Engen Race Meeting, Aldo Scribante Circuit, Port Elizabeth 28 August 1998 Bankfin Touring Cars: Race One Michael Briggs (Sasol BMW) led the field into the first corner from pole position with Terry Moss (Engen Audi) moving from fifth on the...
Engen Race Meeting, Aldo Scribante Circuit, Port Elizabeth 28 August 1998 Bankfin Touring Cars:
Michael Briggs (Sasol BMW) led the field into the first corner from pole position with Terry Moss (Engen Audi) moving from fifth on the grid to second, ahead of Shaun van der Linde (Sasol BMW), Marco dos Santos (Midas Duckhams Nissan) and Anthony Taylor (Engen Audi).
By the end of the first lap Briggs, leading his first race this year, was half a second clear of Moss. Reigning champion Giniel de Villiers (BP Nissan), who was squeezed out in the hectic action of the first corner, had dropped from second on the grid to sixth.
Dos Santos and Chris Aberdein (Engen Audi) clashed in the Hairpin on lap three, with Dos Santos dropping from sixth to ninth and Aberdein being demoted from seventh to 10th.
Van der Linde went ahead of teammate Briggs into the first corner of lap five and immediately started opening up a gap on the rest of the field. Briggs, hampered by the 50kg penalty weight he was carrying as a result of his pole position and also battling with gear selection, was visibly holding up Moss, Taylor and De Villiers in an exciting battle for second place.
In the meanwhile, Vos was charging through the field from his 15th place on the grid and by lap eight was up to sixth, behind team mate De Villiers. De Villiers went ahead of Taylor into fourth place on lap nine and Vos managed to get past both Taylor and De Villiers on lap 11.
While 1994 champion Van der Linde controlled the race with apparent ease from the front (he established a new lap record on lap three), Briggs held off his pursuers until lap 11 when he appeared to be struck from behind by Vos, spun and was collected by Taylor. He retired with substantial body damage at the end of the lap. Aberdein, lying ninth, pitted on the same lap and retired with a broken driveshaft.
With Moss inheriting second place from the unfortunate Briggs, Taylor was under extreme pressure from Vos, the two cars touching on several occasions. De Villiers was able to pass both of them and move up to third on lap 18 after one of their altercations. Vos got the better of Taylor on the last lap to finish fourth behind his team mate.
Mark Peters brought his BMW home an excellent sixth, first in the privateer class and ahead of chief rival Dos Santos after a good battle between the two in the closing laps.
Brian Martin (Castrol Toyota) and cousin Tony Martin (Castrol Toyota) finished eighth and ninth respectively with Nico van Rensburg (Nissan Engine Exchange Nissan) making up the top 10.
1. S van der Linde (BMW) 23m 15,3s (128 km/h) 2. T Moss (Audi) +7,0s 3. G de Villiers (Nissan) +7,2s 4. D Vos (Nissan) +7,7s 5. A Taylor (Audi) +8,3s; 6. M Peters (BMW) +27,9s 7. M dos Santos (Nissan) +30,1s; 8. B Martin (Toyota) +47,3s 9. T Martin (Toyota) +51,1s; 10. N van Rensburg (Nissan) +1m 6,2s.
New lap record: Van der Linde, 1m 7,9s, 131 km/h.
Van der Linde (BMW) took an immediate lead at the start of the second 20-lap race and by half distance had built up a commanding lead of over three seconds from De Villiers (Nissan), Moss (Audi), Vos (Nissan) and Taylor (Audi).
When the Sasol BMW's exhaust came loose De Villiers started to close in on the leader. With five laps to go the gap was down to 2,3 seconds and at the start of the penultimate lap De Villiers was only 1,2 seconds adrift.
It was an exciting finish to a great day's Bankfin touring car racing, which delighted a large and appreciative crowd on a hot, sunny and windy day.
Dos Santos made up for round 13 disappointment by finishing first among the privateers and an impressive fourth overall in his Nissan, ahead of Briggs (BMW) and second privateer Peters (BMW).
Vos (Nissan) was disappointed and angry to finish seventh after clashing with Moss's Audi on lap 18 while the Nissan driver was third. Aberdein finished a disappointed eighth with severe handling problems on his works Audi after running as high as sixth in the early stages.
Van der Linde again recorded the fastest lap of the race and BMW won the manufacturers' award for the day.
1. S van der Linde (BMW) 23m 5,6s, 129 km/h 2. G de Villiers (Nissan) +0,2s 3. T Moss (Audi) +19,0s; 4. M dos Santos (Nissan) +19,7s 5. M Briggs (BMW) +27,7s; 6. M Peters (BMW) +28,5s 7. D Vos (Nissan) +34,7s; 8. C Aberdein (Audi) +43,4s 9. G Waberski (Toyota) +49,6s; 10. B Martin (Toyota) +54,0s.