|What||Motorsport Festival Preview|
|Where||Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, Johannesburg|
|When||Saturday 4 November 2017|
Seven-car effort for Thompson
Pretoria-based Lee Thompson Racing heads for Kyalami all set for a hectic weekend as it chases a first, two seconds and a third in the three series it competes in at Kyalami’s Motorsport Festival Saturday 4 November. Iain Pepper leads Class A in the Volkswagen Challenge, where Shaun Crous also lies second in Class C; Charl Smalberger sits a close third in Sasol GTC2 and Simon Need is in the running for third in the Engen Volkswagen Cup Masters championship chase.
“It’s going to be an extremely busy weekend for Lee Thompson Racing at Kyalami as all eight of our cars are racing this weekend,” team principal Lee Thompson explained. “Our main goal is to extend Iain’s championship lead in class A of the Volkswagen Challenge, chase second position, which is still up for grabs in GTC2 with Charl and in Class C for Shaun, and Simon can still get third in Polo Cup Masters — but there’s nothing better than a good challenge so let’s do this!
Charl Smallberger has improved steadily through the season in his iCorp VW Parts LTR Golf GTI to emerge as a serious frontrunner in more recent races and he is after nothing short of a win at home at Kyalami. “Going into the second last round, we are chasing second in the championship, 19 points behind Trevor Bland, but a bit too far behind Keagan Masters in the lead,” Charl explained. “We tested again recently and the car is really good, so now it’s just time to look forward to Kyalami — last time we were there we ended up second, but the car has developed nicely since then so hopefully we can challenge for the win — can’t wait!
Iain Pepper may have been out of racing for seven years before popping back up in Class A in the Volkswagen Challenge, but that has not stopped the veteran from taking the series by the scruff of its neck to lead the Class A title race in his Husqvarna Motorcycles LTR Polo. “It’s been a good year — seems like I was never away!” Iain admitted. “Lee and the team have handed me an incredible car every race so far and I am delighted to have returned it in the championship lead, so here’s to another positive outing at the home of SA motorsport — bring it on.”
Pepper is one of four Lee Thompson-run Class A VW Challenge Polos heading to Kyalami alongside to Waldie Meintjes, Wayne Crous and Delon Thompson. “I can’t wait for Kyalami,” Meintjes conceded. “I have not had the best of runs there since the new track opened, so I’m hoping that this weekend will be third time lucky — we need to end off the season on a high note, starting at Kyalami.”
Lee Thompson Racing is however in a race against time to ready Wayne Crous’ Delway Polo in time following a rough weekend at Midvaal last time out. “The team is pushing to get the car done.” Wayne explained. “We are under pressure with all the damage from broken shocks to panel beating, but I’m quite eager to race — hopefully we can end the weekend without any bumps and bruises! “Special thanks to Lee and the team for all the hard work.”
Former karting prodigy Delon Thompson is likewise looking forward to Kyalami following a strong rough first outing with Lee Thompson Racing last time out. “I got a pole and we were second in the first race at Midvaal, so a bit more of that will do us just fine,” Delon admitted. “I can’t wait to race at Kyalami — thanks to Lee and the team for all the hard work on my car — my plan is to reward them with best results!”
VW Challenge Class C frontrunner, younger Crous brother Shaun is another Lee Thompson Racing driver set to deliver a powerful championship result as he lies second in class in his Ancro Projects LTR Polo Vivo. “I have had a few problems over the last few races so it’s been one good result and one retirement and so forth, so God willing Kyalami will be kind and we can get back to winning a race or two again,” Shaun admitted. “Special thanks as always to Lee — my car is always so sweet!”
Last but very much not least is Lee Thompson’s Mauritian Engen Volkswagen Cup Masters man Simon Need, who has improved significantly enough through his second season in his Photonics Polo to see him into a position from where he can wrest third place in the Masters championship. “I am delighted with my progress through 2017 under the guidance of Lee Thompson and with the help of his team,” Simon pointed out. “I absolutely love this circuit and I can’t wait to end off the season with the best possible result — see you at Kyalami!”