Jean Pierre van der Walt overcame a disappointing opening race result to finish seventh in Race 2 and claim sixth overall as the opening round of the Global Touring Cars (GTC) SupaCup took place at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit this past weekend.
Despite competing in other categories/competitions at the Johannesburg circuit, the Platinum Wheels driver did so for the first time in a VW Supa Polo on Thursday, 23 February. While making the best of the opening practice session on Thursday, Van der Walt could not improve his setup in the second session after it was red-flagged and not restarted. That left the Johannesburg driver having to set a qualifying time with little time in the car.
Unfortunately, van der Walt’s misfortune would continue with a rear-wheel issue that would see him qualify on the last row of the grid. Hopeful of improving his position in Race 1 late on Friday, Van der Walt again ran into issues that would see him finish at the back of the field. Saturday morning would be the final race of the weekend. Van der Walt would finish in seventh after bouncing back from an opening lap spin in Turn 4. Seconds after his incident, two other competitors touched that saw cars stranded and needing recovery. With the safety car on track, Van der Walt could continue, albeit from the rear of the field again.
“A frustrating weekend will sum up how I feel,” said Van der Walt after Race 2. “Nothing seemed to go our way. Just when we thought we were on top of an issue, the next one arrived. I hoped things would turn around today, and for a moment, it seemed so, but before I knew it, I was facing the wrong direction in Turn 4. I managed to get the car fired up again after some time and join the back of the SupaCup field. With so many retirements, I’m not even sure where I finished. We will have a few weeks to gather ourselves and focus on the next round in Cape Town.”
Round 2 of the GTC SupaCup heads to the Killarney International Raceway on 17-18 March.
Published by: Motorsport Fanatix – Raymond Cornwell
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