Kyalami report

AUDI ROMPS HOME The Rothmans Audi team fired the first salvo in what promises to be a season-long war when Chris Aberdein claimed pole position for both races in the opening rounds of the AA fleetcare Super Touring Championship, run at ...

AUDI ROMPS HOME

The Rothmans Audi team fired the first salvo in what promises to be a season-long war when Chris Aberdein claimed pole position for both races in the opening rounds of the AA fleetcare Super Touring Championship, run at Kyalami on Saturday and then followed this up with a win for himself with team mate Terry Moss also winning a race.

Out in the new Rothmans Audi quattro A4, Aberdein shared the front row of the grid in round one with BMW Motorplan driver Deon Joubert. Aberdein and Joubert edged out reigning champion Mike Briggs, in the Opel Racing Vectra, and Terry Moss in the second Rothmans Audi quattro A4.

Only two hundredths of a second separated Aberdein and former champion Shaun van der Linde in the BMW Envirocar. Van der Linde was on the third row of the grid with Port Elizabeth driver Shaun Watson- Smith, out in one of last year's factory Opel Vectras.

The top 10 was completed by New Zealand champion Craig Baird in the second BMW Envirocar, Grant McCleery in another of the factory Opel Vectras, former Grand Prix dziver Julian Bailey in the Minolta Toyota Camry and Hennie Groenewald in the Scania Audo quattro 80.

There were a couple of surprises in the second quaLifier for round two, with Aberdein this time sharing the front row with Van der Linde. Joubert was third fastest, with Watson-Smith outqualifying both Briggs and McCleery in the new Opel Vectras.

Moss and Baird were fifth and sixth fastest in the second session, with Briggs seventh and sharing the fourth row of the grid with Bailey. McCleery could only manage ninth fastest time, and shared the fifth row with Groenewald.

Pole position in Class B for rounds one and two went to Hein Lategan in the SAC/HeelMotors BMW. Lategan was almost two seconds quicker than newcomer George Hezuidenhout in the Nissan Sentra in which Duncan Vos won last year's Class B championship.

In the first race Deon Joubert made a determined start, blasting away from the line to put the Motorplan BMW out in front with Aberdein tucked in behind him and chasing hard. However, Aberdein's race lasted only two laps and he was forced to retire when the cam belt came adrift.

>From fifth place on the opening lap which saw a contretemps involving the two BP Nissan Sentras and the Scania Audi of Hennie Groenewald, Terry Moss drove like a man possessed to carve through the field, passing Shaun van der Linde, Grant McCleery and Mike Briggs to be in second place by lap three.

Joubert clung desperately to his lead but with four laps to go his tyres started to go off and Moss moved in, passing the BMW driver two laps from the finish to lead the field across the line. McCleery held on to give Opel third place ahead of the Van der Linde BMW with Briggs in the second Opel fifth ahead of imports Craig Baird (New Zealand) in a BMW and Julian Bailey in the Minolta Camry.

In the second race Chris Aberdein made amends for his first race problems by simply powering the Rothmans Audi A4 away from the line and into the lead he was to hold through to the chequer.

Behind him Shaun van der Linde had his hands full holding onto second place with BMW team mate Deon Joubert piling on the pressure, both of them aware of Moss' Audi again coming through the field from fifth place. Moss passed the Watson-Smith Opel on lap two and by lap four had split the two BMWs and finally moving into second place on lap six.

Joubert and van der Linde continued their battle over the third and fourth behind the two Audis. The pair overdid it at Wesbank, and the resultant coming together blew a four second lead over reigning champion Mike Briggs and Grant McCleery in the Opel Racing Vectras.

The incident also put Joubert out of the race, and cost him valuable championship points after a solid second place to Moss in the first heat.

Briggs collected a bonus third place ahead of Grant McCleery with Craig Baird finishing fifth ahead of Julian Bailey.

"We are extremely happy with the result," says Audi Sport Manager Andre van der Watt. "We specifically went out in practice to run both cars at full race distance so we could plan for the expected tyre wear. This, I believe gave us an edge over the other teams."

In Class B Heinrich Lategan in the SAC/Beelmotors BMW 318i won the first race from Don Bruins (Opel Astra 200iE) and Dave Repsold (Automark Toyota Sprinter).

A missed gear on the start line for the second race gave Charl Wilken (Toyota Sprinter) the edge and he won with Lategan finishing second ahead of Nico van Rensburg (Nissan Sentra)

RESULTS

SOUTH AFRICAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUNDS 1 & 2, KYALAMI (ZA), 2 X 12 LAPS - 102,25 KM, MARCH 09

Heat 1 1. Terry Moss (Audi A4 Quattro), 21m43,04s, 141,3 km/h; 2. Deon Joubert (BMW 318i), 21m44,24s; 3. Grant McCleery (Opel Vectra), 21m47,89s; 4. Shaun van der Linde (BMW 318i), 21m50,13s; 5. Michael Briggs (Opel Vectra), 21m56,40s; 6. Craig Baird (BMW 318i), 21m58,36s; 7. Julian Bailey (Toyota Camry), 22m21,37s; 8. Mark de Nobrega (BMW M3), 23m01,36s; 9. Hennie Groenewald (Audi 80 Quattro), 23m08,13s 10. Heinrich Lategan (BMW 318i), 11 laps

Heat 2

1.      Chris Aberdein (Audi A4 Quattro), 21m31,83s, 142,5 km/h
2.      Terry Moss (Audi A4 Quattro), 21m33,06s,
3.      Michael Briggs (Opel Vectra), 21m45,18s;
4.      Grant McCleery (Opel Vectra), 21m45,66s;        
5.      Craig Baird (BMW 318i), 21m50,40s
6.      Julian Bailey (Toyota Camry), 21m52,82s;
7.      Shaun van der Linde (BMW 318i), 21m52,63s;
8.      Shaun Watson-Smith (Opel Vectra), 21m53,69s;
9.      Hennie Groenewald (Audi 80 Quattro), 21m54,34s
10.     Anthony Taylor (Toyota Camry), 21m59,03s

POINTS POSITION (AFTER 2 ROUNDS)

Class A

1. Moss 15; 2. Aberdein 9; 3. McCleery 7; 4. Briggs/Joubert 6; 6. Van der Linde/Baird 3; 7. Bailey 1.

Class B

1. Lategan 15; 2. Wilken 11; 3. Bruins 8; 4. Repsold 7; 5. Van Rensburg 4.

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Series General
Drivers Julian Bailey , Craig Baird , Shaun Watson-Smith , Hennie Groenewald , Duncan Vos