Advantage Hills The third round of the 2008 South African National Formula Vee Championship, saw Peter Hills (Rigidek MLS Brokers Rhema2) take full advantage, of the absence of triple champion...
The third round of the 2008 South African National Formula Vee Championship, saw Peter Hills (Rigidek MLS Brokers Rhema2) take full advantage, of the absence of triple champion Alan Holm and come away from the day, with the maximum thirty one points on offer. He did however not have things all his own way. Dennis Johns (Geyser Attorneys Rhema2) took pole position, during Friday afternoon's qualifying session but in the races, he was progressively losing grip at the rear and although he was able to hang onto Hills, in the early stages of both races, pushing Hills to a new lap record, of 1minuite 56.909 seconds, in the second heat, the gap between them began to open up, in the closing stages of each race. Johns, did however secure second place, in both heats, as his season continues to gain momentum.
Starting from second place on the grid, Hills was in the lead at the end of lap one and was never headed again, while development driver Courtney Steenveld (Indy Oils Rhema 2) was already up to twelfth place, having started from the back row of the grid, after a mechanical failure during qualifying, saw him fail to set a time. By the following lap, he was up to ninth, in a drive through the field, that would reward him with an eventual fourth place finish.
Out front, Hills continued to lead, from Johns who was battling to keep up, while Jaco Schriks (Laser Sprint Rhema 2) was unable to stay with them and do anything about minimizing the damage, to team mate Alan Holm's 2008 Championship hopes, while Holm sweated it out in the South African Iron Man Competition, more than a thousand kilometers away. Behind Schriks, Trevor Bland (Office Direct Rhema 2), Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2), development driver Zaahir Essa (NLDTF Rhema 1) and Johan Gouws (Mantis) where battling it out among themselves, in the early stages, while further back Doug MacDonald (Fantastic Racing Rhema 1) and James Leach (Autofair Rhema1), where headed for a good close finish, as where Ben Pienaar, in a brand new BJ Pro Welding Rhema 2 built during the five weeks, since his Rhema 1 was written off in Port Elizabeth and Jannie Geyser Jnr (Geyser Attorneys Rhema 2). Out of the points, but also finishing a mere 0.359 of a second apart, where Alan Eustice (Execuline Rhema 2) and Nicolas Tennent (Tennent Benefit Consultants Tasman), after a race long duel, which saw them change positions up to three times a lap.
In the end, it was Hills who took a comfortable four second victory, ahead of Johns, Schriks, Steenveld, Bland, Essa, Grobler, Gouws, MacDonald, Leach, Gareth Jackson (Laser Sprint Rhema 2) and Pienaar.
The second heat produced even closer racing, with a couple of good close multi car battles, down the field. Out front, it was once again Hills who led all the way, with Johns hanging on grimly in the early stages, before Hills put in a blistering lap, setting a new lap record and relieving himself of the close attentions, of Johns. Behind them, Schriks had Steenverld, Bland and Essa breathing down his neck for a while, until Bland passed Steenveld and then picked up a problem, just on half distance. This gave Schriks a small breathing space, over Steenveld, while Essa was caught and passed by Grobler, before both of them where passed by Gouws, the following lap.
Not far behind, an even bigger battle raged, involving Leach, Jackson, Pienaar, Nico Blignaut (Gilus IT SAP Rhema 2) and Geyser Jnr, with Tennant hanging on grimly, at the back of the bunch, leaving Eustice to play on his own this time, ahead of the Chandre Kruger (Gilus IT SAP Sting) and James Evans (Gilus IT SAP Tasman). Then Jackson lost his nosecone, when he and Leach touched and Blignaut had a big spin, dropping him out of the bunch, as they made their way past the ailing Rhema 2, of Bland.
Out front, it was however Hills who claimed his second victory of the day, ahead of, Johns, Schriks, Steenveld, Gouws, Grobler, Essa, MacDonald, Pienaar, Jackson, Geyser Jnr, and Leach, the two of them crossing the line almost side by side, 0.019 of a second apart.