BOX 5, Westhoven, 2142
The first round of the new GR Cup saw six of South Africa’s foremost motoring writers slug it out at the Killarney International Raceway during the first weekend of March, 2022. In the end, it was Ashley Oldfield who recorded not only the pole position during qualifying, but also wins in both race heats.
The GR Cup features the exciting new GR Yaris, which is raced in stock form, except for racing tyres and a roll cage. The rear seats of the six race cars have also been removed, and racing harnesses have been installed. Additionally, each car is equipped with a Garmin Catalyst unit, which is designed to aid new and experienced racing drivers in order to improve their lap times.
The race weekend started with multiple practice sessions, before the qualifying session on Saturday morning. With Oldfield going fastest, it was veteran racing driver, Deon Joubert, who posted the second-fastest time in qualifying. Joubert, who was racing as a stand-in for Sean Nurse, trailed Oldfield by 0.151sec. Thomas Falkiner went third-fastest, 0.830sec behind Joubert; while Mark Jones posted the fourth-fastest time, 1.614sec adrift of the lead. Fifth place in qualifying went to Jeanette Kok-Kritzinger, who was 0.495sec behind Jones; while Lerato Matebese, driving in his first race, trailed Kok-Kritzinger by 1.282sec.
With the field set, it was time for the first of two races. The format for the GR Cup uses a rolling start, and when the lights turned green, Oldfield set about the eight-lap race with clear determination. The rest of the field had no choice but to try to chase down the leader.
While Oldfield’s former racing experience clearly stood him in good stead, there were some expectations that Joubert could spoil Oldfield’s party. In the end, however, the field finished in the same order as it had started, with Oldfield pipping Joubert to the post by 3.099sec. Falkiner was in third, with Jones in fourth and Kok-Kritzinger in fifth. Matebese brought up the rear, though his lap times had improved steadily during the course of the weekend.
The second race was a perfect replica of the first, with Oldfield again setting the pace up front. Joubert had Falkiner behind him, keeping the veteran honest, while Jones latched onto the back of the front pack, setting competitive lap times throughout the eight-lap bout. Kok-Kritzinger and Matebese both also showed consistent improvement, and are sure to play a bigger role in the outcome of the race, come Round 2 at Zwartkops in Pretoria next month.
GR Cup Qualifying Results:
GR Cup Race 1 Results:
GR Cup Race 2 Results:
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