Julian Fameliaris took the overall honours in the first Mobil 1 V8 Supercars visit to Gqeberha in four years, which saw him consolidate his lead in the GT Championship this past weekend (16-17 June) at Aldo Scribante Racetrack, while Steve Herbst took the GT2 honours in the inaugural round for the new class.
Mackie Adlem (Adlem Auto Jaguar XKR), who set the fastest time in Friday’s practice sessions, topped the times in Saturday morning’s qualifying session. However, a failure to weigh in after the completion of the session relegated him to the back of the GT class grid. This saw points leader Fameliaris (Lube-Net / Di Matteo Racing / Gavin Wilkins Racing Cheverlor Corvette) inherit the position, with Franco di Matteo (Deltec Batteries / NHR Jaguar XKR) lining up next to him. Thomas Reib (Mobil 1 / Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina) shared the third row with Adlem. Larry Wilford (Fuchs Lubricants Ford Mustang) could not set a time but lined up on the grid. Warren Lombard’s PepBoys Automotive / Bumper-to-Bumper Ford Falcon developed terminal mechanical issues on Friday, which brought his weekend to a halt.
Next on the grid was Steve Herbst (PREI Instrumentation / PPG Coatings / QI Systems Chevrolet Corvette, who beat East London’s Bevan Schwarz to (Chevrolet Corvette) to the GT2 class pole position.
Race 1 saw Fameliaris take the lead, a position he did not look back from en route to his fourth race win of the year, but the first in the newly-branded GT class. Fameliaris also set the day’s fastest lap. Behind him, Di Matteo fended off Reib and Adlem for the runner-up spot in a cat-and-mouse battle. Further back, Wilford struggled with mechanical issues, which aggrevated in the morning’s qualifying session. Nevertheless, he brought the car home in a lonely fifth place.
While Schwarz snatched the GT2 lead from Herbst on the opening lap, the latter retook the position before building an advantage to take the first win in the new class.
Race 2 saw all but Wilford line up on the grid. Fameliaris out-braked himself into Turn 1 on the first lap, which saw him drop to the back of the field. Reib took the lead but had his work cut out to hold off a persistent Adlem, who tried hard to make his way through at every opportunity, but without success. Reib crossed the line first to record his maiden win of the 2023 season, with Adlem closely behind him. Like Reib, Di Matteo also made it two podiums for the day a little further back by finishing in third place.
After losing his chance for a double win, Fameliaris set his sights on taking the points that come with the overall win. After dispatching the GT2 runners, he pushed a host of hot laps in clean air. This challenge paid off, with him coming within just over a second behind Di Matteo. Finishing the race in fourth place, Fameliaris took the overall win, just pipping Reib into second, ahead of Adlem.
The GT2 battle also delivered a good duel between Herbst and Schwarz. Initially, Schwarz held the position, but on Lap 4, Herbst found his way through. The penultimate lap saw Herbst struggling with steering issues, going off track and letting Schwarz through to take the win on his comeback weekend. However, Herbst’s advantage in Race 1 aided him to take the overall victory in the class.
African Group Lubricants’ Marketing Manager, Nicole Jooste, is pleased with the show put on by the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars field. “While it was a pity not to see Lombard and Wilford make the race distance, it must be remembered that a fly-away round makes it difficult to have all parts and accessories available, mainly as all but one of our competitors are based in Gauteng. That said, both the GT and GT2 class battles produced some of the day’s best on-track action. Julian, Steve, Thomas and Bevan celebrated worthy wins against worthy rivals. African Group Lubricants also want to thank all the Eastern Cape motorsport fans who brought a fantastic atmosphere to the race day.”
Following a busy eight weeks, which featured three rounds, Round 5 of the 2023 Mobil 1 V8 Supercars championship will see the series return to Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit on 25-26 August as part of the annual Festival of Motoring event. This will also see the series becoming the only category to compete at prestigious for a second time in 2023.
Issued by Brandsponential on behalf of African Group Lubricants
Photography by: Motorsport Fanatix – Raymond Cornwell and Jason Hanslo
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