Manelisi Nkomo finished in a respectable 10th place on 25 March at the opening round of MSA’s National Karting Championship, following a competitive performance from the Capetonian at the Celso Scribante Raceway, Gqeberha.
Making his circuit debut at Celso Scribante Raceway after the Eastern Cape circuit was added to the 2023 national ROK Cup calendar, Nkomo pushed through several trying practice sessions on Friday as the team searched for the perfect setup at a circuit that is notorious for high tyre wear.
After completing 10 laps of Qualifying, Nkomo recorded the 10th quickest lap time in the Mini ROK class, which saw the top 15 competitors within one second of the pole-sitter’s time. Unlike other circuits, the start of the race and the finish line are on opposite sides of the circuit, which sees competitors make a long run down the back straight, only open for the start, before heading into a tight right-hand bend. With the inside line preferred into the opening bend, competitors fiercely jostle for position or risk losing several positions as a train of Mini ROK drivers passes. Nkomo would stay out of trouble during the initial opening laps before settling into the battle of the midpack runners. When the chequered flag dropped, the OTK kart driver crossed the finish line in tenth before penalties to competitors saw him gain a position.
Heat 2 would see Nkomo record his best result of the day finishing in eighth on the circuit before being promoted to seventh following post-race penalties. His final heat would see him make up three positions from a 12th-place start, where he again battled for position in the midfield. Unfortunately, this time Nkomo would be on the receiving end of a post-race nose-cone infringement penalty that would drop him down the order to 13th. He was classified 10th overall.
Round 2 of the national championship resumes on 26-27 May at the Formula-K Kart Circuit, Benoni, Gauteng.
Published by: Motorsport Fanatix – Raymond Cornwell
Picture Caption: Manelisi Nkomo
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