-- Results -- -- South African Touring Car Championship -- -- Colin Windell -- BANKFIN TOURING CARS - KYALAMI BMW's all-new E46 318i touring cars justified the local company's decision to go ahead with the project when they scored a 1-2 ...
-- Results -- -- South African Touring Car Championship -- -- Colin Windell -- BANKFIN TOURING CARS - KYALAMI BMW's all-new E46 318i touring cars justified the local company's decision to go ahead with the project when they scored a 1-2 victory in the opening race of the 1999 season at Kyalami on Saturday - Shaun van der Linde getting the checkered flag after out dragging pole-sitter Michael Briggs in the second Sasol-backed BMW to the first corner.
Reigning champions Nissan came back in the second race to notch up a win ahead of the BMW with Briton Mark Peters having a one-off works drive for the BP Primera squad having claimed pole position and set the pace in the early laps.
In the first race, Shaun van der Linde went ahead at the first corner, quickly opening up a lead as Briggs fended off the pursuing pack. In the early laps, Peters held third place but came under attack from Chris Aberdein (Engen Audi). On lap five the Audi bumped the Nissan a number of times with things coming to a head at the Yokohama Kink when both cars ran wide, taking Giniel de Villiers (BP Primera) with them and allowing Anthony Taylor (Engen Audi) to pass De Villiers.
On lap six Aberdein eventually passed Peters at WesBank corner, with Vos also managing to pass De Villiers who was suffering from electrical problems in the Primera. Before the lap was complete, Vos also passed Peters at Gestetner for fourth place. Vos then chased Aberdein but on lap nine the Nissan's engine blew leaving him to settle for a new lap record of 1m53,181s.
Peters then suffered brake failure in his Primera and was forced across the grass at the Kink delaying De Villiers, and allowing Marco dos Santos (Middleburg Nissan Sentra) to pass them both. Then at the next corner (Gestetner) Peters once again could not stop and took to the grass to avoid those ahead. He missed De Villiers, but punted Dos Santos into the gravel trap where they both ended their races. In what turned out to be a disastrous start to the season for defending champions Nissan, De Villiers then also pulled up on lap 10 when the electrics on his car finally gave in for good. Van der Linde eventually won by 4 sec from Briggs who, in turn, was 1.9 sec ahead of Aberdein. Taylor finished fourth ahead of Shaun Watson-Smith and Deon Joubert in the two new Petronas Opel Vectras.
At the start of race two Peters led off the line from pole position followed by Vos and Van der Linde. There was drama at the first corner when Briggs was hit by Taylor, spinning him around in the middle of the field. Fortunately no one hit him, allowing him to restart at the back of the field. Taylor was penalized 60 sec after the race for his efforts. Vos passed Peters in the first lap and quickly pulled out a small lead as the Brit fought off those behind. On lap two, Van der Linde, Taylor and De Villiers all managed to demote Peters at Nashua corner, while further back Watson-Smith was showing the potential of the new Opel by passing Moss in the Audi.
A lap later, however, Watson-Smith was forced to retire at the Esses when his car cut out with a fuel problem similar to that which had afflicted Joubert's car before the warm-up lap and which put him on the sidelines. On the same lap, Aberdein passed Peters for eighth. By lap four Van der Linde had closed right up on Vos, with the latter defending for all he was worth. Lap nine saw Van der Linde take the lead with a determined outbraking maneuver at WesBank corner. Vos was not in the mood to take it lying down however, and repassed the BMW with an equally determined move at the Vodacom Bowl a lap later. He then pulled out all the stops over the next two laps to take the win by 0.9 sec. De Villiers held on for third a further 4 sec back, with Taylor fourth on the road but dropping to eighth after his penalty. That allowed teammate Moss to take third ahead of Aberdein, Dos Santos, Peters and Taylor. Van der Linde broke the new lap record set by Vos in the first race, establishing a new mark at 1m53.027s.
SOUTH AFRICAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUNDS 1 & 2, KYALAMI (ZA), 2 x 12 LAPS, 102,4 KM, FEB 20,
Race 1 1 Shaun van der Linde (BMW 318i), 23m06.04s, 1m53.74s, 134 km/h; 2 Michael Briggs (BMW 318i), 23m06.45s; 3 Chris Aberdein (Audi A4), 23m08.36s; 4 Anthony Taylor (Audi A4), 23m11.02s; 5 Shaun Watson-Smith (Opel Vectra), 23m19.37s; 6 Deon Joubert (Opel Vectra), 23m20.71s; 7 Brian Martin (Toyota Corolla) -1 lap
Race 2 1 Duncan Vos (Nissan Primera), 22m58.33s, 1m53.93s, 135 km/h; 2 Shaun van der Linde (BMW 318i), 22m59.24s; 3 Giniel de Villiers (Nissan Primera), 23m03.20s; 4 Terry Moss (Audi A4), 23m08.28s; 5 Chris Aberdein (Audi A4), 23m11.74s; 6 Marco do Santos (Nissan Sentra), 23m12.51s; 7 Mark Peters (Nissan Primera), 23m13.82s; 8 Anthony Taylor (Audi A4), 24m05.58s; 9 Byron Botha (Nissan Sentra), 24m53.07s.