Now in its home straight, the 2001 Midas Production Car Championship remains one of this year's most closely-contested South African circuit racing title chases. With eight of the season's 21 races left to run, the overall Midas Production Car...
Now in its home straight, the 2001 Midas Production Car Championship remains one of this year's most closely-contested South African circuit racing title chases.
With eight of the season's 21 races left to run, the overall Midas Production Car accolade is still within probable reach for six drivers, with a total of 22 competitors mathematically in line for the title.
An intriguing duel is being fought at the top of the points ladder, with the two protagonists at the respective extreme ends of the Midas Production class structure.
The current overall championship leader is Class E privateer Cor Kraamwinkel, with 111 points in his Goldi Chicken Opel Kadett 140i. Challenging him strongly on 102 points is Shaun van der Linde in his Class A Castrol BMW 328i. Both Kraamwinkel and Van der Linde boast nine class wins from 13 race starts, with both drivers facing strong opposition in the following eight events.
Third and fourth in the overall title chase, respectively on 87 and 86 points, are Class D Deltaparts Opel Corsa GSi team mates Leeroy Poulter and Stephen Taylor. Rounding out the top six on 72 and 70 points are Gavin Cronje (Class B Team Total Honda Ballade V-TEC) and James Menin (Class E Goldco Midas Opel Corsa 130i).
Matters are still wide open in four of the year's five Midas Class Championships.
The only driver who could be in the clear is Shaun van der Linde, with his 111 points for Castrol BMW seemingly unassailable in Class A. His nearest adversaries are Kaye-Eddie BMW 328i drivers Regard Roets (45 points) and Gavin Kelsey (42), Michael Briggs (Castrol BMW 328i - 35) and Steve Wyndham (Ford Credit Fairmont - 34).
All of the above drivers have beaten Van der Linde in races this year and could do so again, complicating his overall Midas Production Car Championship onslaught.
A three-sided war is being fought in Class B, with Gavin Cronje's 72 points in his Total Honda under seige from Charl Wilken (Castrol Toyota Corolla RSi) and Curt Alchin (Team Total Honda Ballade V-TEC) - tied on 68 points.
Class C sees leader Bert Grogor (Fairdeal Midas Opel Kadett 180i) on 63, against the 58 and 52 points of his respective closest challengers Phillip Booysen (Maxi-Flex Honda Ballade 180i) and Douglas Reekie (Ray-Ban Honda Ballade 180i).
The respective 87 and 86 points of Deltaparts Opel Corsa 160 GSi racers Leeroy Poulter and Stephen Taylor sees them well clear of their closest Class D followers Phillip Kekana (Sasol Toyota Tazz 160 - 46) and Fanie de Bruin (Makita Ford Fiesta RSi - 31).
On the other hand, the two Opel drivers' fierce rivalry in the class could bring retirements - as it has earlier this season - making their class lead assailable.
Finally, in Class E, Cor Kraamwinkel's 111 points could put him and his Goldi Chicken Opel clear of nearest class challengers James Menin (Goldco Midas Opel Corsa - 70) and Dave Compton (Toyota Tazz - 63). However, Kraamwinkel needs to take race victories and quickest lap times in every one of the year's remaining eight races, to retain his overall Midas Production Car Championship lead. That is a tall order, in a class which regularly sees up to 16 cars on the grid.
The 2001 Midas Production Car Championship wars will resume at AA Kyalami on Saturday, September 8.