Kyalami 9 Hour: Victory and IGTC title for Porsche
Dennis Olsen, Mathieu Jaminet and Nick Tandy are the winners of Kyalami 9 Hour, the last round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The trio in the #31 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Frikadelli Racing Team won the race in front of Walkenhorst Motorsport’s #34 BMW M6 GT3 and another Porsche of GPX Racing, securing IGTC championship titles both for Porsche and Dennis Olsen.
The famous Kyalami 9 Hour race has been revived after 37 years, becoming the part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge together with endurance classics at Bathurst, Spa and Suzuka, and new race (since 2017) California 8 Hour at Laguna Seca.
Porsche crews took victories at Bathurst, Spa and Kyalami, securing Manufacturers’ title in front of Mercedes. In the Drivers’ championship, Dennis Olsen has won at Bathurst, retired at Laguna Seca, finished sixth at Spa, third at Suzuka and now secured the title with another victory in South Africa.
The 9-hour race was mostly run in bright sunshine but ended under the cover of darkness and in a cloud of spray. During the race, there was a two-hour-long Safety Car period caused by heavy rain. The #31 Porsche crew started the race from pole and converted it into victory after 259 laps on the 4.522km long circuit.
It wasn’t an easy job and the pressure was big because seven drivers entered the season’s finale with a chance of winning the title, while Porsche had to overcome a 22-point deficit in order to beat Mercedes-AMG.
Unfortunately for Mercedes-AMG, one of their entries, the #999 GruppeM car, retired on the opening lap due to an engine issue. The championship leader Maxi Buhk was one of the drivers and he lost a chance to defend his lead.
In the end, Olsen’s victory secured him a title. Frikadelli Racing’s crew was sharing a podium with Walkenhorst Motorsport’s Christian Krognes, Mikkel Jensen and Nicky Catsburg and GPX Racing’s Richard Lietz, Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen.
The 2020 Intercontinental GT Challenge season begins in just over two months’ time at the Mount Panorama in Australia, with another edition of Bathurst 12 Hour.
Photos: IGTC/SRO/Dirk Bogaerts