East London race report

Wet Conditions Add To Vodacom Roadshow Drama In East London The weather turned nasty for the Vodacom Roadshow meeting at the Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, with champions won and lost - and others still in a state of flux -...

Wet Conditions Add To Vodacom Roadshow Drama In East London

The weather turned nasty for the Vodacom Roadshow meeting at the Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, with champions won and lost - and others still in a state of flux - as the 2001 seasons winds down.

Heavy rain made life uncomfortable for drivers throughout the weekend, and there were incidents galore. In among the mayhem, however, there were some significant championship developments.

At the front of the Midas Production Car Championship matters swung the way of Class A champion Shaun van der Linde. Squabbling with Cor Kraamwinkel for overall honours this season van der Linde, in the van der Linde Racing BMW, finally put some daylight between himself and the Pretoria driver (Goldi Chicken Opel Kadett) who has already won the Class E title.

Van der Linde took a brace of wins, ahead of team-mate Mike Briggs, while Kraamwinkel had a day to forget. The Pretoria driver could only manage third place in heat one, and then a big accident at Potters Pass ruled him out of heat two.

A first and a second saw Curt Alchin (Total AMG Honda Ballade) clinch the Class B title ahead of team-mate Gavin Cronje. The Honda squad have had matters all their own way since the withdrawal of the Team Castrol Toyota team from the Midas series, with Alchin now among the most successful drivers in the Midas series.

The Class C wins were shared by Bert Grogor (Opel Kadett) and Capetonian Philip Booysen (Honda Ballade), with Etienne Du Toit (M&R Ford Fiesta) and Fanie de Bruin (Makita Ford Fiesta) taking the Class D wins. Angus Thompson (VW Citi Golf) and Roby Beninca (VW Citi Golf) took the Class E wins.

Fun and games saw the Wesbank V8 Championship heading for an exciting climax in Cape Town in a fortnight. Championship leader Sarel van der Merwe lost a little ground in what was a trying weekend for the Sasol Ford team.

Supervan's ageing Ford Mustang caught fire during a practice session, and team-mate Gugu Zulu crashed the second Sasol Ford Mustang when bodywork came loose on the back straight. Technical crew worked overtime to rebuild a single car for Supervan, with a fifth and a seventh gathering in precious championship points.

Closest challenger Ben Morgenrood also had a trying weekend and a collapsed suspension on the Auto Trader Ford Mustang put him out of the opening heat. Morgenrood borrowed Steve Smith's old Ford Falcon for the second heat and a sixth kept him in the championship hunt.

Supervan and Morgenrood will now fight out the title issue with Johan Fourie (M&D Ford Mustang) who took a pair of wins to continue his march in a series he only joined a third of the way through the season. Fourie took the first heat ahead of Shaun Watson-Smith (Petronas Opel Astra) and the second ahead of Deon Joubert in the second factory Opel.

Morne Jurgens, in the Truck Den Mygale, took both wins in the Sasol Formula Ford outing. For Jurgens, however, it was a case of too little too late with Jonathan du Toit already having clinched the title.

In the Engen VW Cup series a second and a fourth virtually assured Midrand driver Graeme Nathan (Ciro Coffee VW Polo) of the title. Former champion Marthinus Briers (VolkswagenSure VW Polo) and Tschops Sipuka (Engen VW Polo) shared the wins, but Nathan looks to be home and dry as far as the championship is concerned.

-VR-

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Series General
Drivers Steve Smith , Shaun Watson-Smith , Gavin Cronje