Jonathan Bentz (Squadro GhostworX) won race 1 of the SA simGT round at Spa-Francorchamps. A 3rd place finish for Basheer Jadwat (Squadro GhostworX) meant that he would leave Spa-Francorchamps the 2014.2 SA simGT Series Drivers Champion. Squadro GhostworX had won the 2014.2 SA simGT Series Team Championship during the previous round at Mugello.
It would be Bentz who beat everyone into La Source for the first time . Juan Liebenberg (Team Ryoku) together with Chris Browne (GhostworX 3.0) and Jadwat followed in close pursuit.
Further back a frantic all Mercedes-Benz 5-way battle had developed for 6th position. Cliffton Bridge (Taurus Racing) was desperately defending from Boyd Bryson (Xtreme Racing) and Dean Rautenbach (Hippo Rock Racing). After Rautenbach passed Bryson at the Chicane and Bridge at Eau Rouge he set off after the front runners. Johannes Coetsee (GhostworX 3.0) would follow suit to find himself in 6th chasing down Rautenbach.
Up until lap 3 Liebenberg was doing a fine job to hold Browne back, however a nervous looking Team Ryoku BMW at Pouhon is all that Browne needed to slip by into 2nd. However it was not over, with a better run out of Eau Rouge Liebenberg out-braked Browne into Les Combes . Jadwat too would replicate Liebenberg’s move to pass Browne for 3rd.
Bentz drove an impressive race to keep ahead of the action behind him to win his 2nd race of the season.
“Good start (whew!!! I hadn’t tested my gearing for starts) and I got through turn 1 clean and through that long ass straight still in P1. I was really worried that this would be where I lose P1 on that lap. From there I managed a bunch of clean laps with Juan hounding me the whole way. He ran wide at one point which gave me some breathing room and I really had to push from here on… The battle behind me was quite strong and the gap wasn’t really growing. Juan got back into P2 and started closing on me almost 0.2 – 0.3 per lap and I had no real answer for him. Luckily for me I had enough gap to cross the line in P1 after a pretty hairy set of final laps” says Bentz
“I actually think if Juan had taken Pole then he would have walked that race. Just shows how important Quali can be even though the grid only splits you nose to tail. Slip grip is not so bad here but it has a tendency to hurt your front tyres.”
“Didn’t get a good start, as after T1 Jono was gone, and I was fending off Chris from behind. I stuck about 2 seconds behind Jono for a few laps until he ran a bit wide, and I was on his bumper. The next lap at that very same spot, I ran wide which let Chris by. I fought hard and eventually got my P2 spot back with 3 laps to go. I put my head down to try and catch Jono but my time was up. Still very happy with my P2.” says Liebenberg
“I got a good start managing to make up some ground to Boyd ahead in the slow starting SLS. I erred on the side of caution into turn 1 and rather slotted in behind him to try to use the tow. I managed to out drag the SLS up to Les Combes and stuck it up the inside. Unfortunately Boyd and I made slight contact giving us both damage and from then on the car was a touch nervous on the back. ” says Jadwat
“I moved up to P4 behind Jono, Juan and Chris. I decided at this point to conserve tires and try to make a dash for the guys ahead over the last few laps. I was able to hold onto them barely and on lap 5 I decided to go all out. I was able to catch Chris and out drag him into Les Combes again but I was not able to get close enough to Juan who was driving beautifully. Jono ahead had built up a small gap which he was just managing.”
“Ended up in P3 which was great for the championship points. Well done to Jono for the win and Juan for P2. Was also a pleasure racing wheel to wheel with Chris.”
Race 1 results:
Round 8 Race 1: Spa-Francorchamps 09 December 2014