South African drivers impress despite difficult overseas weekends
Several South African drivers flew the flag in fine style in races across the world over the weekend, although lady luck seemed to be elsewhere for most in a tough few days’ racing. Jordan Pepper and Kelvin van der Linde were both mighty in ADAC German Masters at the Sachsenring, while young Jonathan Aberdein shone in the Formula 3 race there, Stephen Simpson fought hard in the Californian IMSA PC race and British Formula 3 rookie Eugene Denyssen found himself on a steep learning curve.
But it was perhaps Jonathan Aberdein who made the biggest impression with a pole position and eighth and a tenth places in his best step forward in his rookie German Formula 4 season. Aberdein ended tenth in the first race to snatch pole in the reverse grid final, but he was tagged by the second-placed car while leading and dropped down the field to end 8th. “That bump from behind was a bit nasty,” Aberdein explained. “But I’m improving every time I get into the car.”
Kelvin van der Linde and Jordan Pepper both drove well beyond what their results suggest in the ADAC GT Masters — both were compromised by an errant Safety Car in the first heat but the second race saw van der Linde up to fourth in his Audi and Pepper sixth for Bentley before each handed their cars to their co-drivers, only for the Audi to suffer a pit lane penalty and the Bentley to crash out.
Stephen Simpson meanwhile found himself immersed n a Laguna Seca dogfight that saw the tail of his Oreca Chevy ripped off in the closing stages of his race to fifth as he clawed onto his IMSA PC championship lead. Eugene Deneyssen had a difficult British Formula 3 weekend at Rockingham with a pair of tough races before crashing out of the final, while compatriot Sisa Ngebulana also endured a trying meeting.
Elsewhere, SA bike hero Cam Petersen flew the flag in style with his first MotoAmerica Supersport race for Suzuki in the second heat of the New Jersey US meeting.