wide by Dayne Angel (Honda) who dived between the two of them. Devin quickly regained his lost ground and passed Trevor Bland (VW Golf) to take fourth place, just 0.3 seconds away from the podium.
Race two, from an inverted grid, saw Devin line up in fifth place and Brad at the back of the grid. Devin was on the pace from the opening metre and was into second place by lap three after passing Smalberger and Wood in quick succession. As race leader Angel faded from the front, Masters caught and passed Devin who settled into second, equalling his best result since taking the wheel of the Champion MINI John Cooper Works.
Brad carefully picked his way through the pack, biding his time as he scythed through the field. By mid-race he was closing on the leading trio and passed Angel. Tucked in behind his team-mate, he took his second podium of the day giving Signature Motorsport a double podium.
“I hooked up a good lap in qualifying while setting my best ever lap time at Zwartkops. I made a great start in race one and got the jump on Keagan”, Brad related. “He tried to pass me on lap three but I braked really deep into turn four which forced him to do the same. After that I opened a lead and won the race. I took my time picking the guys off in race two which was a bit of a wild ride through the pack as everyone was involved in their own battle”.
Devin was happy with his results considering how his weekend started: “I had quite a big shunt in practice and missed qualifying which left me on the back foot. The team did an amazing job to repair the damage and give me a competitive car. Angel came barrelling between myself and Wood which forced me wide and cost a bit of time. I had very good pace in race two and had a great battle with Bland, running side-by-side for half a lap. I’ll take a podium any day after the way my weekend started”.
With 14 races still remaining, Brad is second in the championship standings while Devin climbs to fourth place on the leaderboard.
The Signature Motorsport pair of MINI John Cooper Works will be back in action at the East London Grand prix Circuit on 16th June.