South Africa’s Bently boy Jordan Pepper won another Junior class podium before a brilliant charge in Germany’s ‘Green Hell’.
SOUTH Africa’s Bentley Boy Jordan Pepper continued his recent top German ADAC GT Masters form with another Junior class podium. This before a brilliant charge through the field to end 11th in the second race of Nürburgring’s fifth championship round last Sunday.
Pepper, who qualified the big yellow Deutsche Post Bentley Continental GT3 in fifth for the first heat before he and German team-mate Daniel Abt drove the car to fourth overall, was delighted with the second Junior class podium, following a second overall in Austria two weeks before.
“We lost a bit of track time on Friday, so fifth in qualifying in a car that is not all that well-suited to certain aspects of the Nurburgring is a huge result for us. This circuit has very little grip and that caused us to struggle to put the traction down,” said the young driver, who hails from Edenvale, Johannesburg.
“And fourth in the race with a Junior podium on Saturday? “I’ll take that — especially against the Porsches, which really were quick on the day. The car felt great in the race and I’m happy about that,” Pepper said.
On Sunday morning, Pepper said the whole grid was mixed up, with “all the other cars that were in the front on Saturday were also struggling”. He took over the car from team-mate Abt, who had qualified it in eighth, in 21st position at mid-distance and by the time the pitstops had panned out, he was up to 15th overall in Sunday’s second race.
Pepper then charged hard to put the yellow Bentley into 11th by the time the chequered flag flew, albeit a little frustrated not to haul another significant points score. “Overall I’d say the weekend was good for me,” he said.
“The second race could have been better, but now we go to Zandvoort even more motivated in two weeks’ time.”
The Dutch round is the penultimate in the 2016 ADAC GT Masters championship, with Pepper sitting eighth in the Junior title race in spite of a difficult first half of the season.
The forested track at Nürburgring lived up to its nickname “The Green Hell” for South Africa’s German Formula 4 rookie Jonathan Aberdein, who endured a tough weekend’s racing at the sixth round of the ADAC championship.
Although the Cape Town driver scored a top-10 finish in the middle of the three races of a hectic meeting, he admitted “it is a bit difficult to say something positive about the weekend that we had”. He lies seventh in the ADAC Formula 4 Junior championship with two races still to run.
Reason to smile: SA’s Jordan Pepper after Nürburgring.