Review: Sasol GTC2 Championship – Rd 1 – Kyalami
Signature Motorsport got their 2018 Sasol GTC2 Championship campaign off to a solid start at Kyalami with Brad Liebenberg taking a second place finish in the first race and a feisty victory in race two at the opening pair of races this weekend.
Devin Robertson made his debut in the Champion-backed MINI John Cooper Works and immediately found decent pace in the mixed conditions during Friday’s free practice sessions. He qualified in fifth place for his maiden race.
The Ferodo MINI John Cooper Works driver bagged fourth in qualifying after struggling to find a decent handling package on the new-for-2018 slick tyres. At the start, Brad charged to the front of the field and led the opening laps ahead of Adrian Wood and Keagan Masters before succumbing to sustained pressure from Masters (VW Golf).
The Ferodo MINI driver held off the advances from Trevor Bland’s Golf to cross the line with 17 points in the bag in spite of a holed radiator towards the end of the race caused by a stone on the track.
Devin raced in fifth place, hampered by the MINI going into limp mode leaving the Champion car in sixth place across the finishing line.
From the back of the inverted race two grid, Brad quickly picked his way through the stragglers into fourth place when the race was red-flagged following an accident. At the re-start, Brad quickly passed Masters going into Leeukop Corner, setting off after the race leader Bland.
Once passed, Brad opened a small lead crossing the line 0.9 seconds ahead of Bland. Devin was once again hampered by the car in limp mode, caused by a faulty wheel sensor, ultimately ending in fifth place.
With a first and second place, Brad takes the early season championship lead by six points.
“Friday’s running was a mixed bag with the weather conditions”, said Brad. “I battled to find sufficient front end grip and tried various tyres pressures to cure the imbalance. I had a great start and got the jump on everyone but Keagan came back and passed me. I started second last in the second race. I had a great car under me and picked off those ahead one by one until I took the lead. I’m very happy with how my day turned out.”
Devin said: “I was on the pace initially and was second fastest in the wet practice sessions. I made a few changes before the first race and had a good car but unfortunately the car went into limp mode and all I could do was cruise around to bank some points from both races.”
The second round of the Sasol GTC2 Championship takes place at the Killarney International Raceway on 21st April.