Battered cars, bruised egos and brilliant spectacle typified Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2001 Midas Production Car Championship at the Eastern Cape Aldo Scribante circuit on Saturday (March 24). The near-standard tin-top brigade brought 46 cars to...
Battered cars, bruised egos and brilliant spectacle typified Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2001 Midas Production Car Championship at the Eastern Cape Aldo Scribante circuit on Saturday (March 24).
The near-standard tin-top brigade brought 46 cars to Port Elizabeth, to royally entertain an 18 000-strong crowd.
In Class A, defending 2000 Champion Reghardt Roets scored both of the day's race victories in his Kaye-Eddie BMW 328i, to snatch the lead in this year's overall Midas Production Car Championship.
Behind him, things did not proceed as smoothly.
About 30 seconds after the start of the opening race, the Nissan Maxima QX of Peter Lanz was punted off the circuit by the BMW 328i of Richard Sorensen. Two corners later, still on the first lap, the Castrol BMW 328i of Shaun van der Linde collected Steve Wyndham's Ford Credit Falcon in the Hairpin corner, sending the Ford into a series of mid-pack gyrations.
All of which left Roets in a lead which he held to the flag, finishing narrowly ahead of Etienne van der Linde (Castrol BMW 328i), Gavin Kelsey (Kaye-Eddie BMW 328i) and the similar cars of Shaun van der Linde and Richard Sorensen.
In Race Two Roets led from the start, initially just ahead of Kaye-Eddie team mate Gavin Kelsey and the Van der Linde brothers in their Castrol BMWs. The formation was interrupted on Lap 6 when Kelsey's car was punted by the Shaun van der Linde BMW just before the Esses.
Kelsey's resultant off-road excursion dropped him to fourth place where he finished, behind Roets, plus Shaun and Etienne van der Linde. The fifth and sixth places went respectively to Richard Sorensen in his BMW and Steve Wyndham in the Ford Credit Falcon.
The first Class B race saw Team Total's Gavin Cronje lead from flag to flag in his Honda Ballade V-TEC, setting the meeting's quickest class lap en route. Behind him Curt Alchin (Team Total Honda Ballade V-TEC) took second place, marginally ahead of works Castrol Toyota Corolla RSi drivers Charl Wilken and Mark Cronje.
The drama of the race was supplied by Team Total's Clinton Weston, who crashed his Honda V-TEC into a tyre wall and instant retirement after a bumping match with the two factory Toyotas. Weston's retirement left the fifth and sixth places to privateers Brian Luyt (Opel Astra 200iE) and Dave Kopke (Castrol Toyota Corolla RSi).
In the second race Gavin Cronje, now carrying 50 kg of handicap mass in his Team Total Honda, battled with the cars handling. Curt Alchin picked up the gauntlet and won in his Team Total Honda, beating off a spirited challenge from Castrol Toyota twins Mark Cronje and Charl Wilken. Clint Weston took his repaired Honda to fourth place, followed by Gavin Cronje's similar car and Brian Luyt's Opel Astra 200iE.
Bert Grogor (Opel Kadett 180iS) took both of the day's Class C victories with faultless driving performances. In the opening race Hector North (Mercurius Honda Ballade 180i) and Doug Reekie (Ray-Ban Honda Ballade) took second and third places.
The following heat saw North's car slow with a misfire two laps from the end to elevate Reekie and Vaughn Williams (Mobil 1 Honda Ballade) to the runner-up podium places.
DeltaPart Opel Corsa 160 GSi team mates Leeroy Poulter and Stephen Taylor swapped first and second places in the two Class D races. On both occasions they were sternly challenged by the new Ford Fiesta RSi of Etienne du Toit. The Fiesta, which turned a wheel for the first time just before Friday's qualifying session, impressed mightily and will be a factor to be reckoned with for the rest of the season.
Nyameka Williams (Petronas Opel Corsa 160 GSi) and Phillip Kekana (Sasol Toyota Tazz 160iRS) took turns in the respective fourth places.
James Menin (Goldpro Midas Opel Corsa 130 iS) won both the Class E heats ahead of Cor Kraamwinkel (Goldi Chicken Opel Kadett 140i). The respective third places went to Angus Thompson (Nissan Sentra 140i) and Dave Compton (Toyota Tazz).
Compton was voted as CAR Magazine's Rookie of the Race, while Thompson's efforts reaped the CAR Magazine Trier of the Day award.
The next round of the 2001 Midas Production Car Championship will be held at AA Kyalami on Saturday, May 5.
SOUTH AFRICAN PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIPS, ROUNDS 3 & 4 ALDO SCRIBANTE (ZA), 2 x 15 LAPS, 74,4 km, MAR 24,
Midas Production Cars: Race 1 1. Reghardt Roets (BMW 328i), 18m36,43s, 1m13,27s, 122 km/h; 2. Etienne van der Linde (BMW 328i), 18m36,92s; 3. Gavin Kelsey (BMW 328i), 18m41,15s; 4. Shaun van der Linde (BMW 328i), 18m47,27s; 5. Richard Sorenson (BMW328i), 18m48,59s; 6. Steve Wyndham (Ford Falcon), 18m56,08s.
Race 2 1. Reghardt Roets (BMW 328i), 18m45,02s, 1m13,96s, 119 km/h; 2. Shaun van der Linde (BMW 328i), 18m45,49s; 3. Etienne van der Linde (BMW 328i), 18m48,07s; 4. Gavin Kelsey (BMW 328i), 18m48,27s; 5. Richard Sorenson (BMW328i), 18m54,40s; 6. Steve Wyndham (Ford Falcon), 18m55,28s.
Overall 2001 Midas Production Car Championship points standing, after three Rounds (one at Kyalami washed out): <pre> 1 Reghardt Roets - Class A BMW 328i - 26 Points 2 Stephen Taylor - Class D Opel Corsa 160 GSi - 25 Points 3 James Menin - Class E Opel Corsa 130iS - 24 Points 4 Cor Kraamwinkel - Class E Opel Kadett 140i; Leeroy Poulter - Class D Opel Corsa 160 GSi and Gavin Cronje - Class B Honda Ballade V-TEC - 22 Points 7 Curt Alchin - Class B Honda Ballade V-TEC - 20 Points 8 Shaun van der Linde - Class A BMW 328i - 19 Points 9 Charl Wilken - Class B Toyota Corolla RSi - 18 Points 10 Etienne van der Linde - Class A BMW 328i; Dave Compton - Class E Toyota Tazz - 14 Points