• Round 3 of the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars Championship takes place at Zwartkops Raceway this coming weekend.
• Franco di Matteo is the current points leader.
• The event will be streamed online.
• For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.
Round 3 of the 2021 Mobil 1 V8 Supercars Championship will form part of this coming weekend's (June 18-20) Passion for Speed headline day at Zwartkops Raceway, with points leader Franco di Matteo and reigning champion Mackie Adlem set to determine who will enter the halfway mark of the season as title-favourite.
Originally, the Passion for Speed weekend was scheduled to take its customary position as the opening event of the South African circuit racing season on the last weekend of January but was postponed until June amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This resulted in a bumper-edition event scheduled for this coming weekend, combined with the Extreme Festival tour. Racing will take place over two days Saturday, seeing a host of popular categories taking to the circuit on the western outskirts of Pretoria.
Points up for grabs
Di Matteo (#3 Deltec Batteries Jaguar XKR) has been in superb form throughout the opening two rounds and is the only driver with a full house of podium finishes for the year, including his recent victory at Phakisa Freeway. Adlem (#1 Adlem Auto Racing Jaguar XKR) will be looking to decrease Di Matteo's lead at the circuit, where he has tasted success on numerous occasions. Di Matteo heads up the points table on 128 with Adlem six points adrift. Thomas Reib (#9 Mobil 1 / Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina) with 112 points is also in contention and will be eager to put the woes of his last Zwartkops Raceway outing behind him.
Terry Wilford (#21 Fuchs Lubricants Ford Falcon) finds himself in a lonely fourth place with 83 points to his name. Following a season-opening victory, he has banked a host of good points-paying finishes but will be eager to return to the battle at the front of the field.
The midfield quartet is headed up by some of the newer drivers to have joined the series in recent years. David Coetzee (#53 ELKSA Competition / Adlem Auto Racing Ford Falcon) might have been plagued with mechanical difficulties at Phakisa Freeway but retains fifth place in the standings heading into Round 3 with 54 points to his name. A solitary point separates him and the latest addition to the prestigious list of race-winners in the series, Julian Fameliaris (#20 Lube-Net Chevrolet Corvette).
Three points behind Fameliaris is Warren Lombard (#6 Pepboys Automotive Ford Falcon). Both drivers have taken their maiden podium finishes at Zwartkops Raceway, while Fameliaris took his maiden win in Phakisa Freeway's first race, Lombard narrowly missed out on that achievement in Race 2. Both are eager to become regular contenders at the front of the field. Bevin Schwarz (#19 Alco Trucks Chevrolet Corvette) will make his return after missing the second round due to prior commitments. With 46 points to his name and with a wealth of V8 Supercars racing experience, he could well upset the applecart steered by series’ young guns.
Sam Dahl's (#98 Arcprotect Ford Falcon) was relegated to the sidelines in Round 2 following an engine failure but will be ready to continue impressing in his debut season. Passion for Speed 2020 was the event that started his path to becoming a contender in the championship, and he will be eager to add to his tally of 38 points. The top 10 on the leaderboard is concluded by Andre de Lange (#33 Roofsure / Creative Ink Media Jaguar XKR) with 27 points. As a driver who competes in a host of circuit-racing categories, few will be able to rival him when it comes to laps completed at Zwartkops Raceway in recent times.
Jostle for places
JP Nortje (#111 N4 Autocraft Chevrolet Corvette) with ten points and Johnny Eekhout (#24 Johnspeed Cobra Chevrolet Corvette) on eight points both only have one result to their names for 2021. On three points, Steve Herbst (#7 PPG Coatings / Prei Instrumentation / QI Systems Chevrolet Corvette) has yet to start a race in 2021.
Round 3 will also see three drivers making their first appearance in the series for 2021, Carl Nel (#15 Gears For Africa Chevrolet Lumina), Richard Fuller (#12 Reventon Auto Ford Mustang) and Larry Wilford (#77 Fuchs Lubricants Chevrolet Corvette).
Round 3 will see a changed schedule compared to the normal. Following a trial by Zwarkops Raceway at their previous event, the dedicated sessions-per-category for Practice 1 will be replaced by a host of sessions open to saloon cars and split according to time brackets. There will be one dedicated 15-minute Mobil 1 V8 Supercars practice session taking place later in the morning. Friday's activities will conclude with the qualifying session. Saturday's first race will be run over ten laps and is scheduled to start at 09:55, with the second 12 lap race scheduled for 16:25.
While South Africa currently finds itself in the third wave of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the in-person attendance of spectators remains prohibited under the National State of Disaster. The event will be streamed online via a host of Facebook pages, including the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars page and the 2Wheels YouTube Channel.