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Mackie Adlem returned to defend his 2022 Mobil 1 V8 Supercars title with a race victory at the season-opening Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit round held in support of the Kyalami 9 Hour on 23-25 February.

The Adlem Auto driver took to the circuit on Thursday for the first of two practice sessions but was hampered by a mechanical issue that left him fourth quickest. In the second session, Adlem improved to be the second quickest. The six-time champion returned to the iconic Johannesburg circuit for the Friday morning qualifying session, where he recorded the third-best time ahead of the afternoon race.

Making a solid start to the race, Adlem would quickly take the lead in the eight-lap race to claim the season’s first race victory. With that, he recorded the fastest lap of the race and the highest top speed (239.4 km/h) before breaking for Turn 1. Race 2 was held on Saturday morning, where Adlem would be unfortunate. In another closely-contested race for the lead, Adlem would make contact with Thomas Reib, causing the Dane to spin and fall back. As a result, Race Stewards penalised Adlem with 20 seconds and saw the Randfontein businessman demoted to fifth after finishing fourth on track. In the overall results, Adlem was classified third.

“After some initial mechanical gremlins on Thursday, we repaired a few things ahead of Qualifying,” said Adlem. “The car felt good throughout both races, and we were able to take the win in Race 1 after a great start. From there, I managed the gap with Thomas (Reib). For Race 2, we started fifth, and unfortunately, I made contact with Thomas (Reib) in Turn 1 and received a penalty. As I said, it was unfortunate, and we focus on the next goal.”

Round 2 resumes at Red Star Raceway on 21-22 April.

Published by: Motorsport Fanatix – Raymond Cornwell

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