Mobil 1 V8 Supercars

Adlem and Fameliaris share the wins at Kyalami 9-Hour season opener

Mobil 1 V8 Supercars at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit
  • Reigning champion Mackie Adlem and 2022 runner-up Julian Fameliaris shared the wins at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit.
  • Thomas Reib set the pace throughout the timed sessions.
  • The international event was a positive marketing exercise for African Group Lubricants and Mobil 1.

The 2023 Mobil 1 V8 Supercars season kicked off at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit on 23-25 February, when the first round of the championship formed part of the supporting events for the Kyalami 9-Hour. Defending six-time champion Mackie Adlem (Adlem Automotive Jaguar XKR) drew first blood, taking a well-controlled win in the first race on Friday afternoon, but it was the young contender, Julian Fameliaris (Lube-Net Chevrolet Corvette), who ran away with the second race on Saturday morning.

After Thursday’s free practice sessions, Thomas Reib (Mobil 1 / Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina) topped the combined timesheets from Adlem with Fameliaris in third, which gave some idea of how things would go in Friday morning’s qualifying session. Reib set the quickest time, just under half a second quicker than Fameliaris, with Adlem in third ahead of Franco di Matteo (Deltec Batteries Jaguar XKR). Richard Fuller put his Idemitsui Ford Falcon into fifth place, but a mechanical failure near the end of the session meant he would take no further part in the weekend’s on-track activities. Warren Lombard (Bumper To Bumper / PepBoys Automotive Ford Falcon) and Terry Wilford (Fuchs Lubricants / Schick Ford Mustang) were next up, ahead of Steve Herbst (PPG Coatings / Prei Instrumentation / QI Systems Chevrolet Corvette). Swedish visitor Sten Jarl (Ford Falcon) and Auke Compaan (Hurricane Automotive Ford Mustang) rounded out the top ten. Mechanical maladies prevented Finn Sam Dahl (ArcProTech Ford Falcon) from setting a time.

Dahl’s woes continued at the beginning of the opening race on Friday afternoon. He lost fuel pressure on his way to the grid and ground to a halt at the exit of Sunset corner. Luckily he got his car going again and caught up with the back of the pack just before the lights went out. The group charged down to Crowthorne, and when Reib left a small gap on the inside, Adlem filled it with his Jaguar. Reib ran slightly wide, and Adlem had the lead. Reib forced his way back onto the track ahead of Fameliaris to retain second, with Lombard in fourth, closely followed by Di Matteo and Wilford. There was a small gap back to Herbst, who had Compaan closely followed by a recovering Dahl right behind him. Jarl rounded out the field. The top five soon opened a gap on the rest of the competitors, with Adlem able to control things from the front. The beginning of a steering problem on Di Matteo’s Jaguar saw him drop back, leaving four at the head of the field until Lombard’s brakes started to fade. He settled for a safe fourth rather than taking a chance and crashing his Falcon. Aldem kept the gap to Reib and took a comfortable win with Fameliaris in third. Lombard nursed his car to fourth ahead of Wilford and Dahl, with Jarl in seventh. Di Matteo was classified in eighth ahead of Herbst.

There was early drama in Race 2 when contact between Reib and Aldem left the former pointing the wrong way in the second corner. By the time he got going again, he was a long way from the back of the field, but, at the front, Fameliaris had got the better of pole man Di Matteo with Lombard and Wilford just behind in third and fourth. Adlem, despite the contact with Reib, was in fifth, albeit slightly adrift of the leading quartet. Dahl was next up, ahead of Herbst and Jahl, with Reib at the back playing catch-up. Halfway through the second lap, Fameliaris and di Matteo had started to pull away from the next three, but that three became two when Adlem ran slightly wide on the exit of Sunset and spun down the road, dropping back behind Reib. The pair then mounted a charge back towards the head of the field. However, Fameliaris had things entirely under control at the front, slowly opening a gap over Di Matteo, eventually crossing the line 17 seconds ahead of the Jaguar. That gap was extended on the final lap when Di Matteo lost his power steering on the way up the hill to Leeukop and had to wrestle the car to the finish line. Reib and Adlem were charging their way through the field and crossed the line in third and fourth, separated by a couple of car lengths and just five seconds behind di Matteo. Unfortunately for Adlem, he was deemed at fault in the first-lap incident and was given a 20-second penalty, which dropped him to fifth behind Wilford. Lombard, who fell down the field after his Falcon developed mechanical problems, nursed his ailing car home in sixth ahead of Dahl, Herbst and Jarl.

Nicole Jooste, African Group Lubricants Marketing Manager, lists the series’s entertaining races as the support programme’s highlight. “The Mobil 1 V8 Supercars lived up to every expectation in delivering a lively and loud appetiser for the Kyalami 9-Hour. With this being the most prominent international motorsport event in South Africa, African Group Lubricants is proud to have the Mobil 1 brand associated with the premier series on the global stage. Well done to all the drivers for all your work that went into this past weekend.”

The Mobil 1 V8 Supercars competitors next make their way to Red Star Raceway on 21-22 April for the second round of their 2023 championship.

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