Mobil 1 V8 Supercars

Lombard takes the overall Mobil 1 V8 Supercars win at the season finale

Consistent performances across all three heats that made up the final round of the 2022 Mobil 1 V8 Supercars championship, held at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 12 November, gave Warren Lombard (#6 PepBoys Automotive Ford Falcon) overall victory for the day ahead of Thomas Reib (#9 Mobil 1 / Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina) and Julian Fameliaris (#20 Lube-Net Chevrolet Corvette).

Mobil 1 V8 Supercars at Zwartkops
The Mobil 1 V8 Supercars pack heads for the first corner at Zwartkops
Image by Reynard Gelderblom

Mixed conditions, dry spells with some rain showers, made things difficult for the drivers during Friday’s practice sessions, and the times set did not indicate what would happen in qualifying later in the day. That qualifying session started with a completely wet circuit that got slightly drier during the session. Terry Wilford (#21 Fuchs Lubricants Ford Mustang) made the best of those conditions, taking his first pole position since the fourth round last year. He was over a second quicker than Fameliaris, with Reib and Lombard just behind in third and fourth. Franco di Matteo (#3 Laude Jaguar XKR) had to settle for fifth ahead of Mackie Adlem, who was driving the ELKSA Competition / Adlem Auto Ford Falcon, usually piloted by David Coetzee. Adlem’s championship-winning Adlem Auto Racing Jaguar XKR, with debutant Rudi Barnard at the wheel, headed the fourth row of the grid with Larry Wilford (#77 Fuchs Lubricants / Aurora Bearings Chevrolet Corvette) alongside him. JP Nortje (#79 N4 Autocraft Chevrolet Corvette) had to settle for ninth ahead of Auke Compaan (#66 Hurricane Automotive Ford Mustang) and Steve Herbst (#7 PPG Coatings / Prei Instrumentation / QI Systems Chevrolet Corvette). Antonie Marx could not set a time in his #10 Reman Africa Chevrolet Corvette and would line up at the back of the grid.

The first of Saturday’s three races was run in largely dry conditions, although there were still a few damp patches on the circuit left over from the rain earlier in the morning. Fameliaris immediately got the better of Wilford to take the lead, with Reib sliding up the inside of Wilford partway around the opening lap to demote the pole-sitter to third. Di Matteo got himself up to fourth so that the four contenders for second place in the championship occupied the first four places on the track. The leading quartet opened up a gap over the rest of the field, with Lombard in a slightly lonely fifth place ahead of Adlem, who had Barnard less than a car length behind. Shortly after Barnard found a way past Adlem, contact between Reib and Fameliaris, dropped the Corvette down to the back of the pack. Reib and Wilford then put on a spectacular battle for the lead, spending most of the race separated by no more than a couple of car lengths. Reib managed to hold off Wilford to take the win by less than fourth-tenths of a second. Di Matteo just got the better of Lombard and Barnard in the three-way fight for the final podium position, with Adlem in sixth. Fameliaris recovered to seventh ahead of Marx, Larry Wilford and Compaan. Nortje finished just outside the top ten, with Herbst claiming the final points-paying place.

Terry Wilford again led the field away at the start of the second heat, this time in the rain, followed by Lombard, Fameliaris, and Di Matteo. The latter suffered mechanical problems early on and pulled into the pits, damaging his efforts to secure second in the championship. With the advantage of a clear track in front of him, Wilford disappeared, leaving the rest of the field in his spray and was never challenged on his way to victory. Lombard held off Fameliaris to take second, with Adlem not far behind in fourth. Reib had to settle for fifth ahead of Nortje and Barnard. Larry Wilford was close behind Barnard in eighth, with Compaan, Marx and Herbst rounding out the classified finishers.

Warren Lombard leads Julian Fameliaris
Warren Lombard leads Julian Fameliaris
Image by Reynard Gelderblom

Going into the final heat, it was still a four-way fight for second in the championship, although the real battle was between Fameliaris and Wilford, with the former just a couple of points to the good. Lombard led the field away on a dry track with all of the contenders for second place in the championship behind him, Fameliaris leading the way from Wilford, Reib and di Matteo. The top five held their positions in the early stages, with Barnard and Adlem the best of the rest until mechanical problems sidelined Adlem just before the end of the third lap. Just half a lap later, the left front rim on Wilford’s Mustang disintegrated, leaving him stranded on the side of the circuit. Fameliaris then took the lead from Lombard and then controlled things from the front to take the win. Lombard was quick enough to keep Di Matteo at bay and claim second, with Reib in fourth. Barnard rounded off his first race weekend in a Mobil 1 V8 Supercar with another fifth position. Nortje led a quartet of Corvettes over the line with Marx and Larry Wilford behind him in seventh and eighth and Herbst in ninth.

Wilford’s misfortune in the final heat meant that Fameliaris took second in the championship behind six-time title holder Adlem. Di Matteo pipped Wilford to third, with Reib not far behind in fifth. Lombard ended the season in sixth.

Nicole Jooste, Marketing Manager for African Group Lubricants, lists the season finale as one of the highlights of the 2022 championship. “The Mobil 1 V8 Supercars delivered three showstopping races. All the drivers gave it their all, despite the difficult conditions, a true indication of why the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars is South Africa’s premier circuit racing category. African Group Lubricants congratulates all the drivers on their achievements, most notably their collective achievement of being such an outstanding group of brand ambassadors for Mobil 1. We look forward to an even bigger and better 2023 championship.”

The Mobil 1 V8 Supercars drivers start their 2023 championship at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit on the final weekend of February, when they will be one of the categories forming part of the action supporting the Kyalami 9-Hour. The full 2023 calendar will be published soon.

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