South African drivers endured a tough weekend overseas, with luck seemingly not on the side of five of the country’s finest motorsportsmen plying their trade in international competition.Former ADAC GT Masters champion Kelvin van der Linde and previous race winner Jordan Pepper were left with little to write home about in spite of an impressive dice up through the field in the second ADAC GT race at the Lausitzring Eurospeedway Sunday.
First Pepper’s teammate in the Bentley Continental, Andreas Weishaupt was taken out while in a solid position after Jordan handed the car over to him in 8th position and then van der Linde’s Audi co-driver Isaac Tutumlu tangled with another car while to retire from sixth position.
“We were running well — things were looking up, but some drivers in this series think its bumper cars and we were taken out,” Pepper explained. “It was frustrating weekend,” van der Linde admitted. “But for sure there were many promising moments.”
Also at the Lausitzring, Jonathan Aberdein was relieved to bounce back from a difficult qualifying and being taken out of the first race amidst a 12-car crash to take a couple of thirteenth positions in the second and third races. “We are getting better all the time,” Jonathan admitted. “I can’t wait for the rest of the season.”
But the most dramatic of the SA racers’ weekends had to be Stephen Simpson’s US IMSA PC race at Belle Isle, Detroit after his teammate Misha Goikhberg crashed the pair’s championship=leading JDC Miller Oreca Chevrolet in warm up, casing the team to completely rebuild the car into a borrowed chassis tub in two hours before the race start to allow the duo to score vital championship points and stay in the title hunt. “I’m sure come Road Atlanta at the end of this year, we’ll be thankful that we made the effort today.” Simpson concluded.
South Africa’s littlest overseas racer this weekend, 9-year Aqil Alibhai meanwhile took his first race win in the UK when he won the repocharge race to qualify to the final, where he ended 25th out of 35 on his first visit to a circuit all his rivals know backward. “It was so cool to win my first race in Britain,” Aqil admitted. “I am happy with my achievement and to be climbing the ladder and learning.”