Brad du Plessis won of the gruelling Spa-Francorchamps 1-hour endurance race which formed Round 8 of 2014 South African simGT Challenge. The wet conditions proved to be a big challenge for all drivers involved as only 8 of 18 starters finished the 21 lap race.
Zaahir Essa, once again the fastest man in qualifying was not able to start the race due to further technical difficulties. BT Racing’s Björn Buchner inherited pole position. Buchner started his opening lap well immediately opening a gap back to the frantic battle for 2nd position between Eugene McLaren, Basheer Jadwat, Brad du Plessis and Hercules Du Preez.
Towards the end of the opening lap Jadwat attempted a pass on Buchner at La Source, the light contact between them allowed McLaren to mount his attack for the lead. Unfortunately McLaren made contact with Buchner, pitching Buchner’s Porsche into a slide resulting in a collision with the pit wall. All was not lost for Buchner as he soon hit back, passing Jadwat for 2nd on the approach to the Les Combes complex.
On Lap 3 Buchner re-took the lead when McLaren fell back to 5th position after a spin at Les Combes. After off track excursions for Jadwat and du Plessis, an enthralling battle for 2nd position commenced between Du Preez and McLaren, McLaren managing to make the pass at Les Combes after a far superior drive out of the corner. Later Du Preez was unlucky to leave the track at Pouhon, falling back to 5th. Three laps later Buchner did the same thing, allowing McLaren once again into the lead.
Lap 11 saw the top 4 drivers conduct their pit-stops together. It was Buchner who emerged from the pits in the lead. Hennie Smit elected to run a longer stint, putting him into the race lead for the next 4 laps. Buchner lost the lead once again after a error by him allowed du Plessis with a much greater speed advantage to make the pass down the back straight.
Jadwat retired from the race in a fiery manner after heavy contact with a wall at Blanchimont. Buchner too hit a barrier this time at Campus allowing McLaren through for 2nd. Smit moved up to 3rd and then 2nd after more errors McLaren and Buchner.
Brad du Plessis had by no means the fastest car, but good consistent driving earned him what must be his greatest win of the season so far.