Unexpected Western Cape Winners Leave Midas Production Car Championship Wide Open Rounds 17 and 18 of the 2001 Midas Production Car Championship produced brilliant spectacle, unexpected winners and robust driving tactics at the Western Cape ...
Unexpected Western Cape Winners Leave Midas Production Car Championship Wide Open
Rounds 17 and 18 of the 2001 Midas Production Car Championship produced brilliant spectacle, unexpected winners and robust driving tactics at the Western Cape Killarney circuit on Saturday (October 6). In the process, this year's biggest South African circuit racing title chase found a new overall leader and was left wide open, with four of the season's 22 races left to contest.
Following last Saturday's events Cor Kraamwinkel leads the 2001 Midas Championship overall in his Class E Goldi chicken Opel Kadett 140iS, marginally ahead of Class A Castrol BMW 328i racer Shaun van der Linde. Also within striking distance of the overall title are Class D Deltapart Opel Corsa 160i team mates Leeroy Poulter and Stephen Taylor, plus Class B Team Total driver curt Alchin in his Honda Ballade V-TEC.
The day's biggest upsets happened in Class A, where pre-event favourite Shaun van der Linde and his BMW were beaten in both races. Van der Linde and his Castrol BMW 328i team mate Michael Briggs took their customary lead at the beginning of the opening race, closely pursued by Steve Wyndham (Ford Credit Fairmont), Kaye-Eddie BMW 328i racers Reghardt Roets and Gavin Kelsey, plus Richard Sorensen (Auto Body Specialists BMW 328i).
Racing in front of a large home crowd, Capetonian Wyndham was in determined mood, forcing his big Ford past both the Castrol BMWs and into the lead by Lap Four. And there he stayed for the rest of the ten laps to take his, and Ford's, first win of the season, to the ecstasy of some 8 000 Western Cape spectators.
Chasing hard, Van der Linde finished a close second, with Briggs scoring a new overall Killarney Midas Production Car lap record in third place. Roets, Kelsey and Sorensen filled out the top six places, followed by Peter Lanz in his Nissan Maxima QX.
Wyndham snatched the lead at the start of the second race but it all went wrong at the start of Lap Three, when he and Briggs tried to claim the same piece of tarmac at the end of the pit straight. The Ford and BMW touched at some 180 km/h and both cars spun into the Western Cape flora. When the dust cleared Roets led in his Kaye-Eddie BMW - a position which he held to the finish line.
Behind him Kelsey, Van der Linde and Sorensen fought tooth and nail for the rest of the race, with frequent 230 km/h contact between the cars down the Killarney back straight. The three cars were finally covered by three-tenths of a second at the finish line, with Kelsey ahead of Van der Linde and Sorensen. A recovered Wyndham took fifth place while Briggs, blamed by the organisers for the bumping incident, was black-flagged.
The opening Class B race saw Team Total Honda Ballade V-TEC drivers Curt Alchin, Clint Weston and Gavin Cronje' cross the finish line in formation, followed by the AV Toyota Corolla RSi of Mario da Sousa. Their formation was broken up in Race Two when Weston's Honda was shouldered off the circuit by Sorensen's BMW. That left Cronje to win ahead of Alchin, with Weston recovering to snatch third place from Da Sousa on the final lap. Capetonians Lawrence Boshoff (Orbit Coach Honda Ballade 180i) and Phillip Booysen (Barnetts Honda Ballade 180i) took turns to win in Class C, with Dawie Brough (Honda Ballade 180i) and Bert Grogor (German Workshop Opel Kadett 18oiS) taking turns in the third places.
The first Class D race saw another upset when Fanie de Bruin drove superbly to win with his Makita Ford Fiesta RSi, ahead of Deltaparts Opel Corsa 160 GSi twins Stephen Taylor and Leeroy Poulter, plus the Sasol Toyota Tazz 160iRS of Phillip Kekana.
Race Two saw the year's status quo restored with Poulter pipping Taylor to the flag, their Opel Corsas separated by a tenth of a second. Third, after another surprise performance, was Dawie de Villiers in his Daihatsu Sirion, leading home the Ford Fiesta RSi entries of De Bruin and Etienne du Toit.
Cor Kraamwinkel regained his early season form in Class E, winning the day's first race with his Goldi Chicken Opel Kadett 140iS. Second, setting the day's quickest class lap time, was local Jody Powell (Opel Corsa 140iS), leading home James Menin (Goldpro Midas Opel Corsa 130iS) and Andrew Thompson (VW CitiGolf).
Powell showed that his quickest lap time was no fluke by winning Race Two, ahead of Kraamwinkel, Menin and Thompson. Kraamwinkels's first and second places on the day gave him the overall 2001 Midas Production Car Championship lead, while Powell's effort gained him the CAR Magazine Rookie of the Day award.
The next round of the year's Midas Production Car Championship will be held at the East London Grand Prix circuit on Saturday, October 27.