Two class wins and a 1-2 finish for the team in race one in the most recent Durban street races on June 15 have nicely set up Castrol MINI John Cooper Works twins Gavin Cronje and Lee Thompson for the resumption of hostilities after a long, seven-week break in the Bridgestone South African Production Car Championship.
Round six of nine takes place at Phakisa Freeway near Welkom in the Free State on Saturday with Cronje (139 points) leading the class T championship from defending champion Graeme Nathan by a handy 23 points. Five wins, including four in succession in the last two rounds, have increased his confidence.
“There’s no doubt we have a fast and race-winning car after much hard work and development by the team,” said Cronje. “Unfortunately, the series rules see some enforced changes to our cars that will make it more difficult for us to win, but last time we were at Phakisa a year ago Lee and I enjoyed two second places (Lee) and our maiden victory (Cronje) with the MINI John Cooper Works when it was a lot less sorted than it is now.
“We have a championship to win and we’ll be looking to build on our current lead on Saturday.”
Thompson is fifth with 63 points and keen to make up for what has been a disappointing season so far by his high standards. “We’ve had a few setbacks so far this year, but my first win of the season at Zwartkops in May brought my confidence back. A second and a third since then have been offset by two non-finishes, which have hurt my championship aspirations. This weekend I have a chance to make amends at a circuit I enjoy racing on.”
In addition to principal sponsor Castrol, the team enjoys backing from MINI John Cooper Works, Endless Brake Pads, EPS Courier Services, Akrapovic Exhaust Systems, Powerbrake and Monster Energy..