KZN fans take to Team Castrol MINI John Cooper Works
information supplied by: MINI Motorsport
19 June 2012
Bridgestone Production Cars Class T Championship
Round 5 Race Report
Durban, 16 and 17 June 2012
Issued on: 18 June 2012
KZN FANS TAKE TO TEAM CASTROL MINI JOHN COOPER WORKS
The exciting all-new Team Castrol MINI John Cooper Works race cars thrilled the KwaZulu-Natal motor racing fans in Durban at the weekend during the fifth round of the Bridgestone Production Car Championship.
In their KZN debut and only their second appearance on a South African race circuit, the two turbo-charged cars continued their development programme and showed that they are already a force to be reckoned with in class T.
Gavin Cronje, in car #52, started eighth in Saturday’s opening race after getting in only one timed lap in qualifying before the session was red-flagged following his crash into turn two. In race one he was lying sixth when the race was stopped after only six of the scheduled 10 laps of the 2,1-kilometre street course laid out between the Moses Mabhida Stadium and the Sun Coast Casino. Team-mate Lee Thompson crashed the #37 Team Castrol MINI John Cooper Works after contact with another car.
Thompson had qualified an impressive third, half a second off the pole position time of Jacques Joubert (VW Golf GTi), and was lying a strong fourth after six laps ahead of the Ford Focus of Shaun Duminy. The two cars made contact after Duminy attempted an ambituous pass on Thompson as he turned into the 90 degree right-hand turn one on lap seven. He crashed heavily into the concrete wall, severely damaging the Team Castrol MINI John Cooper Works. The incident brought out the red flag and the race was abandoned. Thompson’s car was too badly damaged to repair and the uninjured but unfortunate driver was forced to spectate for the remainder of the weekend. Duminy was later penalised for the racing incident.
Cronje qualified eighth for race two on Sunday after his session was compromised by a confrontation with the concrete wall exiting the chicane. His pit crew scrambled to make repairs before the start of the race, but a bent lower control arm affected the car’s race performance and Cronje wisely settled for a risk-free drive to a safe fifth place after 12 laps.
“It was not an easy weekend for the team,” admitted Team Castrol MINI John Cooper Works manager Donovan van Heerden. “There was always going to be the risk of damaging the cars against the concrete walls that line the street circuit. We’re obviously unhappy about what happened to Lee, which was very unfortunate. We have a badly damaged car that we will have to rebuild before the next race meeting and this will affect our development programme.
“On the positive side, both benefited from the Motec M1 direct injection management system which helped with a more linear power delivery, making the cars more drivable. At the same time, chassis set up work alleviated a lot of the wheel spin we experienced at Zwartkops and increased drive out of corners. To qualify third in only our second race shows that these cars have real potential for the rest of the season.”
The next round of the championship is at Phakisa Freeway in the Free State on August 4.
For more information on MINI Motorsport, please contact Mr. Edward Makwana, Manager: Automotive Communications at BMW Group South Africa Edward.Makwana@bmw.co.za or visit http://www.mini.co.za.
Follow MINI on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MINISouthAfrica or and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MINISouthAfrica.
Issued on behalf of MINI Motorsport by Peter Burroughes Communications, telephone 082 899 0101, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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