Kyalami Wesbank V8 series 2001-05-05

Sarel van der Merwe stamped his authority on the Wesbank V8 championship at Kyalami when he scored a double victory on Saturday 5 May. 1984 Daytona 24 hour winner and multiple rally champion Supervan beat the similar Ford Mustang of Ben Morgenrood.

Sarel van der Merwe stamped his authority on the Wesbank V8 championship at Kyalami when he scored a double victory on Saturday 5 May. 1984 Daytona 24 hour winner and multiple rally champion Supervan beat the similar Ford Mustang of Ben Morgenrood. Behind the Mustangs came the Camaro's. Heat one saw pole sitter Riaan Botma finish 3rd in his Camaro, while in heat 2 veteran Willie Hepburn took the final podium spot in his Camaro, followed by Bothma.

The arrival of Opel marks the first direct factory involvement in the Transam style series since the Audi vs Ford vs Mazda battles of the late eighties and early nineties. Deon Joubert bagged two 5th places after qualifying 4th, while Shaun Watson-Smith qualified 5th and finished 6th and 7th respectively.

Race 1 saw Bothma lead away from pole, opening up a lead over Van der Merwe, who in turn was followed by Morgenrood. Championship leader Larry Wilford, who won last time out in Cape Town, was out of luck, failing to complete a lap.

On lap 2 Van der Merwe took the lead from Botma, with Morgenrood finding his way past as well. The rest of the race saw Morgenrood vainly trying to catch Van der Merwe, who eventually won comfortably.

Further back the new Viper of Mike Morrell was nudged off by Ray Wilford, nephew of Larry. Wiflord eventually finished 13th and Morrell 15th. Van der Merwe's rookie teammate Gugu Zulu came 11th after qualfying 9th.

Race two saw Van der Merwe start on pole and stay in the lead. Behind him the battle between Morgenrood and Botma saw Bothma go cross-country and end up behind the now third placed Willie Hepburn. Behind them Joubert held off Hennie Groenewald, who was followed by the other Astra Shaun Watson-Smith.

As in the first race Van der Merwe pulled away from the 2nd placed man Morgenrood, who in turn opened a gap on Hepburn and the pursuing Botma. By the halfway mark Morgenrood started closing in on Van der Merwe, but then he dropped back again.

The the battle for 5th was resolved in favour of Joubert as Groenewald started falling back. The closing stages of the race were enlivened by the battle for third between Hepburn and Botma, with Hepburn hanging on for the final rostrum position.

The double win took Van der Merwe to the top of the championship. He is followed by Morgenrood and Hepburn, while the unfortunate Wilford has dropped right out of conention.

<pre> QUALIFYING 4TH MAY 2001

RIAAN BOTMA             1.44.114
SAREL VD MERWE          1.44.367
BEN MORGENROOD          1.44.490
DEON JOUBERT            1.45.464
WILLIE HEPBURN          1.46.119
SHAUN WATSON-SMITH      1.46.325
ROELF DU PLESSIS        1.46.533
DEREK VAN BLERK         1.46.958
FRANCOIS GERBER         1.47.424
GUGU ZULU               1.48.184
MIKE MORRELL            1.48.360

RACE 3- HEAT 1 - RESULTS

SAREL VAN DER MERWE     Ford Mustang
BEN MORGENROOD          Ford Mustang
RIAAN BOTMA             Chevrolet Camaro
WILLIE HEPBURN          Chevrolet Camaro
DEON JOUBERT            Opel Astra V8
SHAUN WATSON-SMITH      Opel Astra V8

RACE 3 - HEAT 2 - RESULTS

SAREL VAN DER MERWE     Ford Mustang
BEN MORGENROOD          Ford Mustang
WILLIE HEPBURN          Chevrolet Camaro
RIAAN BOTMA             Chevrolet Camaro
DEON JOUBERT            Opel Astra V8
HENNIE GROENEWALD       Chevrolet Camaro

</pre> -Barry de Klerk

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Series General
Drivers Shaun Watson-Smith , Sarel van der Merwe , Hennie Groenewald