BANKFIN SOUTH AFRICAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP COLIN WINDELL Nissan had a great day at the Mercedes-Benz East London Grand Prix Circuit on Saturday with a 1-2-3 victory in the first race backed up a with a 1-2 in the second - De Villiers...
BANKFIN SOUTH AFRICAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Nissan had a great day at the Mercedes-Benz East London Grand Prix Circuit on Saturday with a 1-2-3 victory in the first race backed up a with a 1-2 in the second - De Villiers winning both despite a somewhat nerve wracking start to the weekend.
Wet practice conditions on Friday saw several cars slide off the track including the Engen Audi of Terry Moss. En route to the safety of the barriers after leaving his stricken car in the gravel trap, Moss was hit by Giniel de Villiers' Nissan Primera which slid off in the same place. Still wearing his helmet, Moss emerged from the close encounter severely bruised but fortunately with no lasting injury.
In the first race defending champion Giniel de Villiers (BP Nissan Primera) had a clean start and ran away from the pack with a promising battle developing behind him between Anthony Taylor (Engen Audi) in second who was under heavy pressure from Duncan Vos in a second BP Nissan Primera, Mike Briggs (Sasol BMW) and team-mate Shaun van der Linde followed by privateer Marco Dos Santos (Nissan Primera) to make up the top six.
Dos Santos started his onslaught for the Nissan 1-2-3 on lap 3 when he passed Shaun Watson-Smith (Petronas Opel Vectra) and then squeezed past Van der Linde in the back straight as Vos passed Taylor with two Nissans leading the pack at the end of lap 3. But it was not over yet. On lap 4 Dos Santos again surprised a BMW driver, this time finding a way around the Sasol 318i of Mike Briggs to move into fourth with only the Engen Audi of Anthony Taylor spoiling the green BP Nissan Primera train.
Briggs ran into problems with a broken gearbox and retired to the pits at the end of lap 5, followed two laps later by team-mate Van der Linde, also with a broken gearbox.
Hennie Groenewald (standing in for Terry Moss) spectacularly ran wide on lap 8 as Dos Santos made a daring move to pass Taylor on the inside of the last corner into the pit straight, only to be passed again by Taylor who clearly had the advantage as far as horsepower goes. But, Dos Santos was determined to finish on the podium and again passed Taylor - this time in the ultra-quick Potter's Pass sweep to settle for third.
De Villiers, Vos and Dos Santos cleared the line in the second 1-2-3 Nissan train this season followed by Taylor, Watson-Smith, Mark Peters (BP Nissan Primera), Silvio Scribante in the Deon Joubert Petronas Opel Vectra (Joubert had an emergency appendix operation on Wednesday), and Groenewald a remote 8th.
Nissan sealed the manufacturer's prize for the day with another win for De Villiers with Vos making it a double for the BP Nissan Primera team. Watson-Smith led the race from his pole starting position for the first six laps when De Villiers closed in with Vos following on lap 10 after passing Taylor.
Watson-Smith managed to hold onto third with Taylor who recovered from a bad start to move up to fourth overall, followed by Dos Santos who fought his way to the front from 9th at the end of lap 1 to 5th. Mark Peters took the last points position to make it four Nissan Primeras in the points.
Briggs, Chris Aberdein (who retired his Engen Audi with a broken rim in the first race) and Groenewald completed the line-up.
SOUTH AFRICAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUNDS 5 & 6, EAST LONDON GRAND PRIX CIRCUIT (ZA), 2 x 12 LAPS, 94,08 KM, APR 10, Race 1 1. Giniel de Villiers (Nissan Primera), 18m01,83s, 1m29,42, 159 km/h; 2. Duncan Vos (Nissan Primera), 18m02,28s; 3. Marco dos Santos (Nissan Primera), 18m05,74s; 4. Anthony Taylor (Audi), 18m06,96s; 5. Shaun Watson-Smith (Opel Vectra), 18m09,40s; 6. Mark Peters (Nissan Primera), 18,m11,57s; 7. Silvio Scribante (Opel Vectra), 18m25,08s; 8. Hennie Groenewald (Audi), 18m47,27s; 9. George Bezuidenhout (Nissan Primera Procar), -1.
Procar Challenge: 1. George Bezuidenhout (Nissan Primera), 2. Dawie Joubert (Honda); 3. Brian Martin (Toyota).
Fastest Lap: Marco dos Santos, 1m29,03s
2: 1. Giniel de Villiers (Nissan Primera), 18m04,14s, 1m28,31s, 156 km/h; 2. Duncan Vos (Nissan Primera), 18m04,96s; 3. Shaun Watson-Smith (Opel Vectra), 18m07,03s; 4. Anthony Taylor (Audi), 18m07,53s; 5. Marco dos Santos (Nissan Primera), 18m13,53s; 6. Mark Peters (Nissan Primera), 18m14,35s; 7. Michael Briggs (BMW), 18m18,18s; 8. Chris Aberdein (Audi), 18m20,44s; 9. Hennie Groenewald (Audi), 18m24,25s; 10. Cliff Wilkinson (Nissan Sentra), 19m42,51s .
Procar Challenge: 1. George Bezuidenhout; 2. Brian Martin, 3. Dawie Joubert.
Championship Points: 1 de Villiers, 80; 2 Vos, 49; 3 van der Linde, 43; 4 Peters, 40; 5 dos Santos, 36; 6 Aberdein, 25.