IGTC champion Catsburg nearly crashed under FCY in Kyalami rain

New Intercontinental GT Challenge champion Nicky Castsburg has revealed that he went off track multiple times under full course yellow conditions on the way to victory in Saturday's Kyalami finale

IGTC champion Catsburg nearly crashed under FCY in Kyalami rain

Catsburg told Autosport that he ended up off the circuit "at least four times" in the heavy rain of the final hour of a race he won together with Walkenhorst Motorsport team-mates Augusto Farfus and Sheldon van der Linde.

"It was nearly impossible to maintain the 80km/h speed limit because the visibility was so bad and there was so much standing water," said Catsburg, who claimed the IGTC title together Farfus with victory in the Kyalami 9 Hours.

"I was on the grass, in the gravel and I almost hit a marshals' post.

"I turned into a corner 50 metres too early at one point because I couldn't see where I was going."

Catsburg also revealed that the conditions were crucial in the victory for the Walkenhorst BMW M6 GT3, because they allowed him to close on race leader Frederic Vervisch's WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 under the yellows.

"Even though there was a FCY, we were still racing because we couldn't do 80km/h," he explained.

"At one point the team told me to take it easy because I was 10s a lap faster than everyone else."

Catsburg moved into the lead after Vervisch, who shared the WRT Audi with Mirko Bortolotti and Charles Weerts, took what is known as a reset pitstop nine laps before the chequered flag.

The Audi came out of the pits side-by-side with the BMW and moved ahead into the first corner, but Vervisch was adjudged to have been behind at the exit of the pitlane and had to give up the lead to Catsburg.

Walkenhorst had brought Catsburg in for his reset stop immediately after an attempt to restart the race with just over an hour to go had to be aborted following one green-flag racing lap.

The stop allowed Catsburg to go to the end of the race without exceeding the 65-minute stint length maximum, but the tactic was a gamble because any protracted period of green-flag running would have meant he required a stop for fuel.

"The team made the call immediately to reset the drive time and they made it perfectly," explained Catsburg.

"They made all the right calls on a day that we didn't have the pace to win in the dry.

"We needed something crazy to happen and it did, so the team can be very proud of the way they handled the situation."

The majority of the race was led by the factory JAS-run Honda NSX GT3 shared by, Renger van der Zande, Mario Farnbacher and Bertrand Baguette, who called their defeat "hard to take".

JAS pitted the car out of the lead with just over an hour to go and the team opted to do a full pitstop, swapping Baguette for Farnbacher and giving the car a full tank of fuel.

Farnbacher took the chequered flag in fourth position behind the safety car, which closed up the field as the nine-hour duration approached.

Second place went to the WRT Audi of Vervisch, Bortolotti and Weerts, while third was taken by the GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R of Patrick Pilet, Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet.

Catsburg questioned the decision not to stop the race in the wet conditions.

"The conditions were so bad at one point that I thought about just driving into the pits and getting out of the car," he said.

"I felt that the race director got it wrong, but maybe he didn't because there were no accidents."

shares
comments
Honda's Kyalami defeat "hard to take" after dominating dry running
Previous article

Honda's Kyalami defeat "hard to take" after dominating dry running

Next article

Lexus ends GT3 factory programme in Europe

Lexus ends GT3 factory programme in Europe
How to get the best out of amateur racers Plus

How to get the best out of amateur racers

Pro-Am GT racing is booming. But how should drivers approach working with an amateur? Autosport sought out a panel of experts to explain the pitfalls amateur drivers should avoid and how professionals can help them to achieve their goals

GT
Apr 3, 2022
The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics Plus

The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics

Over two decades as a factory driver with Audi and BMW, Martin Tomczyk earned the respect of team-mates and rivals as a hard but fair racer. After calling time on his racing career, the 2011 DTM champion sat down with Autosport to look back

GT
Mar 5, 2022
The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership Plus

The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership

This weekend’s British GT finale will be a tense title showdown for some but, for those not in the championship fight, it’s a chance to end a challenging year on a high. In the latter camp is Paddock Motorsport's team owner Martin Plowman, whose 2021 season has been a rollercoaster ride of non-stop learning

National
Oct 15, 2021
The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion Plus

The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion

It has won most of the big prizes in endurance racing across its six years in service, but the BMW M6 GT3's key weaknesses meant only a devoted few teams persisted with running it. As it prepares to bow out at season's end, the teams and drivers involved in its story share the secrets of an unpopular winner

GT
Oct 7, 2021
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

GT
Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

GT
Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021