East London GP preview

The Midas Production Car travelling circus will perform on the country's most challenging stage with much at stake next Saturday (October 27). Rounds 19 and 20 of the 2001 South African Midas Production Car Championship will be held at the East...

The Midas Production Car travelling circus will perform on the country's most challenging stage with much at stake next Saturday (October 27).

Rounds 19 and 20 of the 2001 South African Midas Production Car Championship will be held at the East London Grand Prix circuit - without doubt the fastest venue visited by the near-standard passenger car brigade during the course of the year.

With just four of the season's 22 races left, five drivers are still in line to win this year's overall Midas Production Car title - and none of them can afford to make any mistakes in East London.

At the top of the points log, two competitors from the opposite poles of the Production Car field will continue a season-long fight for supremacy. Currently, Class E privateer Cor Kraamwinkel is the overall Championship leader in his Goldi Chicken Opel Kadett 140iS, a sparse three points ahead of Class A Castrol BMW 328i driver Shaun van der Linde. Both drivers will need two victories and two quickest race lap times in East London - tall orders, in the ultra-competitive Midas Production Car jungle.

Also still mathematically able to clinch the year's overall accolade are Class D Deltaparts Opel Corsa 160 GSi drivers Leeroy Poulter and Stephen Taylor, plus Class B Team Total Honda Ballade V-TEC pilot Curt Alchin.

The title fights apart, a field of more than 50 cars should provide the East London enthusiasts with spectacle from the top drawer. In Class A, Shaun van der Linde's overall title quest will be backed by the shotgun-riding efforts of team mate Michael Briggs in an identical Castrol BMW 328i. Their toughest competition will probably come from Steve Wyndham, who beat the BMW brigade in a straight fight with his Ford Credit Fairmont at Killarney three weekends ago.

Also able to take victories will be Kaye-Eddie BMW 328i drivers Reghardt Roets and Gavin Kelsey, Richard Sorensen (Auto Body BMW 328i) and Peter Lanz in his old but swift Nissan Maxima QX.

Rounding out the class - hopefully having overcome a myriad of technical hitches - will be the Champion Subaru Impreza WRX of Michele Lupini. The possibility of another all-wheel-drive, turbocharged Subaru on the grid, driven by saloon car veteran Mike O'Sullivan, was also mooted this week.

The Team Total Honda equip, led by overall title contender Curt Alchin, should dominate in Class B. Backing Alchin in identical Ballade V-TEC models will be Team Total's Gavin Cronje and Clinton Weston, with their nearest opposition the AV Toyota Corolla RSi of privateer Mario da Sousa. Capetonians Lawrence Boshoff (Orbit Coach Works Honda Ballade 180i) and Phillip Booysen (Barnetts Honda Ballade 180i) will start as the Class C favourites, challenged by Bert Grogor (Fairdeal Midas Opel Kadett 180i) and Dawie Brough (Honda Ballade 180i).

With five manufacturers represented, the Class D races could provide some of the day's best spectacle. Topping the entry, and running under absolute no team orders, will be overall title contenders Leeroy Poulter and Stephen Taylor in their Deltaparts Opel Corsa 160 GSi entries. Challenging - and able to beat them - will be Fanie de Bruin (Makita Ford Fiesta RSi), Phillip Kekana (Sasol Toyota Tazz 160iRS), Etienne du Toit ((M&R Ford Fiesta RSi) Jaco Correia (Honda Ballade 160i) and Dawie de Villiers in his ever-improving Daihatsu Sirion.

In Class E, Cor Kraamwinkel cannot afford to score anything less than both of the day's race wins - coupled to the quickest laps - with his Goldi Chicken Opel Kadett 140iS. Determined to rain on his parade will be Dave Compton (Toyota Tazz), VW CitiGolf drivers Angus Thompson and Roby Beninca, James Menin (Goldpro Midas Opel Corsa 130iS) and Jody Powell (Opel Corsa 140iS).

-mpcc-

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Series General
Drivers Gavin Cronje , Leeroy Poulter