Mario Farnbacher and Team Honda Racing played a dominant role at the Kyalami 9 Hour – the finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge from 10 to 12 December. However, after the Honda NSX GT3 Evo’s pole and countless kilometers in the lead, a thunderstorm during the final hour denied the driver trio its victory. In the end, the Franconian and his teammates Bertrand Baguette and Renger van der Zande crossed the line in fourth place.
“We’re obviously all rather disappointed”, the 28-year-old explained after the season’s fourth race. “Victory was close enough to touch, and we could also have won the championship, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Nevertheless, I’m extremely proud of the team and we’ve proved the NSX GT3 Evo is capable of winning. I’d like to thank Honda, HPD, JAS Motorsport and my team colleagues for the strong season.”
The #30 crew’s qualifying best times had already proved they had what it takes for victory and Farnbacher underlined their will to win in the subsequent Pole Shootout – the top 6 showdown. The Ansbach-born driver, who celebrated his Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit debut weekend, secured pole position with a 1:41.581 lap time.
Baguette, van der Zande and Farnbacher also dominated the race action, before a late thunderstorm shook up the classification. Torrential rain resulted in a full course yellow that continued till the finish. Farnbacher finally came through in fourth place.
“The rain and the full course yellow definitely put a spanner in the works”, said Farnbacher. “We had to pit again in the last hour, after which I took the wheel, but then got stuck behind a ten-second slower driver. So that enabled rivals to pull past. That was incredibly frustrating.”
After the season’s four races in Australia, the U.S., Belgium and South Africa, Farnbacher and van der Zande end the Intercontinental GT Challenge with a fifth place in the standings.