It was a dramatic finish as La Sarthe claimed another last lap leader in LMP2.
And elsewhere, it was yet another amazing weekend for South Africa’s international racing stars in Race Week 35 of 2021.
Toyota’s Le Mans 24-Hour hattrick
Toyota Gazoo Racing scored a dominant first Hypercar era Le Mans 1-2 as Kamui Kobabashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez finally found success in the Number 7 car.
They led Kazuki Nakajima, Sébastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley’s sister Number 8 GR010 Hybrid home by two laps.
André Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthew Vaxvivere’s Alpine ended third ahead of the two Glickenhaus cars, which also made it a 100% finish for the new era Hypercars.
There was major drama and a huge sting in the tail in LMP2.
The leading WRT Oreca Gibson ground to a halt to retire on the very last lap.
That left WRT teammate Robin Frijns to dodge the staged finishes ahead of him and also the flagman standing in the middle of the track as he fended Tom Blomqvist’s similar Jota car off for a sensational win alongside Ferdinand Hasberg and Charles Milesi.
Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Como Ledogar’s Ferrari 488 GTE Evo beat the Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor, Nicky Catsburg Corvette C8.R to the GTE Pro win while Francois Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera made it a Ferrari double in GTE Am.
Both South African drivers in Le Mans ‘21, Jonathan Aberdein’s LMP2 Oreca and David Perel’s GTE Am Ferrari retired in the night.
Another splendid weekend for SA stars
It was, however, another very good weekend for other South Africans competing around the world. Kelvin van der Linde scored his third DTM German Touring Car victory in his Audi R8 in Saturday’s opening race, with brother Sheldon’s BMW M6 sixth.
Both brothers retired in the second race as Red Bull F1 refugee Alex Albon drove that team’s Ferrari 488 to a maiden DTM victory.
Kelvin opened his DTM championship lead to up 33 points at the DTM season midpoint.
Moving to two wheels, South African World Supersport hero Steven Odendaal twice rode his Yamaha home second behind title rival Dominique Aegeter to strengthen his championship second at Navarra in Spain.
Also at Navarra, Scott Redding’s Ducati beat Kawasaki world champion Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu’s Yamaha in the first two World Superbike races.
Razgatlioglu took the final from Redding and Rea to move level with Rea in the title chase lead.
Elsewhere, Josef Newgarden held off Pato O’Ward to score his second Indycar win of the season at Gateway as O’Ward took the points lead. And Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda scored their first All Japan Super GT victory of the season at Suzuka in a Nissan GT-R 1-2-3.
Pentecost swaps to dominate in Matatiele
Closer to home, Michael Pentecost swapped to a Kawasaki and dominated the Matatiele SA Cross Country Motorcycle round. He beat OR2 winner Bradley Cox’s KTM and OR3 winner, Davin Cocker’s Husqvarna, Jarryd Coetzee and Scott Heygate’s KTMs and d’Artagnan Lobjoit on another Kawasaki. Wade Blaauw’s KTM won Seniors, Wayne Farmer’s Husqvarna Masters, Branden Swanepoel took High School win on his Sherco and Cobus Bester Juniors on a Husqvarna.
The Scribante grandsons starred at the circuit named after grandfather Aldo in Port Elizabeth. Franco Scribante and Jason Campos’ Chevron did the double in the twin SA Endurance 3 Hours. They beat Riaan Botma and Jeffrey Kruger’s Ligier and Keagan Masters, Daniel Rowe and Graham Nathan’s giant killing Volkswagen Polo GTI on Friday. And they beat Xolile Letlaka and Tschops Sipuka’s Lamborghini and Heinrich Lategan and Verissimo Tavares’ Porsche in Saturday’s round 4.
Charl Arangies beat Silvio and Aldo Scribante and Letlaka to a Lamborghini Huracan 1-2-3-4 in the opening GT3 race ahead of Michael Stephen’s McLaren and David Buckham’s Bentley. Silvio Scribante beat Arangies and Aldo Scribante, Mikaeel Pitamber’s Ferrari, Stephen and Letlaka in race 2. And Arangies made it another Huracan 1-2-3-4 from Arnold Neveling, Silvio and Aldo Scribante, Pitamber and Letlaka in the final.
Local is lekker in PE
Also at Aldo Scribante, Deon Slabbert’s Polo won both regional EP Modified races, beating Rudolf de Vos’ Chevy Can Am and Gerhard Oosthuysen’s BMW in the first race and Geoff Stephen’s VW and Marais Ellis’ BMW in the second.
And Oliver McKay won both Motorcycle races on a Kawasaki and he also shared the 150 wins with Dylan Grobler. Grobler also won both 100 heats.