East London Grand Prix Circuit - 8 August 1998 Bankfin Touring Cars Race One Championship leader Giniel de Villiers extended his championship lead with victory from pole position, but it was not without a tough fight with archrival Shaun van...
East London Grand Prix Circuit - 8 August 1998 Bankfin Touring Cars
Championship leader Giniel de Villiers extended his championship lead with victory from pole position, but it was not without a tough fight with archrival Shaun van der Linde.
Van der Linde (Sasol BMW) got the jump on De Villiers (BP Nissan Primera) from the rolling start, and then drove around the outside of the Nissan at the entrance to the ultra-fast Potters Pass.
Terry Moss (Engen Audi A4) slotted into third ahead of Mike Briggs (Sasol BMW), Anthony Taylor (Engen Audi A4), Chris Aberdein (Engen Audi A4) and Hilton Cowie (Minolta Toyota Corolla).
Moss was in a typically aggressive mood, forcing his way past De Villiers into the second Ess on lap 2. He then tried the same move on Van der Linde at Beacon Bend on the same lap but failed.
Duncan Vos, in the second BP Nissan, was on a charge from the back of the grid after his engine blew in qualifying before he could complete a lap. By lap 3, he was up to seventh ahead of Cowie, and then took Aberdein on the run past the pits, despite the latter's attempts to block the move by edging him towards the grass.
He made up another place when Briggs ran wide onto the grass in the esses on lap 5, and then another when Taylor retired to the pits on the same lap with sideshaft bearing failure.
De Villiers mounted a challenge for the lead on lap 6 when he came out of the fast sweep on the run to Beacon carrying a lot more speed than the BMW, which struggles with a loose rear end at that point.
As he drew alongside, Van der Linde moved across to block, with the two cars touching. De Villiers took the prudent approach and backed off, losing a further place to Moss.
With four cars now gunning for the lead, De Villiers went around the outside of Moss while Vos, who had caught up brilliantly, went for the inside. They both edged ahead, but then Vos had to back off in Potters to avoid a collision with his team-mate and slipped behind Moss again.
De Villiers eventually produced the decisive overtaking manoeuvre on lap 7, when he went around the outside of Van der Linde into the first of the esses, and then held the inside line for the second part of the corner.
Thereafter, he was away and held on to take the win. Behind, Vos moved ahead of Moss again, but into the esses on lap 9 the latter cut the grass and bumped into the Nissan. It put the Nissan into a spin, which came to a halt in the middle of the circuit where it was hit by Briggs, resulting in the retirement of both cars.
That left Van der Linde to take second ahead of Moss and Aberdein. Privateers Mark Peters (Duxbury Modems BMW) and Garth Waberski, who had a very good race in the privately entered DAW Toyota Camry, were next up ahead of George Bezhuidenhout (Nissan Engine Exchange Sentra) and Brian Martin (Castrol Toyota Corolla).
Giniel de Villiers (Nissan) 17:55,859 Shaun van der Linde (BMW) 17:56,747 Terry Moss (Audi) 17:58,310 Chris Aberdein (Audi) 18:11,268 Mark Peters (BMW) 18:18,289 Garth Waberski (Toyota) 18:23,185 George Bezhuidenhout (Nissan) 18:32,038 Brian Martin (Toyota) 18:34,590 Tony Martin (Toyota) 18:48,246 Nico van Rensburg (Nissan) 1 lap
The second race was not as exciting as the first, but still there was some good action throughout the field. At the end of the day however, it was once again De Villiers who took the win to open up a 59 point lead in the championship.
Polesitter Vos shot off into an immediate lead, but team-mate De Villiers was once again tardy in getting off the line and dropped from second to fourth as Van der Linde and Moss powered past.
The first lap was hectic as everyone jockeyed for position. Moss tried to get ahead of De Villiers into Potters, but failed. De Villiers relieved Moss of third on the run to the esses, and then took second when he outdragged De Villiers on the run to Beacon.
On lap two, Moss had another go at Van der Linde into the Esses complex but only succeeded in running wide and almost allowing Taylor past.
De Villiers immediately set off after Vos, while behind Van der Linde, Moss and Taylor were going at it hammer-and-tongs. Coming out of Beacon on lap 3, Moss leaned on Van der Linde and got past, as Taylor followed through into Potters.
The lead changed on lap 4 when De Villiers passed his team-mate into the first Ess, after which, the two motored away from the field as they squabbled for position behind. Moss stopped at the pits later in the lap after the earlier bumping resulted in bodywork scraping on the rear tyre.
On lap 6, Marco dos Santos (Duckhams/Midas Nissan Sentra) hit Peters from behind ending his race on the spot. Dos Santos retired later in the race with engine problems.
Van der Linde got back ahead of Taylor around the outside of Potters on lap 8, but then outbraked himself at Cocabana on the same lap to lose the place again. Behind them, Briggs and Cowie were closing fast.
Another good run by Waberski came to an end on the same lap with driveshaft failure, after experiencing the same problem in practice.
On lap 9, Van der Linde tried the same move on Taylor as before, but this time made it stick despite the two cars touching. Briggs then attempted to pass on the inside of Taylor at Beacon but failed.
Vos threw away an easy second when he tried to take Potters flat out and promptly spun down the circuit. He rejoined in fifth. Van der Linde then spun on the last lap when his rear brakes locked at Cocabana.
De Villiers held on for the win from Taylor, Briggs, Vos, Cowie and Aberdein. Bezhuidenhout was next up, and the first privateer home, in seventh ahead of Nico van Rensburg (Hillbank Sentra) and Van der Linde in ninth.
Giniel de Villiers (Nissan) 17:47,700 Anthony Taylor (Audi) 17:52,874 Mike Briggs (BMW) 17:54,093 Duncan Vos (Nissan) 17:56,678 Hilton Cowie (Toyota) 17:57,552 Chris Aberdein (Audi) 17:58,993 George Bezhuidenhout (Nissan) 18:30,215 Nico van Rensburg (Nissan) 18:30,573 Shaun van der Linde (BMW) 19:06,446 Mark Peters (BMW) 1 lap