Following their impressive showing in the opening round at Zwartkops Raceway on March 1, the Castrol MINI John Cooper Works duo of Lee Thompson and new team-mate Ryan Rhode are confident ahead of Saturday’s round two at Killarney in Cape Town.
Thompson, who qualified third and was third in the opening 10-lap sprint race, was all set for his and MINI’s first win of the season in the double-points 17-lap feature race when a brake hose clamp came off the ABS pump and he eventually dropped back to fifth at the finish. His combined race times saw him claim a respectable third place overall in class T for the day.
Rhode, at just 19 and one of the most promising young production car drivers, impressed in his debut Bridgestone Production Car outing with a fast and gutsy drive from a poor grid position in race one to challenge his experienced team-mate for third place before a front wheel came off after the studs broke with two laps to go.
The talented youngster did well to stay out of trouble in the feature race – his first in the wet – to finish sixth behind his ailing team-mate. He was fifth overall for the day.
“We came to Zwartkops for the opening round with hardly any preparation at all after finishing the rebuild of the two cars on the morning of the races,” said Thompson. “Both cars showed great promise, but we had our problems. This time we are very well prepared and go to Cape Town after extensive testing during which we had no troubles at all.”
“Both drivers are very happy with their cars and we’re confident we’ll be able to push hard for race wins on Saturday,” said team principal Donovan van Heerden. “In fact, I’m really excited about this weekend. “Lee won two of the three races last time we were at Killarney, in October last year, and if we’ve got our sums right there will be more of the same.
“We all know how good Lee is, but watch out for Ryan. He has a lot of talent and was not overawed by the top company he found himself in on debut at Zwartkops.”
In addition to principal sponsor Castrol, the team enjoys support from MINI John Cooper Works, EPS Courier Services, Powerbrake and Sony Playstation. In addition, ADF has secured a deal with one of the world‘s leading sponsorship and brand engagement agencies, Octagon.