Thompson trio score but suffer in Pretoria
Lee Thompson Racing enjoyed a bittersweet weekend at Zwartkops’ third round national championship Extreme Festival races with a good set of results on the one hand, but a tough, trying and crunching weekend on the other. Charl Smalberger scored a third and a seventh in GTC2, while young Delon Thompson starred to get through to Superpole in Polo Cup before ending 8th and 7th in the races to claim a fine fourth overall and a Junior podium for the day. Simon Need retired from the first Polo race after becoming involved in the turn 1 fracas, but bounced back to take fourth in Masters in Race 2.
Charl Smalberger qualified his Sabretek Golf GTI fourth in Sasol GTC2 before driving to third in race 1 and seventh in race 2, to end up fifth overall. “We had a dud tyre problem on Friday, but we figured it out to find three seconds overnight to qualify fourth,” Charl explained. “I made a poor start though and diced with Trevor Bland for third, but it was too late by the time I was past and the leaders had got away.” I still had to hold off Devin Robertson for a good third — I was pretty chuffed about that considering Friday was such a bugger-up!
“I started race 2 third from the back, but lost places to Devin, Keegan Masters and Bradley Liebenberg and I was dicing Trevor for fifth when I never noticed Robbie Wolk’s GTC car closing in from behind to lap me until it was almost too late because my mirrors were folded in and I went off trying to avoid him and lost a few positions in the process. “Thanks to Lee and the guys for a great car as always, but I’m really looking forward to East London — the car is good and I love that track — bring it on! “
Delon Thompson Qualified fifth in Engen Polo Cup to reach Super Pole and started sixth, before avoiding most of the first lap drama to end up 8th after a tough first heat, but benefited another car’s exclusion to take 7th. Thompson then brought it home a fine fifth in the second heat for fourth overall for the day and third in Juniors. “Zwartkops was extremely eventful!” Delon admitted. “After making it through to my first ever Super Pole and I started heat one in 6th, but I was crashed into after the driver in front of me lost control and I suffered a broken window and a huge dent in the car, but I still managed to bring it home 8th.
“I started 8th in heat 2 and gained a couple of places at the start and another during the race to end up fifth to take fourth overall and third among the Juniors. “I am very happy with my first podium under Lee Thompson Racing and hope for this to be the first of many. ”The support over the weekend was amazing — now I hope to carry this momentum into East London.”
Simon Need qualified 17th, but became embroiled in and was eliminated by that first race fracas, before a positive second race, where he climbed to 14th and 4th in Masters. “What can I say — I just can’t shake this crash-one-finish-one spell,” Simon rued. “I have to thank the team for a great effort to turn the car around to allow me to bounce back in race 2 — I was really happy with 4th in Masters — now we just need to do that every race, not every second race. “Hope to pull that off in East London!”
“That was a tough weekend that kept the team flat out busy throughout,” Lee Thompson concluded. “Charl was unlucky in race 2, but Delon showed great progress this weekend and I’m excited for the rest of the year with him, while Simon deserves a bit of luck. “Let’s make that happen in East London…”