NEARLY, BUT NOT QUITE KYALAMI: BMW and Opel shared the spoils of victory at Kyalami on Saturday with BMW Envirocar driver Deon Joubert notching up his third win of the season and Opel pilot Mike Briggs bagging his 10th in rounds 15 and 16 of...
NEARLY, BUT NOT QUITE
KYALAMI: BMW and Opel shared the spoils of victory at Kyalami on Saturday with BMW Envirocar driver Deon Joubert notching up his third win of the season and Opel pilot Mike Briggs bagging his 10th in rounds 15 and 16 of the AA Fleetcare Super Touring Championship.
Bar the shouting, it's nearly all over for the series with Briggs now needing just three points to put himself in an unassailable lead in the series - with six races still to come.
Briggs put the Opel Vectra on pole position for the first race, going into an immediate lead followed closely by the BMW 318i Envirocars of Shaun van der Linde and Deon Joubert with the second Opel Vectra of Grant McCleery tucked in behind them.
Briggs dictated the pace from the start, strengthening his lead as the three cars behind him jostled for position, Joubert moving into second place on lap three.
On lap 7 the picture changed dramatically when Briggs went off at high speed at the bottom of the 'Mineshaft' on oil dropped by an ailing Class B backmarker, allowing Joubert to take the lead. McCleery then took up the cudgels, passing Van der Linde and setting off after Joubert.
He closed and very briefly on lap 10 managed to get ahead but Joubert repassed him on the same lap and successfully defended his lead to the finish with McCleery holding second place. Behind them Anthony Taylor in the Castrol Toyota Camry had made up ground to successfully challenge Van der Linde for third place.
Giniel de Villiers finished fifth in the BP Nissan Sentra followed by Sarel van der Merwe in the Sasol Ford Mondeo and Terry Moss in the Rothmans Audi quattro.
In the melee of the opening laps Chris Aberdein (Rothmans Audi Quattro) and Mike White (Minolta Toyota Camry) had a coming together with both cars retiring and White being fined R2 000 for the infringement.
For the first time the South African series followed the British example with two separate qualifying sessions for each round and it was Shaun van der Linde who started Round 16 on pole position with Mike Briggs alongside him - the damage to the Opel from the crash in the previous race limited mainly to the bodywork.
Van der Linde made a good start to take the early lead but always under pressure from Briggs whose Opel Vectra looked stronger coming out of the tighter corners.
On lap 3 Briggs used the advantage to take the lead he was to hold through to the flag. Behind him, Van der Linde immediately came under pressure from Grant McCleery, the pair involved in a dog-fight to the end, swopping places twice before Van der Linde finally managed to gain enough leeway to secure second place ahead of McCleery.
A little further back Deon Joubert and Anthony Taylor were involved in their own battle for fourth place, the pair changing places several times before Joubert gained the advantage to finish fourth.
Steve Wyndham brought his Sasol Ford Mondeo home in sixth place ahead of team mate Sarel van der Merwe with Chris Aberdein eighth in the Rothmans Audi - Terry Moss being forced to retire his Audi on lap one when the steering mounting broke.
SOUTH AFRICAN SUPER TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUNDS 157&16, KYALAMI (ZA), 24 LAPS - 102,2 Km, JULY 08.
1. Deon Joubert (BMW 318i), 21m45,92s, 141,18 km/h ave; 2. Grant McCleery (Opel Vectra), 21m46,37s; 3. Anthony Taylor (Toyota Camry), 21m49,79s; 4. Shaun van der Linde (BMW 318i), 21m50,50s; 5. Giniel de Villiers (Nissan Sentra), 22m01,82s; 6. Sarel van der Merwe (Ford Mondeo), 22m03,83s; 7. Terry Moss (Audi Quattro), 22m06,44s; 8. Marco dos Santos (VW Vento), 22m20,28s; 9. Duncan Vos (Nissan Sentra), 23m39,40s; 10. Heinrich Lategan (VW Jetta), 23m40,24s
1. Mike Briggs (Opel Vectra), 21m41,59s; 141,65 km/h ave; 2. Shaun van der Linde (BMW 318i), 21m50,50s; 3. Grant McCleery (Opel Vectra), 21m46,37s; 4. Deon Joubert (BMW 318i), 21m45,92s; 5. Anthony Taylor (Toyota Camry), 26m14,65s; 6. Steve Wyndham (Ford Mondeo), 26m08,15s; 7. Sarel van der Merwe (Ford Mondeo), 26m05,13s; 8. Chris Aberdein (Audi Quattro), 26m29,68s; 9. Marco dos Santos (VW Vento), 22m20,28s; 10. Duncan Vos (Nissan Sentra), 23m39,40s
Fastest lap: Grant McCleery 1m46,89s (new lap record)
Points (after 16 rounds)
1. Briggs, 103; 2. McCleery 60; 3, Joubert 54; 4. Van der Linde 40; 5. Moss 28; 6. Taylor 26.
Terry Moss will have the latest generation Audi Sport sequential gearbox fitted to his Rothmans Audi quattro for the next round of the AA Fleetcare Super Touring Championship to be run in East London on August 05.
Andre van der Watt, Manager of Audi Sport, confirmed what has been a pit-lane rumour saying: "Two of engineers, Mike Bond and Alan Packman, left for Germany immediately after the Kyalami race to undergo training at Audi Sport in the fitment and setup of the high- tech gearbox.
"The gearbox that will be fitted to Moss' car is exactly the same as the one being used on the current Audi A4 which is dominating European Super Touring racing."
Van der Watt added the sequential gearbox was developed in-house by Audi and differs from the system used on other Super Touring cars in that the drive shafts are lifted to sit right on top of the gearbox.
"The reason for this arrangement, which is considerably less complex than it may sound, is to significantly lower the centre of gravity of the car which helps to improve handling as well as reducing tyre wear by limiting lateral forces as much as possible," he said.
"We will fit the new gearbox to Moss' car as part of our ongoing development strategy which has already borne fruit with both cars having lapped Kyalami in practice and the race faster than any previous visit to the track.
"We plan to do extensive testing at the East London circuit before the race and we are extremely excited about this new addition to our racing programme."
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