Caleb Odendaal ended his ROK Cup 2021 Mini ROK campaign in the best way possible by winning the final heat on November 20 at the Vereeniging Kart Circuit.
East London driver, Odendaal improved throughout Saturday's four heats to claim the top Under-10 honours and achieve the third overall finishing position in the eight-to-thirteen-year-old class.
Qualifying in a solid fourth position for the opening heat, nine-year-old Odendaal made up a position in the early part of the race but lost a further two places as he battled for the final podium position. Renowned as the most challenging junior karting class in South Africa, Mini ROK has never failed in demonstrating top-class racing.
Starting sixth for the second heat, the former National Micro Max Champion found himself down a place before the end of Lap 1. Determined to make up for the loss, Odendaal put his head down and quickly made up the position before setting after the next competitor. A tough battle ensued, with Odendaal crossing the finish line in fifth. However, the contest would come at a price, with Odendaal receiving a nose-cone penalty costing him five additional seconds added to his race time and a sixth-place classification.
Following a few minor setup changes, the penultimate heat saw a resolute Odendaal finishing on the podium in second after starting fifth. Making up two positions on the opening lap, the Legend Motors-backed driver made up a further position midway through the race to take his first of two podiums on the day, with his best result still to come.
Starting in fourth for the final heat, Odendaal drove a mature and calculated race. The Eastern Cape superstar made up a few early positions once again before tucking in behind the leader, who had been one of the quickest drivers all weekend. Odendaal calmy followed the leader around the circuit, benefitting from the slipstream effect, allowing the pair to open up a significant margin over the rest of the field. Odendaal launched an attack with one lap remaining, forcing the leader to defend his regular racing line. Odendaal applied pressure throughout the lap and made the winning pass into the final corner to take the final heat victory by 0,059 seconds.
"I could not have asked for a better conclusion to our ROK Cup season," said Odendaal. "We approached these last few Mini ROK races as preparation for 2022, and we couldn't be happier. It's a challenging class, always has been, and the best class to hone one's skills. I am just so grateful to be winning again and the perfect ending to a tough day of racing. I must thank my family for their love and support, thank my sponsors for backing me throughout the season and thank my team for their hard work. I am truly grateful."
Published by: Raymond Cornwell
MSA Publishes media releases from a host of different sources on our website as a service to the sport. It is not practically possible to vet/approve every release that is published. Some news items and articles are written by correspondents and do not necessarily represent MSA’s views.