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May 16, 2018  

Supplied by Motorsport SA Administrator from Motorsport SA
It was another frustration filled day for Johan Fourie at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, May 12. Round 3 of the 2018 Sasol GTC Championship saw him try his utmost best, but mechanical issues with the EPS Racing BMW had the final say on the weekend.



Friday morning started with Fourie competing a fair amount of laps during the first practice session. Some mechanical difficulties loomed during the second session, but the team felt confident that they would be able to use the third session to have their car fully prepared for Saturday morning.

Just prior to exiting the pit lane for the last session the team discovered an issue with the wiring to the fuel tank. Quick work by the VM Innovations team saw this being resolved rapidly, but not prior to the session ending. A special session was however arranged for him at the end of the day where he set a host of competitive lap times.

Confident after Friday evening’s performance Fourie took to Saturday morning’s qualifying session eager to set a solid time. His eighth position on the grid came after a host of flying laps in the closely-contested session with the entire class covered by under 0.7 of a second.

The first race saw him eager to make his way through the field. Unfortunately he struggled with gear selection issues compromising his pace when shifting up. He nevertheless carried on to pick up the points available; finishing the race in sixth position. Initially this was suspected to be related to the gearshift actuator which led the team to replace it prior to the second race. While making his way to the grid it was soon discovered to be something else and to prevent further damage the car was retired straight away. A complete internal inspection of the transmission will follow, something which can not be done in the relatively short period between the day’s races.

Fourie sums up his weekend: “This is a weekend where everything went wrong at the wrong time. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do about that, this was just rotten luck altogether. Friday’s fuel tank wiring issue was the same as what plagued another competitor during Qualifying. Whenever you get gearshift issues on a race day you can really only start with the parts which can be replaced quickly. If like today it proves to be something inside the gearbox, you can’t carry on and risk further damage. As bitter a pill today is to swallow, it was the right decision. Let’s rather focus on moving forward and back to the front of the field rather than crying over spilt milk.”

The next outing for Fourie and the EPS Racing team will be at the Border Motorsport Grand Prix Circuit in East London on Saturday, June 16 for Round 4 of the 2018 Sasol GTC Championship.

Published by:  Reynard Gelderblom

Picture Caption:  A rare smile from Johan Fourie during a disastrous weekend at Zwartkops Raceway

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