Kyalami report

Kyalami became a dream-come-true for Shaun Watson-Smith on Saturday when he took on, and soundly trounced, the established drivers contesting the AA Fleetcare Super Touring Championships. Deputising for champion Mike Briggs, who makes his ...

Kyalami became a dream-come-true for Shaun Watson-Smith on Saturday when he took on, and soundly trounced, the established drivers contesting the AA Fleetcare Super Touring Championships.

Deputising for champion Mike Briggs, who makes his second British Touring Car Championship appearance at Snetterton tomorrow, Watson- Smith made a dream debut at the Gestetner national meeting. After scoring a moral victory in round 19, Watson-Smith went on to become the first driver to win a South African Super Touring event on debut.

Watson-Smith played a leading role in helping Opel Racing - in the absence of Briggs - maintain the dominance they have enjoyed throughout the season in the AA Fleetcare series. Starting on the first row of the grid in round 19, Watson-Smith went into the lead from the lights with the BMW Envirocar pair of Deon Joubert and former champion Shaun van der Linde swarming all over him.

However, oil dropped after a first lap incident between three of the Class B cars caused Watson-Smith anxious moment in the Rothmans Esses midway through lap two. With cars going in all directions Sarel van der Merwe in the Sasol Ford Mondeo arrived on the scene as the Van der Linde BMW was rolling back onto the track. Van der Merwe had nowhere to go and T-boned the BMW, the telemetry on the Mondeo showing an impact speed of 92 mph.

The red flag came out and both Van der Merwe and Van der Linde were taken to hospital, Van der Merwe later released but in a great deal of pain from a bruised spleen and muscles torn in his back while Van der Linde was kept overnight suffering from concussion.

When the race was restarted, Watson-Smith moved ahead of Joubert on lap three with Grant McCleery, in the second Opel Racing Vectra hot on their heels. Only two points separated Joubert and McCleery in the championship at the start of the race, and McCleery piled on the pressure to force his way past Joubert on lap five.

Behind them Anthony Taylor in the Castrol Toyota Camry was involved in his own race with Julian Bailey in the Minolta Camry - Bailey gaining the upper hand on lap five as Taylor's tyres began to go off. Terry Moss in the Rothmans Audi quattro then came into the picture, closing up on Taylor and going past him on lap seven with Chris Aberdein in the second Rothmans Audi (now also fitted with a sequential gearbox) not far behind.

Coming out of the last corner, Watson-Smith slowed to allow McCleery to take the win - the first five cars across the line separated by just 1,5 second - and maximum points to put him back in contention for second place overall in the series.

In round 20 Watson-Smith blasted away from the line to lead the opening lap but was immediately under pressure from Joubert who forced his past the Opel on lap two, holding the lead for two laps before Watson-Smith could get past and back into the lead he was to hold to the finish.

Joubert clung grimly to second place, the leading pair pulling away from the rest of the pack lead by Bailey's Toyota Camry. Bailey made a demon start and stayed in third place until lap nine when he passed by McCleery who had worked his way up from sixth overall on the opening lap.

When McCleery went past Bailey's Toyota, Terry Moss seized the opportunity and forced his Rothmans Audi through at the same time. Anthony Taylor finished sixth in the second Camry with Giniel de Villiers in the BP Nissan Sentra seventh ahead of team mate Nic de Waal - Chris Aberdein in the second Audi out of contention in this heat after bump in the early laps had upset the handling of the car.

Class B championship leader Duncan Vos, in the Accord Nissan Sentra cemented his hold on the title with a first and a third. After winning the first race, Vos finished behind Hein Lategan - a first heat casualty in the Beeld Motor VW Jetta - and Leon Mare in the BankFin Toyota Sprinter.

SOUTH AFRICAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUNDS 19&20, KYALAMI (ZA), 2x12 laps - 2x32,02 miles, AUG 26

Round 19 1 Grant McCleery (Opel Vectra), 21m46,701s 88,18 mph; 2 Shaun Watson-Smith (Opel Vectra) 21m46,871s; 3 Deon Joubert (BMW 318i) 21m47,140; 4 Julian Bailey (Toyota Camry) 21m47,817; 5 Terry Moss (Audi Quattro) 21m48,012; 6 Anthony Taylor (Toyota Camry) 21m53,167; 7 Chris Aberdein (Audi Quattro) 21m53,980; 8 Nic de Waal (Nissan Sentra) 21m59,738; 9 Sabine Reck (BMW 318i) 22m03,035; 10 Steve Wyndham (Ford Mondeo) 22m11,362

Round 20

1 Shaun Watson-Smith (Opel Vectra) 21m35,366s 88,956 mph; 2 Deon Joubert (BMW 318i) 21m36,927; 3 Grant McCleery (Opel Vectra), 21m43,162s; 4 Terry Moss (Audi Quattro) 21m44,466; 5 Julian Bailey (Toyota Camry) 21m46,535; 6 Anthony Taylor (Toyota Camry) 21m52,084; 7 Giniel de Villiers (Nissan Sentra), 21m57,371; 8 Nic de Waal (Nissan Sentra) 22m06,599; 9 Chris Aberdein (Audi Quattro) 22m06,660; 10 Steve Wyndham (Ford Mondeo) 22m09,879

New lap record: Watson-Smith 1m46,050s

Points

Class A: 1 Briggs 109; 2 McCleery 83; 3 Joubert 82; 4 Van der Linde 40; 5 Moss 33; 6 Taylor 28; 7 White & Wyndham 20; 9 Van der Merwe 16; 10 Watson-Smith 15.

Class B 1 Vos 124; 2 Swanepoel 109; 3 Lategan 70; 4 Mare 47; 5 Van Rensburg 39; 6 D Joubert 19; 7 Bruins 16; 8 Huggett 8; 9 Lanz 2; 10 P Piazza- Musso 1.

ends

+-------------------+---------------------------+ | ___ ___ _ _ __ |colin.windell@digitec.co.za| | # # # # # #~# |---------------------------| | #__ #_# #_( # # # |I sponsor Castle Lager | +-------------------+---------------------------+

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Series General
Drivers Julian Bailey , Giniel de Villiers , Shaun Watson-Smith , Sarel van der Merwe , Duncan Vos