Review: Sasol GTC2 Championship, Zwartkops – 16th June
Brad Liebenberg produced another excellent performance in his Ferodo MINI John Cooper Works at Zwartkops Raceway outside Pretoria on Friday, when he claimed another victory for Signature Motorsport.
It was a solid performance from the entire team as Chris Shorter, having missed the free practice sessions, shadowed his team-mate across the line in a close second place, the best position yet for the Champion MINI John Cooper Works and the team’s first one-two result in the MINI’s short GTC2 racing career.
Under cool, breezy conditions, Brad took pole position, some 0.273 seconds ahead of Chris in the early morning qualifying session. Chris, who turned 21 in the week leading up to raceday had written exams on Thursday and took no part in the set-up of his MINI, making his performance all the more remarkable when the clocks were ticking.
In the first race, Brad and Chris circulated in team formation over the 17-lap race, never bothered by any of the opposition. Chris set the race’s fastest lap, earning a three point bonus.
Race two, from an inverted grid, was another matter as the two MINI driver’s had to pick their fights carefully as they raced their way to the front of the pack. Brad, from sixth on the grid, fought his way into second place while Chris had a robust race with Mandla Mdakane (VW Golf), eventually making his way past and into third place.
Brad rocketed up the championship standings into second place while Chris moves into fourth place as the season heads to the mid-point next month.
Quotes from the cockpit:
Brad Liebenberg (#12 Ferodo): “Qualifying went well after free practice where I was a second faster than everyone else. The first race was straightforward. Each time I thought I could take things easy, Chris closed up but it was a case of reeling off the laps and managing the car and tyres for race two. After the re-start in race two, I was half a second quicker than the Golfs and picked them off one by one. While I was fighting to get past Chris and Mandla, Keagan (Masters) got away but second from the back of the grid was a great result”.
Chris Shorter (#33 Champion): “I was extremely confident in qualifying with the car seemingly on rails. In the first race, I had a couple of opportunities to pass Brad but I didn’t want to slow us down and get caught by the Golfs. In race two, I got a really good start and made it to third off the line but I clipped Charl (Smalberger) which bent my steering. After the re-start, I had another good start and was involved in a race-long fight with Mandla and managed to pass him one lap from home. It was a great day and my best yet in GTC2”.
The Signature Motorsport team hits the road to Port Elizabeth for round five, which takes place on 15th July.
Published by: Ronnie Erasmus
Photograhy by: Dave Ledbitter
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