Kyalami round one results

KYALAMI, FEB 24 - Sarel van der Merwe (Sasol Ford Mustang) claimed line honours in the opening round of the WesBank V8 Championship at AA Kyalami at the weekend - a day of racing remarkable only in that it was just the second time since 1988 that...

KYALAMI, FEB 24 - Sarel van der Merwe (Sasol Ford Mustang) claimed line honours in the opening round of the WesBank V8 Championship at AA Kyalami at the weekend - a day of racing remarkable only in that it was just the second time since 1988 that a full programme could not be completed due to rain.

Circuit conditions were atrocious but a brief spell of quiet allowed the track to dry enough for the V8s to complete one of the two scheduled races - Van der Merwe's long rally heritage giving him an advantage in the slippery conditions and allowing him to dominate from lap 2 through to the flag.

Poleman Roelf du Plessis in the Petronas Chev Camaro was quick off the line but lost his clutch on the opening lap and struggled through to finally finish ninth overall. Ben Morgenrood (Ford Mustang) produced a storming run to carve his way through the field from fourth at the start to second place with early challenger Larry Wilford (Ford Mustang) being forced to concede his runner-up spot three laps from the finish.

Riaan Botma (Chev Camaro) finished fourth overall some 10 seconds adrift of the leader. He was followed home by Willie Hepburn (Chev Camaro) and Franco di Matteo (Mazda MX6).

All cars in the WesBank V8 series use either Chevrolet, Ford or Chrysler V8 engines.

The wet conditions also affected the Midas Production Car series - one heat was completed and the second abandoned after the race was red flagged for a second time.

The opening encounter started out as the battle of the Van der Linde brothers with Shaun getting the hole-shot in his BMW 328i closely followed by Etienne in a similar car. Constant pressure for the entire eight laps finally paid off for Reghardt Roets in the Kaye-Eddie BMW when he managed to muscle his way past Etienne on the final lap.

Chad Wentzel (BMW 328i) finished fourth ahead of Michele Lupini having his first outing in the Subaru Impreza WRX - this car very quick off the line but still needing development work to produce more power and better handling.

Class B honours went to Charl Wilken (Toyota Corolla RSi) from Gavin Cronje (Honda Ballade V-Tec) while Hector North (Honda) claimed Class C. The Class D battle saw Stephen Taylor (Opel Corsa 160 GSi) take the win from the similar car of Leeroy Poulter. In Class E Cor Kraamwinkel (Opel Kadett 140i) won for the day from James Menin (Opel Corsa 130iS).

RESULTS
SOUTH AFRICAN SALOON CAR CHAMPIONSHIPS, ROUND 1 KYALAMI (ZA), 1 x 8 LAPS, 34,08 Km, FEB 24, WesBank V8:
1. Sarel van der Merwe (Ford Mustang), 19m31,78s, 2m24,13s, 105 km/h; 2. Ben Morgenrood (Ford Mustang), 15m45,80s; 3. Larry Wilford (Ford Mustang), 15m54,28s; 4. Riaan Botma (Chev Camaro), 15m55,26s; 5. Willie Hepburn (Chev Camaro), 15m55,89s; 6. Franco de Matteo (Mazda MX6), 16m50,06s.

Midas Production Cars:
1. Shaun van der Linde (BMW 328i), 19m31,78s, 2m24,13, 105 km/h; 2. Reghardt Roets (BMW 328i), 19m32,69s; 3. Etienne van der Linde (BMW 328i), 19m33,53s; 4. Chad Wentzel (BMW 328i), 19m49,50s); 5. Michele Lupini (Subaru Impreza WRX), 19m53,16s; 6. Gavin Kelsey (BMW 328i), 19m55,17.

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Series General
Drivers Sarel van der Merwe , Gavin Cronje , Leeroy Poulter