Zwartkops proves a tough nut

Zwartkops’s Sasol Race Day proved a tough weekend for the Pepper Racing team, with all four drivers facing various challenges through the three Engen Volkswagen Cup races. Junior Daniel Duminy emerged best placed of the team’s four cars in 10th overall in the SMD Polo with Shaun La Réservée (Alpine Polo) 11th, Tasmin Pepper (Campos/Alpine) 13th and Giordano Lupini 14th.

Duminy had a positive weekend, which could have been even better, but the same could be said for all four cars. “It was a good day, had good pace and definitely proved to the team that I can run up front,” the Ballito 16-year old admitted. “I had a bad qualifying which put me 15th, but I drove back to 10th which wasn’t too bad. 

“In the second race I was taken out by Giordano, I was not very happy with that and I could have done a lot better if I wasn’t taken out, but what can you do, mistakes happen. “I started race 3 in 15th drove to 11th and ended up 10th overall. “A big thank you to everyone at Pepper Racing; Iain, Shane, Jeandre, Chad and Kev. “We know what we need to do — we just have to keep going."

La Réservée’s weekend started with a gearbox failure early in qualifying, which prevented the Durban driver from going through to Superpole despite getting through, before he was knocked off in turn 1 of the first race and then struggling with pace in race 2, although he bounced back with a strong fourth in the final. “Zwartkops was tough’” Shaun rued. “Still, we managed to bag some good points for the Masters championship — we lacked a bit of pace in the races but will find it and will be back in CPT.

Tasmin Pepper qualified seventh and crossed the line in fifth in race 1 only to be handed a 30-second jump start penalty to plummet down the order. The Edenvale lass bounced back to end up fifth in race 2 and sixth in the final. “It wasn’t the weekend we had imagined!” Tasmin admitted “We were quick in the build-up but when it came to race day I just didn’t have the pace to be up front. “Thank you to Shane, my dad and the whole team for all their hard work over the weekend… we going to have to work really hard before the next race to be back up front — we are not giving up!

Team Rookie, Franschhoek 16-year Giordano Lupini also endured a fraught weekend. “I had a good first race and made up six places, but I threw a lot of them away when I out-braked myself trying to defend, but the second race was a nightmare,” Giordano confessed. “I ruined Daniel’s race when I bumped him — no excuses — and my sincere apologies to Dan and the team. “For the rest, the racing was hectic with all the bumping and barging in the mid-pack, but I can take so much home from the weekend — there’s no better way to learn than by bitter experience — thanks so much to the team.”

Team boss Iain Pepper is looking ahead. “Zwartkops proved a disappointing weekend, but that’s history and we are now fully focussed on Killarney on 9 September where we have a pretty good record, so here’s to a big step forward with all four cars.”