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Mobil 1 V8 Supercars deliver Expectations

If the opening race of the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars was the standard for the upcoming season, then fans are in for a rollercoaster. Fourteen V8’s provided nail biting racing throughout the weekend, and when the dust finally settled on Saturday afternoon, it was Franco Di Matteo, Terry Wilford and Mackie Adlem who went home with the silverware.

Friday (8th March) was all about Thomas Reib (Chevy V8) who set the tone in the opening practice, and set the benchmark time of 1:01. Therefore, the pole position man from the last round at Zwartkops was the man to beat around the 2,4 kilometre Pretoria Racetrack. The hot conditions during the day prevented anyone else from beating the 1 minute one second barrier.

Saturday (9th March) commenced with qualifying, and although eyes were on Reib, it was Franco Di Matteo ( Jaguar XKR) who set the fastest lap of the weekend. Following close behind was pole favourite Reib, Terry Wilford (Ford Falcon) and reigning champion Mackie Adlem (Jaguar XKR). Reib missed his pole position by only seven hundreds of a second. The 14 V8’s were spread evenly thus provided the fundamental base for some spectacular racing ahead.

Race 1: With the top six within one second of each other at qualifying, it was anyone’s game in steaming hot conditions. Franco Di Matteo took full advantage of his pole position and maintained his leading position. Reib, in second, planned his attack for the lead, but instead was under pressure from Adlem. While Di Matteo set his own racing lines, Thomas wasn’t able to make his move and Adlem took instant advantage by taking second position. A slightly surprised Thomas Reib lost another position as Terry Wilford made his move in for third. At the end, Di Matteo opened enough of a gap, and with his defensive racing managed to hold off Mackie Adlem to take the victory in the first race. Terry Wilford, Thomas Reib and Izak Spies completed the top 5.

The reversed grid second race is the key ingredient for the best possible racing. With the top finishers of race one at the back of the grid, the race got underway. Debutante Julian Familiaris (Corvette 6) took an early lead ahead of JP Nortje (Corvette) and Auke Compaan (Jaguar XKR). It was the steam train of Adlem, Wilford and Reib who quickly mingled in for the top spot of the race. Three quarters into the race it was Nortje leading ahead of Wilford and Adlem, and for a moment it seemed the final positions for the race were set. However, Nortje lost control similarly to his opening race spin, and handed the lead to Terry Wilford. Wilford never looked back and held off Adlem to take the win of race two. Thomas Reib scored the last podium spot ahead of Franco Di Matteo and Larry Wilford (Ford Falcon).

After two race heats, Terry Wilford is the leader of the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars with 43 points, followed by Mackie Adlem (42), Franco di Matteo (40), Thomas Reib (33) and Julian Familiaris (20). In three weeks time the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars return to Zwartkops Raceway for round 2 of the championship. Needless to say that all the competitors are returning with a vengeance in their own right.