This past weekend’s (17-18 March) second round of the 2023 Global Touring Cars (GTC) SupaCup saw Jean-Pierre van der Walt’s determination to succeed despite mechanical difficulties at Killarney International Raceway.
Friday saw the Van der Walt battle with transmission issues on his Platinum Wheels Volkswagen Polo SupaCup, which hampered his preparation time to merely two timed laps around the circuit on the western outskirts of Cape Town. However, with Qualifying only on Saturday morning, the Lee Thompson Racing team was able to conduct repairs. Instead of pursuing a favourable grid position, Saturday morning was spent as a blitzkrieg setup session. Nevertheless, he still found himself just over a second behind Brad Liebenberg’s pole position time.
“On Friday night, we knew that we would be in for a challenging Saturday, but great work by the team to have me ready to take to the grid on Saturday,” said Van der Walt. “If we could’ve had at least one more session with the car in peak condition before Qualifying, we might have been able to contend for a higher spot on the grid. Still, we would not give up, and we backed ourselves for the races.”
Race 1 also did not proceed according to plan either. Following a good start in which Van der Walt moved up two places, he was collected in an incident that resulted in a broken splitter, transmission mounting, and his inevitable retirement after only completing two laps.
In the afternoon’s second race, he jostled for position with Cape Town’s Tate Bishop before the latter settled into seventh place. Van der Walt kept up with him but also had to fend off Calvin Dias in the race’s second half. He crossed the finish line in eighth place.
“We had a good race at the end. In all fairness, we hoped to compete higher up in the pecking order this weekend, but starting the business end with limited seat time before the unnecessary incident in Race 1, we had to readjust our goals. After two opening rounds in three weeks, we now have a two-month break to prepare for the next round.”
Round 3 of the 2023 GTC SupaCup championship will be held at Zwartkops Raceway on 19-20 May.
Published by: Motorsport Fanatix – Raymond Cornwell
Picture Caption: JP van der Walt
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