Hard work on Friday evening paid off for Jean-Pierre van der Walt. He recorded two points-paying finishes this past weekend (March 4-5) in the Global Touring Cars (GTC) SupaCup season opener at Killarney International Raceway.
Van der Walt, piloting his newly-purchased Platinum Wheels Polo SupaCup, had an excellent start to Friday’s practice sessions, setting the fourth-fastest time in the morning. Switching to new tyres in the second session, he battled with mechanical issues with a CV joint breaking later in the day. The team could conduct repairs, but the lack of new tyre practice hampered Van der Walt’s opportunities to perfect his setup. Nevertheless, Saturday morning saw him setting the seventh-fastest time in the qualifying session.
Both of Saturday’s races were stop/start affairs, with incidents necessitating red flag deployments in the early stages. Van der Walt held onto his seventh place. The reverse-grid rule for Race 2 did not alter his starting position, and he held onto the position. In Race 1, he found himself at the tail of the battle for fourth place, while the Race 2 battle saw only four seconds covering the seven leading drivers.
“While it is a good achievement to take home two points-paying finishes, we will definitely be pushing to find ourselves further up the field,” said Van der Walt. “We lost practice time on the new tyres and with the breakage, we also did not have too much to work with from Practice 3. Fortunately, the Universal Motorsport team had the car ready on Saturday morning. We were a second down on the Dunlop Pole Position time in with everything being equal in that session, we realised that we had to dig a little bit deeper to find some extra pace. In both races, our pace was pretty good. We are sure that we will be able to improve our setup more heading into the next round. I was also one of two drivers in the top seven to record an improved best lap in Race 2, the other one being Jason (Campos) with clear air in front of him. So the changes we made during Saturday definitely also paid off.”
The second round of the GTC SupaCup will take place at Zwartkops Raceway on April 22-23.
Issued by Motorsport Fanatix on behalf of Platinum Wheels