At the weekend’s Volkswagen Polo Cup Extreme Festival Championship Round 5, Nathi Msimanga made his Squadra Corse teammates, mentors and management extremely proud with the team’s first super pole qualifier and a well-deserved place on the podium.
“We have shown our programme works and a big thanks goes to our partners, Volkswagen South Africa, who have given us a chance to prove ourselves. The family vibe that goes on behind the scenes with everyone is simply amazing. Thank you also to Mike Rowe, Corrie and Brad Liebenberg, Keagan and Wayne Masters, Desiree Merkel, Graham and the team. We also acknowledge our supporters Würth South Africa,” says Mpho Elijah Gumbi, owner and team principal of the Squadra Corse team.
Squadra Corse’s Polo Cup team coach/mentor Keagan Masters says that Msimanga drove like an absolute star over the weekend. “Qualifying, which would normally be held on a Saturday, actually took place on Heritage Day and Nathi was 8th fastest. He deliberately and strategically held back for the day then pushed in the final qualifier to make a great fifth place. This got him into the top 6 super pole, which is an awesome achievement.
“In the top 6 shootout, he did an amazing job in his qualifying lap and achieved the second-fastest time. This placed him second on the grid for race 1 on Saturday. In addition, his top 6 super pole position gave him the opportunity to pull a good number in the top 6 draw. He didn’t disappoint and managed to draw number 2, which again placed him in second starting position for race 2. These two second starting positions put him in a great fighting position for the lead,” adds Masters.
In race 1 Msimanga remained focused and calm, despite immense pressure from championship contender and third position Jurie Swart, but he managed to hold Swart at bay, staying consistent and clean for the whole race and finishing second for race 1. In race 2 Msimanga was running really well but five laps into the race he was knocked on his back wheel by the third-place contender and unfortunately went into a half spin and fell back to fifth place. However, after a hearing was held about the incident, his position was revised to fourth for the race.
“Nathi finished the day on a revised third place and it’s really unfortunate about the incident in race 2 as he was looking forward to a solid second place for the day. However, let’s not forget that his driving for the weekend was truly amazing and he has a lot to be proud of! Nathi’s teammate Baksi Komane, who is currently honing his racing skills, did not race at the weekend’s event,” says Masters.