Covid-19 restrictions prevent spectators from attending this weekend’s Kyalami 9 Hour international event. Picture: SUPPLIED
Covid-19 restrictions prevent spectators from attending this weekend’s Kyalami 9 Hour international event. Picture: SUPPLIED

For the second year in a row Kyalami will host the 9 Hour, with the world’s top GT3 sports cars fighting for honours in the season finale of this year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge on December 12.

Unfortunately SA’s Covid-19 restrictions prevent spectators from attending the event at the Midrand track, but it will be streamed live and free on SRO Motorsports Group’s GT World YouTube channel from Friday. SuperSport will also carry live coverage across SA throughout the weekend.

This will be just the fourth race of a truncated 2020 season that started in January. Previous rounds have taken place in Australia, the USA and Belgium.

Three manufacturers and nine driver crews will battle for the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli title.

Reigning champions Porsche are bidding to defend both crowns with two all-star line-ups that include drivers’ championship leaders Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor. Audi — champions in 2016-2018 — and BMW can still deny Porsche back-to-back manufacturers’ titles, while any one of five different marques could yet secure drivers’ honours.

With victory worth 25 points and the nine competing contenders covered by 13, the title battle should go down to the wire on Saturday, just as it did in 2019.

With Mercedes-AMG opting to skip Kyalami, Porsche are well placed to wrap up their second global GT3 manufacturers’ title in as many years at Kyalami. And while 2019’s championship was only settled in the closing rain-lashed laps, the path to this year’s crown appears more straightforward.

Porsche arrive in SA 33 points clear of Audi and a further three ahead of BMW.

Victory at Spa has catapulted Bamber and 2016 Intercontinental champion Vanthoor into a one-point lead over Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet and Patrick Pilet.

Local fans have a number of SA drivers to root for, including Jordan Pepper in the Bentley Continental GT3, Sheldon van der Linde in the BMW M6, and Kelvin van der Linde in an Audi R8.

There will also be a locally-entered team with Saul Hack and Andre Bezuidenhout teaming up with Portugal’s Dylan Pereira in a Team Perfect Circle Porsche 911 GT3 R run by Lechner Racing.

The Kyalami 9 Hour starts at 12pm on Saturday.

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