WhatCheapercars GTi Challenge Final Report
WhereKillarney International Raceway
WhenSaturday 6 November 2021
CommunityWestern Cape Regional

Great pace, but results evade rapid Lupini, Levy

Giordano Lupini was delighted to end up second in Class B and fourth overall in the 2021 cheapercars GTi Challenge championship despite a difficult day at Killarney driving his Bullion IT Banhoek Chilli Oil Volkswagen Jetta. He had a troubled lead-up to Saturday’s races, but Lupini was quickest in class in every session at the season finale. More challenges on race day however prevented Gio from delivering the sort of results the team had hoped for. 

“We had a great 2021 GTi Challenge season,” Franschhoek racer Giordano admitted. “We progressed well and developed the Bullion IT Banhoek Chilli Oil Jetta through the year to come home second in the class championship and fourth overall despite missing a couple of races at the beginning of the season. "We won several races and had brilliant pace throughout, so we will leave Class B with another all time class lap record and happy with a fantastic year on track.”

The past weekend proved a challenge for Lupini, and his one hour race co-driver, GTi Challenge veteran Ebrahim Levy and the team. An engine problem after testing in the week saw the team miss out on Friday practice and arrive slightly down on power on Saturday. That did not prevent Giordano from putting in a splendid qualifying performance to claim a comfortable pole position for the final sprint race of the season. But still, lady luck was still not in attendance…

“The clutch slipped at the start and I dropped to the back,” Giordano rued. “I gave the device a little time to cool down and was back to third by the end of the first lap and into second soon after. “Eden Thompson was too far gone with too few laps left by then, and I just never had enough time to catch him.” Gio duly set the fastest lap of the race in his pursuit, to claim another pole position for the season ending one hour endurance race. 

“I started gently knowing the clutch was dodgy. “So it took a few laps to get back past Shane du Toit driving Eden’s car, including one or two entire lap side-by-side with him! “I eventually got ahead and settled down to open up a decent lead, before handing the car over to Ebrahim.” Levy had not driven the car at all after Friday's issues and jumping in for the first time mid-race. He was using his lead to settle in, when the car lost power and stopped. 

“I was in at the deep end, but the Bullion Banhoek Jetta felt fantastic — it really is well sorted,” Ebrahim explained. “We knew we may still have an issue, so when it started to go off, the instruction was to just park it, which I did. “Thanks to Giordano and the team for a great opportunity — we had this one covered! “Such a pity we could not pull off a deserved victory in the end.”

“There are a number of people to thank for a great season in GTi Challenge Class B,” Giordano concluded. “To our sponsors, Clive and Johan from Bullion IT, Ken and the team at Banhoek Chilli Oil, to Stephen at Master Panelbeaters, who we thankfully never had to visit through the season, Peter at Franschhoek Sign Co, Ted at Bilstein and the rest who made it possible for us to do what we love, we salute you.

“Then there’s the team — Nian, Chase, Mornier, Sakkie and the guys and girls at NDT Racing, and everyone else who contributed to the team and my dad for all his effort. “There is also someone else I need to thank and salute — Eden Thompson has been an absolute gentleman to race against. “We were wheel to wheel throughout the season, we shared race wins and fought hard, but never touched once. “Thank you and congrats on a landmark class B and overall championship.

“It was also great fun to develop our car and to keep moving our class goalposts throughout the season,” Giordano concluded. “We leave Class B with another new lap time benchmark to prove there’s life in the old girl yet. “We will fondly remember racing the Bullion IT Banhoek Chilli Oil Jetta for a long time to come!” 


Issued on behalf of Giordano Lupini

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