Vodacom Winter Nationals qualifying AA Kyalami report

Surprises In Vodacom Winter Nationals Qualifying There were one or two surprises, which makes for good racing, in today's qualifying sessions for the Vodacom Winter nationals meeting at AA Kyalami tomorrow. BMW entries dominated qualifying for...

Surprises In Vodacom Winter Nationals Qualifying

There were one or two surprises, which makes for good racing, in today's qualifying sessions for the Vodacom Winter nationals meeting at AA Kyalami tomorrow.

BMW entries dominated qualifying for the Midas Production Car Championship event. Sandwiched between pole sitter Shaun van der Linde (Van der Linde Racing BMW) and brother Etienne in third place in a sister car, was Richard Sorenson with the three BMW 318s ahead of the Ford Credit Ford Fairmont of Steve Wyndham.

Right behind Wyndham was the Castrol Toyota Corolla of Class B pole man Charl Wilken. The Pretoria driver and team-mate Mark Cronje dominated Class B and were more than a second quicker than the first of the AMG Hondas, driven by Clint Weston, who was ninth overall. Weston was followed by AMG Honda team-mate Gavin Cronje in 10th place with championship leader Curt Alchin further back in 13th place.

The Class C qualifiers were headed by Cape Town pair Philip Booysen and Lawrence Boshoff, in Honda Ballades, with just one tenth of a second separating the pair. Ian Long (Honda Ballade), Bert Grogor (Opel Kadett) and veteran Hector North (Honda) were next up.

Championship leader Stephen Taylor (Delta Parts Opel Corsa) was fastest in Class D with Fanie de Bruyn (Ford Credit Ford Fiesta) second. Leeroy Poulter in a second Delta Parts Opel Corsa was third with Philip Kekana (Sasol Toyota Tazz) a disappointing seventh. Kekana won both heats in East London last time out, and is third in the championship behind Taylor and Poulter.

Championship leader Cor Kraamwinkel (Opel Kadett) and reigning champion James Menin (Opel Corsa) had to take a back seat to Dave Compton (Toyota Tazz) in Class E. <pre> Top 10: 1 S van der Linde (BMW) 2:04,976 2 R Sorenson (BMW) 2:05,282 3 E van der Linde (BMW) 2:05,436 4 S Wyndham (Ford Fairmont) 2:06,319 5 C Wilken (Toyota Corolla) 2:06,455 6 M Cronje (Toyota Corolla) 2:06,854 7 C Wentzel (BMW) 2:07,145 8 G Kelsey (BMW) 2:07,355 9 C Weston (Honda Ballade) 2:07,568 10 G Cronje (Honda Ballade) 2:07,723. </pre> Only three tenths of a second separated the first four qualifiers in the Engen Volkswagen Cup.

Eastern Cape driver Tschops Sipuka sneaked pole position by one tenth of a second from Iain Pepper, with championship leader Graeme Nathan a further tenth of a second behind in third place. Nathan was only 200ths of a second ahead of Michael Stephen who edged out father Neil in the battle for fourth and fifth on the grid.

Championship contender Derrick Irving will start from the back of the grid after missing qualifying because of a business commitment. <pre> Top 10: 1 T Sipuka (VW Polo) 02:07,45 2 I Pepper VW Polo) 02:07,592 3 G Nathan (VW Polo) 02:07,272 4 M Stephen (VW Polo) 02:07,745 5 N Stephen (VW Polo) 02:08,026 6 G Donker (VW Polo) 02:08,260 7 C Singh (VW Polo) 02:08,399 8 S Thompson (VW Polo) 02:08,454 9 F Tafani (VW Polo) 02:08,939 10 M Briers (VW Polo) 02:09,058. </pre> The old guard, including championship leader Sarel van der Merwe (Sasol Ford Mustang), had to take a back seat in qualifying for the Wesbank V8 Championship event.

It was, however, desperately close at the top. Just over a second separated the first eight cars, with the Wesbank event scheduled to be run over 20 laps.

Pole position went to Riaan Botma (Chev Camaro) ahead of Johan Fourie (M and D Transport Ford Mustang) who has won the last four races on the trot. Third was Deon Joubert who was followed by Petronas Opel Astra team-mate Shaun Watson-Smith, with the pair delighted with a strong showing. Veteran Ben Morgenrood (Auto Trader Ford Mustang) held off Hennie Groenewald (Chev Camaro) with a late burst taking him ahead of van der Merwe in the Sasol Ford Mustang. <pre> Top 10: 1 R Botma (Chev Camaro) 1:43,314 2 J Fourie (Ford Mustang) 1:43,435 3 D Joubert (Opel Astra) 1:43,751 4 S Watson-Smith (Opel Astra) 1:43,781 5 B Morgenrood (Ford Mustang) 1:43,945 6 H Groenewald (Chev Camaro) 1:43,946 7 S van der Merwe (Ford Mustang) 1:44,508 8 L Wilford (Ford Mustang) 1:44,802 9 W Hepburn (Chev Camaro) 1:45,334 10 R du Plessis (Chev Camaro) 1:45,530.

-Vodacom

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