Mobil 1 V8 Supercars

Adlem, Reib share Zwartkops victories while Fuller makes an impressive debut

Mackie Adlem and Thomas Reib shared the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars Round 3 race victories at Zwartkops Raceway this past weekend (June 18-20) while Richard Fuller’s series debut saw him finishing the day on the podium.

The results on the Passion for Speed race weekend also leaves the championship evenly poised at the halfway mark of the season.

Thomas Reib leads
Thomas Reib qualified on pole
Image by Reynard Gelderblom

Qualifying took place on Friday afternoon and saw Thomas Reib (#9 Mobil 1 / Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina) take his first pole position for the 2021 season, while Julian Fameliaris (#20 Lube-Net Chevrolet Corvette) joined him on the front row. Points leader Franco di Matteo (#3 Deltec Batteries Jaguar XKR) set the third-fastest time. Mackie Adlem (#1 Adlem Auto Racing Jaguar XKR) lined up in fourth place, having spent the bulk of Friday afternoon replacing the gearbox on his car. Richard Fuller (#12 Reventon Auto Ford Mustang) announced his presence in the series by qualifying in fifth place ahead of Warren Lombard (#6 PepBoys Automotive Ford Falcon) who had to replace the differential on his car. Son-and-Father pair Terry (#21 Fuchs Lubricants Ford Falcon) and Larry Wilford (#77 Fuchs Lubricants Chevrolet Corvette) started from the fourth row. JP Nortje (#111 N4 Autocraft / AMTEC Chevrolet Corvette) qualified in ninth place after setting the fastest time in the day’s sole practice session while Carl Nel (#15 Gears For Africa Ford Mustang) completed the top 10 on his return to the series. Andre de Lange (#33 Roofsure / Creative Ink Media Jaguar XKR) and David Coetzee (Mobil 1 / ELKSA Competition Ford Falcon) shared the sixth row. Steve Herbst (#7 PPG Coatings / Prei Instrumentation / QI Systems Chevrolet Corvette) completed his first qualifying session of 2021 in 13th place ahead of Sam Dahl (#98 Arcprotech Ford Falcon) on his first visit to Zwartkops Raceway. The grid was rounded out by Johnny Eekhout (#24 Johnspeed Cobra Chevrolet Corvette).

What was building to be a close contest in the latter stages of Race 1, was neutralized after the safety car was deployed on the sixth lap. This was brought on by Fameliaris spinning into the tyre wall on the outside of Turn 1 following a tie-rod failure. The race was completed under the safety car.

Reib maintained the lead up to that point, fending off challenges from Di Matteo who in turn had Adlem persistently looking for a way past him. This saw Reib becoming the first driver in 2021 to take more than a single victory. Fameliaris found himself at the back of this battle before his retirement. Fuller held off Lombard for fourth place with Larry Wilford also in contention after passing Terry Wilford who went on to finish in seventh place. Nel and De Lange passed Nortje in the early stages. Coetzee finished in 11th place ahead of Herbst and Dahl who had a good tussle prior to the safety car being deployed. Eekhout suffered mechanical difficulties and retired after completing one lap.

Adlem claimed race two
Adlem claimed the second race win
Image by Reynard Gelderblom

But this did set up a superb reverse-grid second race as the sun started to set over Zwartkops Raceway. Time constraints saw the race reduced to 10 instead of 12 laps with Dahl starting from pole position. He lost the lead shortly afterwards to Herbst who held it momentarily before De Lange moved to the front of the field.  A good battle developed at the front with Fuller being the next to take lead before being passed by Adlem who went on to take his first victory of the season. Fuller went on to finish the race as runner-up. In doing so, he became the first driver since third place finisher Lombard to record a podium on his debut weekend. This was also Lombard’s first podium since his debut in the 2019 season finale, equaling his best result to date while holding off Di Matteo, Reib and Coetzee in the midfield battle. Terry Wilford held off Nel for seventh place while further back, Herbst and Dahl completed the field.

After his early lead, De Lange dropped to fourth place in the running order, but had to retire on Lap 4 with a deflated right front tyre. Eekhout also retired on Lap 6 after his car was smoking heavily in the opening laps. Larry Wilford and JP Norje found themselves in the midfield battle, but both were forced to retire on Lap 7 with mechanical issues. The Di Matteo Racing stable worked hard to get Fameliaris’ car repaired and ready in time to line up on the grid for Race 2. They, however, did not have an opportunity to conduct a test before the race. He brought the car back into the pits on the formation lap noting a problem with the right front wheel not turning. This was discovered to be due to a broken tie rod.

The second half of the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars season will start with Round 4 at Red Star Raceway on July 9-10.

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