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Just one week after Round 4 of the Porsche Mobil Cup held at the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, Keagan Masters participated in the fifth round at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium over the weekend of 28 to 30 July 2023.

By his own admission, Masters started the practice sessions on the backfoot. “The first run on the first set of tyres wasn’t too bad, but we changed tyres for the second run, and I was unable to get a lap in because of the congestion caused by the backmarkers. I subsequently locked up in one of the corners and unfortunately received warnings for exceeding the track limits. This forced me to drive more cautiously, costing me valuable time.”

Masters entered the qualifying rounds with a new set of tyres and was sitting in P12, but when he left and re-entered the track after his second set of tyres, there was only a small window available to him of one or two flying laps. He prepped the new set with a warmup, but in the first push lap he locked up and in the second made a mistake on L’Eau Rouge where he lost the rear of the vehicle, costing him 0.5 seconds. “I pushed hard to make up the time, but this incurred further mistakes. My car was performing well, so I must accept that the mistakes were all down to driver error.”

“Arrogance in a driver is a liability, so we instill in our drivers a sense of humbleness. This is a trait that is very evident in Keagan, who openly admits when he has made errors. The difference in those drivers who are set to reach the upper echelons of motorsport excellence is that they can recognise their shortcomings, work with them, and modify their performance to overcome them,” says Mpho Elijah Gumbi, who heads up ICAN Management, the South African management company mentoring and supporting Masters overseas.

Masters achieved a P18 in the qualifying rounds, but due to the stringent track rules received a three-position limit on the grid, placing him in P21 at the start of the race on Sunday. “This is not ideal as I had to try and fight my way through the pack. At the start of the race, I attempted to pass another driver on the inside, but he closed the door and pushed me into the wall. This resulted in damage to my car, including a bent steering wheel. Unfortunately, the damage handicapped me, and I was unable to get beyond P21.”

Master is philosophical about the results and will use his next three weeks back home in South Africa as a time for reconsolidating his strategy, getting back into a regular gym training routine, and spending large amounts of time on the simulator he uses to hone his performance.

“These minor setbacks are part of the learning curve that each driver experiences on his motorsport journey, and we have full confidence that Keagan will return to Rounds 6 and 7 at the Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort from 25 to 27 August, and the final round at Grand Premio D’Italia in Monza from 1 to 3 September, further positively enabled to demonstrate his prowess,” says Gumbi.

Published by: Allyson Koekhoven

Picture Caption: A steep learning curve for South Africa’s Masters
Photography by: Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup

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