It was not the end of the Global Touring Cars (GTC) SupaCup season that Jean Pierre van der Walt had hoped for, yet, he still delivered a spirited performance on 15 October at Zwartkops Raceway.
Friday left him confident in his setup after practice, despite the times not being a true reflection of his pace. Van der Walt was one of the few competitors who opted not to run new tyres in the second practice session. In a closely-contested qualifying session on Saturday morning that saw the top 12 covered by less than a second, he ensured the Platinum Wheels Polo SupaCup lined up in the top 10 of the grid.
Race 1 soon saw the safety car deployed following an opening lap incident in the GTC group. There was a bit of confusion relating to the restart, with Van der Walt being one of the drivers caught off guard. Not long after the restart, his car developed an oil pressure issue, but he made up positions to finish in eighth.
In Race 2, he was pushed off the circuit in Turn 2 and lost ground to the rest of the field while recovering. It did not take him long to make up five places, but he lost power with the engine and transmission overheating. He is not someone to give up and brought the car home in 13th place.
“A tough one, but a day with its fair share of highlights,” said Van der Walt. “Qualifying was undoubtedly a close contest; a tenth of a second this way or that way, and it could’ve been a different story. In Race 1, I was surprised by the restart as there was still a stranded car that I thought would also be receovered. Fortunately, we didn’t lose out too much, and I could still make up places. We were looking forward to Race 2, but we were pointing the wrong way a few seconds into it. After catching up to the field, I got a few places back on the next lap, but I started to lose power due to the car overheating.”
Van der Walt is one of the first drivers to announce his 2023 plans. “I said it earlier this year already, GTC SupaCup is something where I can see myself racing for quite some time. It was a baptism of fire in our debut season, but we’ll be back next year. We learned a lot; now it’s time to put it into practice. Thank you to everyone who made this season possible. I look forward to a return next year.”
Issued by Motorsport Fanatix on behaf of Platinum Wheels