The 25 min­utes that counted ...

GT CHAL­LENGE: 9-HOUR RACE DE­CIDED RIGHT AT END

The Citizen (KZN) - - Motorsport - Cir­cuit Rac­ing Cor­re­spon­dent

Porsche claws to race vic­tory, with Olsen crowned over­all Driv­ers’ cham­pion.

In the end, this year’s In­tercon­ti­nen­tal GT Chal­lenge se­ries was set­tled in the fi­nal 25 min­utes of Satur­day’s Kyalami 9-Hour race – on a soak­ing wet cir­cuit. Dur­ing that time pe­riod, Porsche man­aged to claw to the race vic­tory and another podium place, clinch­ing the 2019 Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ ti­tle, while their driver, Den­nis Olsen, was crowned as the over­all Driv­ers’ cham­pion.

His­tory will re­call that the works Frikadelli team’s pole-win­ning Porsche 911 GT3 R shared by Olsen, Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet en­joy­ing a per­fect day that in­cluded the event’s quick­est lap and vic­tory.

They were fol­lowed over the fin­ish line by Chris­tian Krognes, Mikkel Jensen/Nicky Cats­burg (Walken­horst BMW M6 GT3), Richard Li­etz, Kevin Estre/ Michael Chris­tensen (GPX Porsche 911 GT3), Christo­pher Haase/ Markus Winkel­hock/Christo­pher Mies (Audi Sport R8 GT3), Yeimer Bu­ur­man/ Max­i­m­il­ian Gotz/ Luca Stolz (Mercedes-AMG GT3) and Alexan­dre Im­per­a­tori/Ed­uardo Liberati/Oliver Jarvis (KCMG Nis­san GTR GT3).

The first South African driver was Shel­don van der Linde, in sev­enth place with the Sch­nitzer BMW M6 he shared with Au­gusto Far­fus and Martin Tom­czyk.

Round­ing out the top 10 places were Lau­rens Vanthoor/ Earl Bam­ber/ Matt Camp­bell (Dy­namic Porsche 911 GT3), Ro­main Du­mas/ Sven Muller/Dirk Werner (KUS Porsche 911 GT3) and Ricky Col­lard/Hugo de Sadeleer/Marvin Kirch­hoe­fer (As­ton Martin Van­tage GT3).

The Mercedes-AMG on­slaught on both the Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ and Driv­ers’ ti­tle chases were struck heavy blows when their lead­ing car, the Gruppe M ex­am­ple of Maxi Buhk/ Rafaele Marchello/ Margo En­gel stopped with elec­tronic mal­adies just two cor­ners after the start. Then the Strakka MercedesAM­G of Gary Paf­fett/Tris­tan Vau­tier/Lewis Wil­liamson ran out of brakes and was crashed at the bot­tom of the Mi­ne­shaft. Other no­table re­tire­ments were those of Marco Bo­nanomi/ Ber­trand Baguette/Dan Cameron, whose Mo­tul Honda NSX GT3 blew an en­gine after three hours, and the works Bent­ley Con­ti­nen­tal GT3 of Steven Kane/Andy Soucek/Ro­drigo Bap­tista, which had a rear tyre ex­plode at high speed, with mas­sive re­sul­tant body­work dam­age.

A huge Highveld storm in­ter­rupted pro­ceed­ings with two hours left to run, and the field went around be­hind the Pace Car un­til just 25 min­utes from the end, when the race di­rec­tor de­cided it was safe enough to re­sume full speed com­pe­ti­tion.

That was when the Porsche team made its fi­nal bid, to pull off the race win, plus the year’s Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ and Driv­ers’ ti­tles.

South Africans Kelvin van der Linde (Audi Sport R8 GT3) and Jor­dan Pep­per (Bent­ley Con­ti­nen­tal GT3) were placed 11th and 12th re­spec­tively.

Placed 17th and win­ning the Am­a­teur class over­all were lo­cal lads Gen­naro Bon­afede and 010-492-5281

A rear tyre ex­ploded at high speed

Edited by André de Kock

an­dré[email protected]­i­zen.co.za

Michael van Rooyen, with Henry Walken­horst in a BMW M6 GT3, while Kishoor Pi­ta­m­ber/Lee Thomp­son and Michael Stephen took their Pablo Clark Fer­rari 458 Italia to the Na­tional class win.

The Stradale Lam­borgh­ini Hu­ra­can GT3 of Charl Aran­g­ies, Craig Jarvis and Dawie Jou­bert was run­ning steadily when Jou­bert lost it at the bot­tom of the Mi­ne­shaft after two hours and crashed heav­ily.

He was not in­jured, but the car was re­duced to a wreck.

Fi­nally, the Per­fect Cir­cle Porsche 997 GT3 of André Bezuiden­hout, Franco Scrib­ante and Sil­vio Scrib­ante proved trou­ble­some all week­end, fi­nally re­tir­ing with a bro­ken gear­box three hours in.

An es­ti­mated 11 000 peo­ple at­tended the event, and the vis­it­ing teams ex­pressed their de­light with Kyalami, the flaw­less or­gan­i­sa­tion, plus SA hos­pi­tal­ity.

Dave Led­bit­ter. Pic­tures:

WIN­NERS, THRICE. The works Porsche 911 GT3 R of Den­nis Olsen, Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet won the race, ce­ment­ing the Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ and Driv­ers’ ti­tles in the process.

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