SA’s Perel sur­vives ini­ti­a­tion by fire at Mugello

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

FOR­MER South African karter David Perel and his Ital­ian co­driver Mirko Za­nar­dini emerged bet­ter than they may have ex­pected af­ter a tough week­end’s rac­ing at Mugello’s fourth round Ital­ian GT Cup meet­ing.

The Pere­soft Obox Bonaldi Lam­borgh­ini Gallardo duo started Race 2 from pole po­si­tion and de­spite suf­fer­ing punc­tures and penal­ties, still emerged in strong cham­pi­onship con­tention with an eighth in Race 1 and what tran­spired to be fourth in Race 2 in what’s prov­ing a most com­pet­i­tive se­ries.

The week­end was an in­ter­est­ing tale for Cape Town’s Perel, who had never seen the pic­turesque Tus­can race­track prior to the week­end and it proved daunt­ing fol­low­ing Fri­day’s first prac­tice: “It’s been a frus­trat­ing day at the of­fice,” David re­ported af­ter his first taste. “Mugello is a tough track to master and 10 laps were not enough to learn all the de­tails, but I hope some sleep will help and to­mor­row we will be closer …”

Well that sleep cer­tainly must have made a dif­fer­ence.

Ital­ian GT Cup qual­i­fy­ing sees one driver qual­ify for the first heat and the other driver chas­ing the sec­ond race grid slot, with Za­nar­dini do­ing duty and putting the Lam­borgh­ini fifth on that first grid be­fore Perel came from nowhere to take pole po­si­tion for the sec­ond race

“Pole po­si­tion in Mugello! “I’m so, so happy!” David ad­mit­ted af­ter his fly­ing lap. “Yesterday was my most dif­fi­cult day of the cham­pi­onship so to get pole is in­cred­i­ble.

“It’s go­ing to be a tough week­end as the Porsches have a bit of an ad­van­tage over us here, but our tar­get is to end race one fourth so we can get rid our time hand­i­cap and then we can go for the win on Sun­day … ”

Satur­day’s race proved tougher than ex­pected how­ever, as Perel ex­plains: “That was a dif­fi­cult one! I came out eighth when I took the car over from Mirko at the pit­stop and fought my way up to fourth. But I had con­tact when at­tempt­ing to take third. The re­sult was a punc­ture so I had to pit and we dropped down the or­der to eighth. This one was my fault. I should have waited for the next cor­ner, I had much more pace. Any­way to­mor­row is another day, we have great pace so best I use it in race two — to­mor­row I make right.”

Perel did all he could to make good, set­ting the fastest lap of the race be­fore hand­ing his Gallardo GT3 over to team-mate Za­nar­dini in the lead at half dis­tance. But Mirko suf­fered a punc­ture and then a pit­lane speed­ing penalty as he stopped to swap the wheel, which led to a drive though penalty and plum­meted the Pere­soft Obox Bonaldi Lambo down the or­der.

Perel and Za­nar­dini were how­ever not alone in suf­fer­ing penal­ties and the Lam­borgh­ini ended up fourth in Race 2 and just 10 points off the cham­pi­onship lead af­ter a fraught roller­coaster week­end of rac­ing

“Phew — fourth in Race 2 is not as bad as it ini­tially seemed!” a re­lieved Perel con­cluded. “There is now a four­week break till the next race where we hope to make amends — so it’s on­wards to Val­lelunga — we can’t wait!”

— Supplied.

PHOTO: PERE­SOFT OBOX

A pole po­si­tion, punc­tures and penal­ties make the Ital­ian GT Cup de­but of South Africa’s David Perel (above right) a week­end to re­mem­ber.

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