SA Championship Touring Cars Race One An odd thing happened in Friday qualifying: none of the drivers wanted to be near the front of the grid as they would pick up a weight penalty for the race. The consensus was that the penalties would prove...
SA Championship Touring Cars Race One
An odd thing happened in Friday qualifying: none of the drivers wanted to be near the front of the grid as they would pick up a weight penalty for the race. The consensus was that the penalties would prove to be too severe in terms of tyre wear, jeopardising their chances of winning.
Therefore, we had the very peculiar situation of drivers backing off on the final straight so as not to be fastest, but still trying to not be at the back of the grid.
In the end Chris Aberdein (Audi A4) took the pole for both races, picking up 75 kg of ballast for his efforts. At the start he led off the line, and quickly opened up a gap to the rest of the field as they squabbled for position - and had their usual first corner accident!
This time Marco do Santos (Nissan Sentra) came off worst, spinning into the dirt and then having to retire after a lap with a broken rear suspension.
Mike Briggs (BMW) was also out on the first lap when he slowed with a malfunctioning alternator. But, before he could get back to the pits, Nico van Rensburg (Nissan Sentra) ploughed into the back of him ending both their races on the spot.
Up front Aberdein led new team-mate Anthony Taylor on the first lap with Terry Moss making it an Audi 1-2-3, but it was not to last.
Championship leader Giniel de Villiers (Nissan Primera) started tenth, yet by the end of the first lap he was already up to fourth before taking third a lap later. On lap three he took second and then set about closing down Aberdein's lead.
By lap five he was on the Audi's tail, and then sailed past with a clean move up the inside of Aberdein at the horseshoe complex on lap six. After that the green and blue car simply eased away to win by over 2 sec after 12 laps.
Shaun Van der Linde (BMW) was also on a charge and had moved up from twelfth on the grid to third by lap six. A lap later he powered past Aberdein on the pit straight before pulling away as he chased the Nissan ahead.
Behind the leading trio, Duncan Vos (Nissan Primera) had climbed to fourth on lap six after dropping to eighth in the first corner fracas. However, his tyres then started to go off and he slipped behind Moss once again on lap ten.
Thereafter they held station with De Villiers taking the win from Van der Linde, Aberdein, Moss, Vos and Taylor. Mark Peters (BMW) won the privateers challenge with seventh overall, ahead of George Bezhuidenhout (Nissan Sentra) and Brian Martin (Toyota Corolla).
Top ten results 1) Giniel de Villiers 2) Shaun van der Linde 3) Chris Aberdein 4) Terry Moss 5) Duncan Vos 6) Anthony Taylor 7) Mark peters 8) George Bezhuidenhout 9) Brian Martin 10) Tony Martin
The second race proved to be one of the best touring car races seen in SA for a while.
Aberdein led off the line from pole, but was immediately pursued by De Villiers who had started alongside him on the front row of the grid. By the end of the back straight on the first lap the Nissan was already ahead and seemingly headed for victory.
But that was without reckoning on Van der Linde. He was determined to score his first win of the year for BMW and on lap two he passed Aberdein and was chasing after the lead Nissan.
By lap seven he was all over the back of the Nissan which was also suffering tyre problems. As De Villiers defended his position it allowed Vos, who had also got past Aberdein on lap two, to close right up on Van der Linde making it a three-way fight for the lead.
Lap nine saw Van der Linde pass De Villiers down the back straight for the lead, and then eke out a slight gap over the final three laps to score a comfortable 3 sec win. As Van der Linde slipstreamed past De Villiers on lap nine, so he took Vos with him into second. However, as the latter seemed set to finish second he suddenly slowed on the last corner, allowing his team-mate through to score the extra points for second.
Behind the leaders Briggs challenged Aberdein for a few laps before getting ahead on lap ten, but at the same time Moss used the slipstream to pass both of them for fourth place.
Briggs was also determined after his first race disaster and was not prepared to give up without a fight. On the last lap he managed to find a way past the Audi to take fourth place with Moss in fifth, and Aberdein dropping to a distant sixth.
Taylor, Dos Santos and Peters duelled further back for seventh place for much of the race, with Taylor even taking to the dirt on one occasion. He recovered before the end though to claim the place ahead of Dos Santos - who won the privateer challenge - and Peters.
Brain Martin finished third in the privateer section and tenth overall, ahead of former Daytona 24-hour winner, and cousin, Tony Martin (Toyota Corolla) who was having his first car race for six years.
Top ten results 1) Shaun van der Linde 2) Giniel de Villiers 3) Duncan Vos 4) Mike Briggs 5) Terry Moss 6) Chris Aberdein 7) Anthony Taylor 8) Marco dos Santos 9) Mark peters 10) Brian Martin