An unforeseen mechanical issue on the Hype Energy Drinks South Africa / Sparco / Team Red Racing Golf 8 GTI ended what was likely a promising debut for Brad Liebenberg at Round 2 of the Global Touring Cars (GTC) Championship on April 22-23.
After qualifying in an impressive fourth position at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday morning, Liebenberg led the Volkswagen charge against the Toyotas, three of which were ahead of him on the grid. A strong getaway from the rolling start soon saw the double GTC SupaCup champion up in the second position after driving the outside line of Turn 2. Liebenberg set after the leader, edging away from the third-placed runner before his charge was interrupted following a red flag stoppage.
Liebenberg repeated the feat at the restart before an unforeseen mechanical issue caused him to run off the circuit through the fast opening bend. The Johannesburg driver was fortunate to keep the car out of the barriers, avoiding an accident that could have caused substantial damage. After rejoining the track, Liebenberg soon became aware that the car had lost drive and opted to retire the car, hoping the team could repair it. They could not, and Liebenberg withdrew from the final race despite their best efforts.
“It’s disappointing for sure,” said Liebenberg. “After Cape Town’s drama and all the hard work the team put in to have the new car ready, we were excited for the official debut of the Hype Energy Drinks Golf 8 this weekend. I want to thank Hype Energy Drinks South Africa and SPARCO for their support in partnering with us this season as well as Universal Motorsport. We now look forward to the next race and we have sufficient time to repair, test and prepare the car for the next round.”
Round 3 of the GTC Championship will be hosted at Aldo Scribante Racetrack, Gqeberha, on May 27-28.