ZWARTKOPS: With the signs of battle visible on nearly all the cars, Mike Briggs' Opel Vectra twice came from behind to win and notch up maximum points to claim an almost unassailable lead in the AA Fleetcare Super Touring...
ZWARTKOPS: With the signs of battle visible on nearly all the cars, Mike Briggs' Opel Vectra twice came from behind to win and notch up maximum points to claim an almost unassailable lead in the AA Fleetcare Super Touring Championships.
Rain, unusual for the time of year, saw official practice run in the wet and it was Mike White (Minolta Toyota Camry) who claimed pole position from Terry Moss (Rothmans Audi quattro), Mike Briggs (Opel Vectra) and Chris Aberdein (Rothmans Audi quattro).
White got away from the line quickly in the first race, leading Briggs, Grant McCleery (Opel Vectra), Anthony Taylor (Castrol Toyota Camry) and Chris Aberdein. Although under pressure from the Opel, White looked to have the measure of Briggs, staying out in front for the first nine of the 25 lap race.
However, the Opel's superior cornering in the tighter sections of the track finally gave Briggs his chance to move into the lead he was to hold through to the finish. White then slotted comfortably into second place with McCleery and Taylor doing battle for third spot. Taylor took the position on lap 5 and was demoted only on the penultimate lap when he and McCleery touched, the Camry sliding wide and rejoining in fourth place.
Chris Aberdein looked set to give Audi a fifth place, but was forced out with a broken front left driveshaft on lap 3, allowing Steve Wyndham in the Sasol Ford Mondeo into the position, ahead of Shaun van der Linde in the Envirocar BMW 318i - the reigning champion setting a new lap record of 51,980 seconds for the two kilometre track.
Sarel van der Merwe, again the victim of a bad start, finished seventh in the second Mondeo. A lap 1 coming together with Sabine Reck in the Motorplan BMW 318i ended with the German driver forced out for the day with suspension damage.
Terry Moss in the second Rothmans Audi quattro finished eighth having been plagued throughout by understeer problems, the result of running the car on the same setup that took him to victory at Kyalami in the wet.
The second race was red-flagged with just one lap completed when Nic de Waal (BP Nissan Sentra and Shaun van der Linde touched on the final corner. Van der Linde's BMW launched into a horrifying endo that turned the car into a sub-compact - fortunately without injury to the driver.
At the restart White again made the running, this time for just three laps before Briggs dived through. There was contact between the two, enough to slow the Camry so Anthony Taylor could take advantage and slip into second place behind Briggs.
Taylor produced a spectacular effort for the next five laps as he tried everything in the book to pass Briggs, finally deciding to conserve his tyres and protect second place from Grant McCleery.
Briggs then set a new lap record of 50,70 seconds in his efforts to stay ahead of the flying Camry.
The two Rothmans Audis, now set up with much stiffer suspension, moved into fourth and fifth position with Moss leading Aberdein and Deon Joubert (Envirocar BMW 318i) giving chase in sixth place ahead of Sarel van der Merwe's Ford Mondeo.
"Because of the threat of rain we decided to keep the wet weather setup for the cars," said Andre van der Watt, manager of Audi Sport. "As it turned out the rain stayed away and Terry Moss battled through the first race with the suspension far too soft. This caused understeering problems and made the car difficult to drive.
"Unfortunately Chris Aberdein had to retire when the driveshaft broke.
"For the second race the suspension settings were changed to those used in the test session on the Wednesday before the race and we are really excited about the way in which both cars performed. The Dunlop tyres worked perfectly and both drivers were lapping at the end at the same times they were running at the start of the race."
SOUTH AFRICAN SUPER TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUNDS 9&10, ZWARTKOPS (ZA), 50 LAPS - 100 Km, APRIL 29.
1. Mike Briggs (Opel Vectra); 21m34,51s; 2. Mike White (Toyota Camry), 21m35,98s; 3. Grant McCleery (Opel Vectra), 21m39,27s; 4. Anthony Taylor (Toyota Camry), 21m46,67s; 5. Steve Wyndham (Ford Mondeo), 21m48,34s; 6. Shaun van der Linde (BMW 318i), 21m52,84s; 7. Sarel van der Merwe (Ford Mondeo), 21m56,81s; 8. Terry Moss (Audi Quattro), 22m00,49s; 9. Deon Joubert (BMW 318i), 22m00,84s; 10. Chris Aberdein (Audi Quattro), -1 lap.
1. Mike Briggs (Opel Vectra); 21m26,38s; 2. Anthony Taylor (Toyota Camry), 21m29,03s; 3. Grant McCleery (Opel Vectra), 21m33,68s; 4. Terry Moss (Audi Quattro), 21m35,26s; 5. Chris Aberdein (Audi Quattro), 21m37,35s 6. Deon Joubert (BMW 318i), 21m39,55s; 7. Sarel van der Merwe (Ford Mondeo), 21m43,48s; 8. Giniel de Villiers (Nissan Sentra) 21m44,39s 9. Hilton Cowie (Alfa Romeo), 21m51,71s; 10. Kosie Swanepoel (Class B BMW 325iS) 21m50,96.
Fastest lap: Mike Briggs 0m50,70s
Points (after 10 rounds)
1. Briggs 76; 2. McCleery 38; 3. Joubert 25; 4. Van der Linde/Moss 22; 6. De Villiers 15; 7. Taylor 10; 8. Radisich 9; 9. De Waal 7; 10. White/Wyndham/Van der Merwe 6.
1. Swanepoel 72; 2. Vos 45; 3. Lategan 25; 4. Van Rensburg 24; 5. Bruins 13; 6. Huggett 8; 7. Joubert D 7; 9. Mare 6; 10. Lanz 2.
*********************************************************** Colin Windell <email@example.com> CyberRace Inc (c) 1995. All rights reserved ************************************************************ ---- Digitec Online - South Africa Telnet: bbs.digitec.co.za