After two did-not finishes, Dave Perel klapped it like only a bloke from Cape Town can last week.
DAVID Perel put the difficult start to his Blancpain GT Endurance Series career behind him with a brilliant showing in his two stints at the 1 000 km of Paul Ricard on the weekend, and even if fourth in class was scant reward for his performance, the Capetonian and his gentleman-driver team-mates American Stephen Earle and Belgian Bernard Delhez, were delighted to finally score championship points with fourth in the AM class.
Perel, however, delivered a headline performance as he drove to his second-class pole position on the trot at the circuit overlooking the French Riviera, before leading throughout his first beat and then recovering from sixth to hand the PereSoft Kessel Ferrari 458 over to his team-mate on a handy class lead after his second stint of the six-hour race.
His team-mates hit trouble after that, but they kept it together to see Delehez bring it home fourth in class at the midnight finish.
“It was a tough end to our weekend,” Perel said.
“We finished fourth in class after my team-mates had a difficult final two hours, but I am really proud of my stints. I was very happy with my weekend and delighted to put it on pole in class.”
Perel then had the privilege to start the race for the first time and enjoyed a competitive first stint, during which he set the fastest AM lap of the race by almost a second. “I started 13th and got into the top 20 — we were 19th when I handed the car over to Stephen,” David said.
“My pace was tiptop and we were in a handy class lead.”
The situation had, however, changed considerably by the time Perel took over the wheel again at the three-hour mark, with the Ferrari back in sixth, but David delivered a stunning hour’s work to climb back into the class lead as night fell. “I was holding thumbs that my team-mates could keep it together.”
The trio came close to the top-three dream, but an extra stop to attend to rear body damage during Earle’s fourth stint dropped the Ferrari down the order, although a steady run from there was enough for a fourth in class and 28th overall.
Perel said: “Now the focus is on our test at Spa in 10 days time before the big one. I’m really looking forward to my first Spa 24-hour at the end of the month.”
Dave Perel puts on his race face.