Bridgestone Production Cars Class T Championship
Round 5 Preview
Durban Street Races, KwaZulu-Natal, 15 and 16 June 2013
Issued on: 10 June 2013
DURBAN STREETS AWAIT CASTROL MINI JOHN COOPER WORKS TEAM
Five weeks ago, at Zwartkops Raceway in Gauteng, the Castrol MINI John Cooper Works team of Gavin Cronje and Lee Thompson enjoyed a major success, winning all three Bridgestone South African Production Car Championship class T races and setting a new lap record.
They will be hoping for more of the same when hostilities resume in round five on the streets of Durban on June 15 and 16. Cronje, with three wins and three second places in the 12 races run so far this season, leads the championship with 108 points, three ahead of nearest challenger Graeme Nathan.
“My aim this weekend will be to score as many points as I can in the two races and defend my championship lead,“ said the Pretorian. “Street circuits are risky and we’ll have to take this into consideration. I can’t see myself taking any chances and spoiling my hopes of winning the championship.“
Thompson is currently sixth in the championship, 54 points behind his team-mate, and has something of a mountain to climb in the five rounds of the championship that remain. A win in the opening race at Zwartkops was a big confidence booster after two low-scoring rounds at Kyalami and Killarney in February and March.
“I’ve been battling to get the best out of both myself and my car, but after the win at Zwartkops in round four and excellent results from testing in between rounds, I’m confident we’re back to full strength,” he said. “We’ve made some valuable progress towards optimising the MINI’s suspension, which, with a new set-up for the street circuit, should make the car very competitive.
“We can’t afford to make any mistakes as the concrete walls are very unforgiving. Because we’re racing on public roads there’s not a lot of grip and, on top of this, it’s the tightest and shortest circuit on the calendar. However, we’ve been here before and I’m confident we’ll be up for the challenge.”
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..