BRIGGS DOMINATES AT KILLARNEY Mike Briggs gave himself and the Opel Vectra the fourth straight win of the season when he dominated the second round of the AA Fleetcare Touring Car Challenge at Killarney, Cape Town on Saturday. Briggs won both...
BRIGGS DOMINATES AT KILLARNEY
Mike Briggs gave himself and the Opel Vectra the fourth straight win of the season when he dominated the second round of the AA Fleetcare Touring Car Challenge at Killarney, Cape Town on Saturday.
Briggs won both 15-lap heats fairly comfortably, despite being pipped for pole position by World Touring Car Champion Paul Radisich, in South Africa to assist the Sasol Ford Team with the on-going development of the Ford Mondeos.
The practice session, despite problems with the electronic timing equipment, saw improvements almost across the board with Radisich adding a new element of competition not only for the Ford Team, but for the five other manufacturers represented.
In the first heat Radisich blasted away from pole position to lead Briggs and Giniel de Villiers (BP Nissan Sentra) into Hoal's Hoek, hanging onto to first place for a few of the early laps. Briggs piled on the pressure and soon swept past the New Zealander (albeit after removing the Mondeo's back bumper in a coming together at the end of the main straight), soon opening up a gap between the Opel Vectra and the Ford Mondeo - the latter now coming under pressure from De Villiers.
Terry Moss, on the third row of the grid, made a demon start to push the Rothmans Audi 80 into fourth place into the first corner - dropping back as the straight line speed of Grant McCleery's Opel Vectra began to tell.
However, there was consternation on the startline when Moss finished the warmup lap with a puncture, being forced to race with one practice tyre quickly fitted on the grid.
"The balance and handling of the car is superb," said Moss. "As soon as we can change to a sequential gearbox I believe we will be at least a second a lap quicker. In the meanwhile, we are relying on the fact we can brake much later than any of the other cars and the durability of the Dunlop tyres we run to keep us in the hunt."
With Briggs well established at the front and Radisich comfortable in second place, De Villiers found his third place under attack from McCleery, who eventually passed the young Nissan driver to claim third place in the heat.
Moss brought the Rothmans Audi home in fifth place ahead of Nic de Waal (BP Nissan Sentra). Anthony Taylor finished seventh in the Castrol Toyota Camry saying his tyres went off on lap four and the brakes began to fade from lap six - but it was enough to keep him ahead of Sarel van der Merwe in the second Sasol Ford Mondeo.
Van der Merwe, in fact, drove the car normally occupied by Ben Morgenrood who sat this even out while Radisich drove Van der Merwe's car.
Mike White (Minolta Toyota Camry) finished ninth ahead of Chris Aberdein (Rothmans Audi 80), Deon Joubert (Envirocar BMW 318i) and German driver Sabine Reck (Motorplan BMW318i).
Although a non-finisher Steve Wyndham gave the Playboy-backed Toleman Motor Sport BMW 318i its first outing - the car having been built from a shell to raceable in just three days by Mick Jones and Eddie Pinto.
The second heat got off to a shaky start being aborted on the first lap when Deon Joubert and Sarel van der Merwe were involved in startline collision - Joubert being forced to retire and Van der Merwe able to continue after some hasty bodywork repairs. However, damage to the side shafts in the shunt caused him retire six laps into the race.
When the race restarted Briggs pulled away from the line to lead Radisich and De Villiers with Chris Aberdein (Rothmans Audi 80) making the blistering start this time move right up with the leading bunch in the opening laps.
While Briggs again opened up a gap on the field, De Villiers put the pressure on Radisich and was beginning to look like he might find away around the Ford when Radisich slowed and pulled off the track, the Mondeo apparently having blown an engine.
De Villiers' comfortable second last only a couple of laps until he slid off the track at Hoal's Hoek, crashing into the tyre barrier - the Sentra having suffered a puncture after being forced off the road by the slowing Radisich.
This let Nic De Waal move up into second place, albeit a long way behind the Opel Vectra. However, coming back from a slightly less spectacular start was Terry Moss who fought a tough battle with Grant McCleery, Moss' Audi finally taking third place.
For Chris Aberdein, his early charge came to nothing and he was forced out after just three laps with a broken throttle cable while leading his Rothmans Audi team mate.
Shaun van der Linde brought his Envirocar BMW 318i home fifth ahead of Anthony Taylor - the last of the Class A runners in this race of attrition.
In Class B Kosie Swanepoel (BMW 325iS) won both heats from Duncan Vos (Accord Nissan Sentra) and Jesse Huggett (Windsor Garage VW Jetta).
AA Fleetcare Touring Cars, Round 3 & 4, Killarney (ZA) 30 laps - 62,25 miles, Feb 10
1. Mike Briggs Opel Vectra 39m35,10s, 95,19 mph 2. Nic de Waal Nissan Sentra 40m08,48s 3. Grant McCleery Opel Vectra 40m13,21s 4. Terry Moss Audi 80 40m18,80s 5. Anthony Taylor Toyota Camry 40m52,34s 6. Kosie Swanepoel BMW 325iS -2 laps 7. Duncan Vos Nissan Sentra [B] 8. Jesse Huggett VW Jetta [B] 9. Shaun van der Linde BMW 318i [B] 10. Giniel de Villiers Nissan Sentra
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS AFTER TWO ROUNDS (FOUR RACES)
1. Briggs Opel Vectra A 36 2. McCleery Opel Vectra A 21 3. De Waal Nissan Sentra A 11 4. Moss Audi 80 A 8 5. Joubert BMW 318i A 8 6. Van der Linde BMW 318i A 7
*********************************************************** Colin Windell <firstname.lastname@example.org> CyberRace Inc (c) 1995. All rights reserved ---- Digitec Online - South Africa Telnet: bbs.digitec.co.za