BANKFIN SOUTH AFRICAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP COLIN WINDELL Nissan truly emphasised its dominance of the Bankfin South African Touring Car Championship at the Aldo Scribante Raceway in Port Elizabeth on Saturday with Giniel de Villiers...
BANKFIN SOUTH AFRICAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Nissan truly emphasised its dominance of the Bankfin South African Touring Car Championship at the Aldo Scribante Raceway in Port Elizabeth on Saturday with Giniel de Villiers leading a four Primera train across the line in the first race and then sealing his day with a win in the second race.
But, in one of the more bizarre moves by TOCA, the races were started under yellow flags for the first three corners to protect the field from decimating itself on the opening lap. This gave De Villiers a huge gap from pole position in the first race, protected by teammates Duncan Vos and Mark Peters.
While De Villiers headed for an untroubled win, Peters initially held second place until being overhauled by team mate Vos on lap 12. Marco dos Santos (Nissan Valid Value/Elf Primera), after dispensing with the Sasol BMW 318i of Shaun van der Linde on the first lap, pushed Vos hard throughout the first half of the race with Shaun van der Linde (Sasol BMW ) glued to his rear bumper.
Van der Linde dropped down to fifth from his fourth position in the first laps, and was followed home by Terry Moss (Engen Audi). Team-mates Shaun Watson-Smith and Deon Joubert (Team Petronas Syntium Opel) followed the remainder of the pack, with Watson-Smith finishing seventh, and Joubert a lowly eleventh place. The two Opel drivers were separated by Anthony Taylor (Engen Audi), Michael Briggs (Sasol BMW) and privateer Grant Waberski (DAW-WAP Toyota Camry).
Taylor was competing under a yellow card penalty as a result of an incident in round eight in Cape Town. Two yellow cards within three race meetings (six races) earns a red card and disqualification from the next race meeting (two races). So Taylor was having to curb his natural inclination to mix it.
In the Procar category, George Bezuidenhout (Nissan Engine/Gearbox Exchange Primera) had a fuss-free race to win ahead of Colin Hastie (Spanjaard Racing) and Marco da Cunha (Middleburg Nissan Primera).
The second Touring Car heat was uncharacteristically the most exciting race of the day - and of the entire season - after Briggs started the race in pole position, and eagerly held on to the place, despite the pressure applied by the clearly dominant Nissans.
While the Nissans had the edge in the tighter corners, Briggs maintained a straight-line advantage. In their efforts to get past the BMW driver, De Villiers and Vos swapped places regularly, following the demise of Peters as he was passed in a single lap by Dos Santos and Watson-Smith.
Watson-Smith's promising performance proved futile as he dived into the pits mid-way through the race, to return later well down in the field.
A high-speed road train developed covering the top four drivers, with Briggs holding onto the lead until Vos tried a brave move at Honda Hairpin and touched the grass, sliding into the BMW. This sent Briggs cruising through the outfield, although he fortunately managed to return to the track in third place.
This incident gave the lead and eventually the win to De Villiers, with Van der in second place. Briggs was again in the wars when Dos Santos tried to carve his way past, but held on to retain third place, with Dos Santos in fourth. Mark Peters finished fifth, followed by Anthony Taylor - the Audi driver at least scoring a point to add to the sixth place Moss scored in the first heat.
The Procar race was an all-Nissan Primera affair, and was won by Marco da Cunha, ahead of Bezuidenhout in second and Hastie third.
SOUTH AFRICAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUNDS 9 & 10, ALDO SCRIBANTE RACEWAY (ZA), 2 x 20 LAPS, 99,2 KM, JUN 12, Race 1 1. Giniel de Villiers (Nissan Primera), 22m16,85s, 1m06,07, 134 km/h; 2. Duncan Vos (Nissan Primera), 22m17,25s; 3. Mark Peters (Nissan Primera), 22,m21,69s; 4. Marco dos Santos (Nissan Primera), 22m22,23s; 5. Shaun van der Linde (BMW 318i), 22m22,42s; 6. Terry Moss (Audi), 22m22,87s; 7. Anthony Taylor (Audi), 22m25,66s; 8. Shaun Watson-Smith (Opel Vectra), 22m26,80s; 9. Michael Briggs (BMW), 22m35,96s; 10. Garth Waberski (Toyota Camry), 22m46,95s.
2: 1. Giniel de Villiers (Nissan Primera), 22m27,85s, 1m06,48s, 132 km/h; 2. Shaun van der Linde (BMW 318i), 22m27,92s; 3. Michael Briggs (BMW), 22m30,30s; 4. Marco dos Santos (Nissan Primera), 22m31,05s; 5. Mark Peters (Nissan Primera), 22m31,31s; 6. Anthony Taylor (Audi), 22m31,80s; 7. Duncan Vos (Nissan Primera), 22m35,18s; 8. Deon Joubert (Opel Vectra), 22m35,64s; 9. Garth Waberski (Toyota Camry), 22m41,36s; 10. Chris Aberdein (Audi), 22m51,87s.
Championship Points: 1 de Villiers, 148; 2 Vos, 97; 3 van der Linde/ dos Santos, 74; 5 Peters, 67; 6. Briggs/Taylor/Watson-Smith 44 Manufacturers 1 Nissan 368; 2 Audi 107; 3 BMW 99.