KYALAMI TOURING CARS COLIN WINDELL The runaway Nissan domination of the Bankfin Touring Car Championship came to an end at Kyalami on Saturday with BMW and Audi making the most of the equalisation 50 kilogram penalty applied to the Nissans and...



The runaway Nissan domination of the Bankfin Touring Car Championship came to an end at Kyalami on Saturday with BMW and Audi making the most of the equalisation 50 kilogram penalty applied to the Nissans and nothing up a win apiece - the first for Audi this season.

Still running under yellow flags for the first three corners to protect the drivers from themselves and field-decimating first corner incidents, the first race was rather processional with Shaun van der Linde (Sasol BMW) leading from start to finish from teammate Mike Briggs.

Championship leader Giniel de Villiers (BP Nissan Primera) had a steady race to third after starting third on the grid, with Anthony Taylor (Engen Audi) maintaining fourth for the entire race. Shaun Watson-Smith (Petronas Opel Vectra) challenged him on the opening lap, but the latter broke a wheel upright when he hit the side of the Audi at the Chicane on lap two. Watson-Smith then tried to continue, but succeeded only inbanging into Duncan Vos (BP Nissan Primera) at the next corner, then retiring from the race. The incident with Vos also slowed Marco dos Santos (Valid Value Nissan Primera) and allowed Terry Moss (Engen Audi), Deon Joubert (Petronas Opel Vectra) and Chris Aberdein (Engen Audi) to get ahead of Vos and Dos Santos. They ran intogether until lap nine, when Vos eventually found a way past Aberdein after harrying him for a number of laps. Da Cunha and Peters then also found a way past Aberdein on the same lap, but Aberdein fought back to demote Peters on the last lap. George Bezhuidenhout (Nissan Engine Exchange Nissan Primera) narrowly won the Procar class from Colin Hastie (Spanjaard Nissan Primera), Deon Joubert (Honda Ballade) and Marco da Cunha (Elf Nissan Primera). What looked like a repeat of the first race, this time with De Villiers holding on to his advantage of starting from pole, changed on lap eight when he slowed right down in the main straight with a failed engine management ECU - the first such failure for Nissan in 52 races.

Taylor passed the stricken car to take his first Touring Car win and Audi's first for the year. In the early laps, while behind De Villiers, the Audi driver battled a determined Watson-Smith (whose Opel came to a stop at the end of lap 2 after touching Taylor and breaking a front suspension upright) and then the BMWs of Briggs and Van der Linde.

Taylor took the lead from De Villiers on lap eight. Meantime, the Sasol BMW team-mates appeared to outmanoeuvre each other in Goodyear corner and allowed Joubert in the Petronas Opel to pass both of them into the Winfield Esses and set his sights on the leading Audi.

Taylor was challenged at the bottom of the mine shaft on the last lap, but managed to stay in control to take the race by 0,9 seconds from Joubert. It was also Opel's best result this season, coming at the same time as official launch of Petronas Syntium into South Africa.

Briggs managed to recover to finish fourth after losing third to a flying Peters (BP Nissan Primera) on the last lap. Dos Santos stayed out of trouble to move up from 10th at the start to 5th ahead of Van der Linde with Vos in seventh. Vos was overtaken on lap 7 by Joubert and fell further back when the two BMs ran wide on lap 10. He lost another position when he was passed on the last lap by a recovering Van der Linde.

Engen Audi team-mates Aberdein and Moss covered the rear in 9th and 10th.

George Bezuidenhout was again the victor in the Procar Challenge again ahead of Hastie.

SOUTH AFRICAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUNDS 11 & 12, KYALAMI ZA), 2 x 12 LAPS, 102,2 KM, JUL 31, Race 1 1. Shaun van der Linde (BMW 318i), 1m52,99s, 134 km/h, 22m51,88s; 2. Michael Briggs (BMW), 22m53,69s; 3. Giniel de Villiers (Nissan Primera), 22m56,08s; 4. Anthony Taylor (Audi), 22m56,61s; 5. Deon Joubert (Opel Vectra), 22m59,71s; 6. Duncan Vos (Nissan Primera), 23m07,73s; 7. Marco dos Santos (Nissan Primera), 23m11,31s; 8. Chris Aberdein (Audi), 23m13,64s: 9. Mark Peters (Nissan Primera), 23,m14,89s; 10. Terry Moss (Audi), 23m19,39s

2: 1. Anthony Taylor (Audi), 1m52,21s, 134 km/h, 22m53,45s; 2. Deon Joubert (Opel Vectra), 22m54,37s; 3. Mark Peters (Nissan Primera), 22m57,35s; 4. Michael Briggs (BMW), 22m58,33s; 5. Marco dos Santos (Nissan Primera), 22m58,92s; 6. Shaun van der Linde (BMW 318i), 23m00,24s; 7. Duncan Vos (Nissan Primera), 23m00,80s; 8. Chris Aberdein (Audi), 23m03,02s 9. Terry Moss (Audi), 23m09,94s; 10. Garth Waberski (Toyota Camry), 23m41,79s.

New lap record: Giniel de Villiers - 1m52,44s

Championship Points: 1 de Villiers, 162; 2 Vos, 106; 3 van der Linde, 98; 4 Dos Santos, 84; 5 Peters, 79; 6. Taylor, 69 7. Briggs, 58; 8. Joubert, 45; 9. Watson-Smith 44; 10. Aberdein, 43. Manufacturers 1 Nissan 409; 2 BMW 140; 3 Audi 138; 4. Opel 89.

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Series General
Drivers Giniel de Villiers , Shaun Watson-Smith , Duncan Vos