Mobil 1 V8 Supercars

Mobil 1 V8 Supercars battle heads to the Free State

Nearly two months after the season opener, the second round of the 2021 Mobil 1 V8 Supercars championship is scheduled to take place at Phakisa Freeway just outside Welkom this coming weekend (May 14-15).

Mobil 1 V8 Supercars field at Phakisa Freeway
Mobil 1 V8 Supercars field at Phakisa Freeway
Image by Reynard Gelderblom

Reigning champion Mackie Adlem (#1 Adlem Auto Jaguar XKR)  got his pursuit for a fifth-successive series title started by taking the early points-lead in Cape Town. Having shown good pace throughout the opening round, he will be one of the top contenders for victory at Phakisa Freeway. He is expected to face fierce competition from the pair just behind him on the points table, Thomas Reib (#9 Mobil 1 / Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina) and Franco di Matteo (#3 Deltec Batteries Jaguar XKR). This is also the pair who shared the victories in the 2020 visit to the circuit. In fact, since the reboot of the series in the previous decade, Adlem is yet to take a victory at the venue. Only 25 points separate this trio at the top of the table with 100 points for Adlem, 84 points for Reib and Di Matteo on 75 points.

The season opener also showed that the battle for victory will by no means merely be a three-car race. David Coetzee (#53 ELKSA Competition / Adlem Auto Ford Falcon) occupies fourth place with 50 points and another consistent weekend could well see him break into the top three. Terry Wilford (#21 Fuchs Lubricants Ford Falcon) kept Adlem in his sights to the line in the first race at Killarney International Raceway where he finished as runner-up. He will be looking forward to being right up at the front at Phakisa Freeway to build on his tally of 43 points.

Series debutant Sam Dahl (#98 Ford Falcon) impressed in his first outing to return to Finland with 32 points to his name. While Phakisa Freeway will be yet another new circuit for him to master, he is thoroughly looking forward to the challenge ahead. Warren Lombard (#6 Pepboys Automotive Ford Falcon) will also be keen to build on his tally of 25 points. Andre de Lange (#33 Roofsure Jaguar XKR) had to rebuild his car following his blazing exit from Race 2 in Cape Town and will be eager to repeat the pace that he showed in 2020’s visit to the Free State circuit.

Eager to record respectively their first start and finish for 2021, will be Steve Herbst (#7 PPG Coatings / Prei Instrumentation / QI Systems Chevrolet Corvette) who experienced an engine failure in Practice and Julian Fameliaris (#28 Lube-Net Chevrolet Corvette) who was plagued with gearbox problems throughout the weekend. Phakisa Freeway will also see Johnny Eekhout (#24 Johnspeed Cobra Chevrolet Corvette) making his first appearance following his horrific accident in the 2020 season finale, while JP Nortje (#111 N4 Autocraft Chevrolet Corvette) will also be competing in his first race for the season. Although he missed the Phakisa Freeway visit in 2020, his last outing at the circuit in 2019 saw him take the reverse-grid race win. In addition, Carl Nel (#15 Gears For Africa Chevrolet Lumina) will also be returning to the series.

Friday will see four practice sessions ahead of Saturday morning’s qualifying session. Both Saturday races will be run over a 10-lap distance and are scheduled to start at 11:10 and 13:25. Under the current regulations imposed by the South African Government to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, no spectators will be allowed at the venue. Both races will however form part of the Extreme Festival live stream.

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