Open dominates East London races

Team Petronas Syntium Opel dominated both South African Touring Car Championship races at the Grand Prix circuit in East London, the Vectras winning both races - with Shaun Watson-Smith and Deon Joubert sharing victories - and taking the ...

Team Petronas Syntium Opel dominated both South African Touring Car Championship races at the Grand Prix circuit in East London, the Vectras winning both races - with Shaun Watson-Smith and Deon Joubert sharing victories - and taking the manufacturers award for the second race in succession.

The team arrived in East London full of confidence of another good performance following its strong showing last time out at Kyalami, and this confidence was not misplaced. In qualifying for the first race, the team's trio of drivers lined up third, fourth and fifth on the grid, with recent addition to the team, Silvio Scribante, leading the way from Joubert and Watson-Smith as just 0.5sec separated the first six cars on the grid.

Qualifying for race two proved even more productive for the team with Watson-Smith taking pole position, while Joubert lined up third and Scribante fourth.

Watson-Smith went on to score his fifth win of the season in race one after a solid performance, but it was not enough to stop Nissan's Giniel de Villiers from clinching his fourth successive title with second place behind Watson-Smith.

Joubert was in the thick of the battle for second place for much of the race, but he allowed Watson-Smith through on lap four as the latter still stood an outside chance of winning the title, before eventually being baulked and shuffled down to fourth in the final standings.

In the second race, run in damp conditions, Watson-Smith led for almost the entire race from pole position until he slowed on the final straight to allow Joubert past for his second win of the year. It was a thank you gesture for Joubert's support for his title campaign during the year, which saw the latter surrendering a win to his team-mate last time out at AA Kyalami. The Opel's finished 14sec ahead of the third-placed Audi of Anthony Taylor.

Scribante appeared set to make it an Opel 1-2-3 after working his way up to third, despite a huge spin through the ultra-fast Potters Pass corner, but his car jammed in gear on the last lap, forcing his retirement.

<pre> Race 1 (13 laps)

1 Shaun Watson-Smith Opel  19:06.682
2 Giniel de Villiers  Nissan 19:09.763
3 Duncan Vos   Nissan 19:10.577
4 Deon Joubert  Opel  19:13.022
5 Anthony Taylor  Audi  19:19.487
6 E. van der Linde  BMW  19:27.244

Race 2 (13 laps)

1 Deon Joubert  Opel  20:37.280
2 Shaun Watson-Smith Opel  20:37.669
3 Anthony Taylor  Audi  20:51.989
4 Mark Peters   Nissan 20:52.904
5 Duncan Vos   Nissan 21:25.609
6 Giniel de Villiers  Nissan 21:49.743

South African Touring Cars - after 18 rounds: 1 Giniel de Villiers Nissan 231 points 2 Shaun Watson-Smith Opel 182 3 Deon Joubert Opel 145 4 Duncan Vos Nissan 128 5 Mark Peters Nissan 114 6 Anthony Taylor Audi 113

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