Seventeen year-old Armani Jamrozinski came of age at the Aldo Scribante race circuit in Port Elizabeth yesterday when he took his maiden win in round nine of the South African Formula Ford Championship at the Vodacom Power Tour races held in Port Elizabeth.
It was an almost fairytale weekend for the youngster, as he skipped Friday practice due to school exams. Then in Saturday morning's free practice the team discovered that a suspension damper had broken on the Diesel Clothing / Pilot Freight Van Diemen during transportation.
They considered pulling out of the event, but decided against it. Unfazed by the lack of track time, Jamrozinski produced a superb effort in qualifying to set the fourth fastest time. In race one he pressured newly crowned champion Morne Jurgens (The Truck Den Mygale) all the way to the flag, before being granted a rather fortuitous win when Jurgens was penalized for bumping Robert Wolk (AfintaPart Mygale), who was in the lead at the time, off the circuit.
However, there was no holding Jamrozinski back in race two. From third on the grid he immediately moved into second place and pressurized Jurgens hard for the first half of the race. He then pulled of a superb overtaking manoeuvre to take the lead and never looked back as he opened a 4.5 sec gap over his pursuers to take his second win of the day.
With Wolk being bumped out of the first race, and Jurgens excluded, it was left to Martin Robinson (Nescafe / Leeroy Somer Mygale) to score his best result of the year in second place, setting the fastest lap time in the process. Unfortunately, he retired on the first lap of the second race with a broken suspension, but nevertheless still moved from sixth to fifth in the championship standings.
Michael Atkins (Xumbug Mygale) qualified poorly in eighth place for race one, but drove a very good race to finish third, ahead of brothers Paulo and Marco da Cunha (DCM Line Boring Van Diemen) respectively. Marco survived an early spin to recover to fifth place. Ford Racing development driver Chad Francis (Ford Racing Mygale) finished in a strong sixth place after one of his best performances in the category.
Race two produced the race of the day as Jurgens, Jamrozinski, Wolk, Atkins and Marco da Cunha were all in the thick of the fight for the victors spoils for most of the race. After promising so much on the day, Wolk was the first to drop off the lead bunch when he spun at mid-distance, leaving the rest to slug it out.
Once Jamrozinski had passed Jurgens for the lead, Da Cunha picked up the cudgels and took the fight to the double champion, but was himself under pressure from Atkins; the trio running as one around the track.
With three laps to go Da Cunha found a way past and opened a small gap as Jurgens came under immediate attack from Atkins. With laps running out the latter could not find a way past and had to settle for fourth. Francis came home fifth in another good drive, with Paulo da Cunha in sixth.
ARMANI JAMROZINSKY -- 1st Overall: "What's happened this weekend is hard to comprehend. I missed Friday because of school commitments and then lost practice time on Saturday morning with a suspension problem. We did not expect much after that, but things turned out superbly and I am very happy to have taken my first win. I hope it is the first of many!"
MARCO DA CUNHA -- 2nd Overall: "That was a great race. The second was so close and it was a tough fight to get past Morne, but I am very pleased that I managed to pass him cleanly and will be hoping to do the same much more often. Unfortunately, I messed up the first race by spinning, but it was also good to fight my way back through he field."
Atkins -- 3rd Overall: "It is disappointing to miss out on second overall by just 0.001 sec to Marco, but that is how competitive this formula is - every fraction of a second counts. Nevertheless, considering that we started from eighth on the grid, I am very satisfied that we could achieve third overall today."
Championship points after round 9:
1) Morne Jurgens - 147
2) Michael Atkins - 103
3) Marco da Cunha - 75
4) Garth Waberski - 66
5) Martin Robinson - 49
6) Robert Wolk - 48