Advantage Hills The fifth round of the 2010 Execuline South African National Formula Vee Championship, saw Peter Hills (Renexcon Rhema 2) revive his challenge for the 2010 National Title, with a double victory, plus the bonus point ...
The fifth round of the 2010 Execuline South African National Formula Vee Championship, saw Peter Hills (Renexcon Rhema 2) revive his challenge for the 2010 National Title, with a double victory, plus the bonus point for fastest lap of the day, on the short challenging 1.6KM Lichtenburg circuit. The wins where his first of the year and propel him back to the top of the log, two points ahead of development driver Zaahir Essa (Reflex Systems Rhema 2). It was however a day of drama for others, particularly the second Renexcon Rhema 2, of Henk Swanepoel. Swanepoel's day took a turn for the worse, when he went off at Turn 1, during qualifying and hit the embankment with the left front wheel. With a lot of help from his friends, the car only just made it onto the grid, for the first heat but for Swanepoel, the worst was yet to come. Shaun Van Der Linde (Len Schoen Estates Rhema 1) also sustained some damage during qualifying but that too, was repaired and the full field came to the line, for the start of the first heat.
Starting from pole position, Hills took the lead immediately and was never challenged, for the rest of the race. Starting second on the grid, for the first time in his Formula Vee career, Nico Blignaut (Gilus IT SAP Rhema 2) initially slotted into second place before he was passed by Essa. Blignaut was then pushed wide, at Turn 5, losing a number of places in the process. Keegan Campos (Campos Transport Carrera Sunglasses Rhema 2) had also had a moment, during the first lap of the race, rejoinimg right at the back of the field but was soon picking off those ahead of him, one by one.
As the race settled down a number of battles developed. One of then involved Dennis Johns, deputizing for Greg Wilson, in the second Reflex Solutions Rhema 2, Paul Venter (Nashua Mobile Rhema 1), Blignaut and Nicholas Tenant (Tenant Life Benefits Rhema 2), who was struggling with all sorts of handling problems. Behind them, there was a really hectic battle, involving Alan Eustice (Execuline Racing Rhema 2), Hugo Wallendorf (BJ Pro Welding Lantis) and Henk Swanepoel (Renexcon Rhema 2), the three of them locked together and swapping places on a regular basis. while even Van Der Linde, Mile Stewart (Direction Group Rhema 2) and Mariaan Brits (Nedbank MFC Women in Motorsport Rhema 1), kept in touch with one another, for a while. Then Brits spun at Turn 1, going off the circuit backwards but stopped the car before the embankment and was able to rejoin the race, with the car unharmed.
Still locked in battle, Eustice, Wallendorf and Swanepoel, commenced their fourteenth lap of the race but as they braked for Turn 2, Wallendorf saw the back of Eustice's car drop on the one side, as a suspension rod gave way. Wallendorf turned in as late as possible going right around the outside of the bend but thinking that Wallendorf had made a mistake, Swanepoel seized the opportunity and followed Eustice into the bend but the back of the Execuline Racing Rhema 2 let go and as Wallendorf squeezed past on the outside, Swanepoel was trapped. Eustice's car was almost backwards, by the time the Renexcon Rhema 2 was launched over Eustice's back wheel and barrel rolled a full 360 degrees, before it came to rest back on it's wheels, in the outfield, with a shaken but otherwise relatively unharmed Swanepoel, wondering what on earth had happened.
With Swanepoel's car sitting a meter or two beyond the outside of the bend and Eustice backwards in the middle of the road, on the exit of the bend, the Safety Car was deployed. Eustice was then able to turn around and trundle along, at the back of the queue before the Chequered Flag came out three laps early and the race ended behind the Safety Car, with Hills taking the victory, from Essa, Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2), Venter, Tennant, Johns, Blignaut, Campos, Wallendorf, Stewart, Eustice and Brits, while Swanepoel was also classified as a finisher, having completed more that two thirds of the race.
The second heat, was also destined to produce it's fair share of drama. Swanepoel would be a non starter, together with Johns who had struggled with a clutch problem during the first heat. Hills lead the rest of the field away, from the line but Stewart did not get far and retired after two laps, when the throttle stuck open at Turn 2. Then after another couple of laps, Venter went off the road, bent the rear shock absorber, and parked the Nashua Mobile Rhema 1, at Turn 4. Tennant then, only lasted a couple more laps, before he locked up all four wheels, in front of Blignaut at Turn 5 and went straight on in a cloud of dust. The car ended up not to far from the circuit but could not be moved, as the wheels where all locked solid and after a few laps under a waved yellow flag, the flag was withdrawn but it came back out again, after Van Der Linde run wide, while being lapped, by Grobler and got stuck, not far off the circuit, on the exit of the bend.
Turn 5 is the main overtaking point, at Lichtenburg, and with that under yellow, Campos had to look elsewhere, for a way past Grobler who he had been harrying for many laps but he then went off the road at Turn 1, in the same way that Swanepoel had done in qualifying, with the same consequences, losing his front wheel against the embankment as well, three laps before the end of the race. There where no such problems for Hills and he came through to take his second victory of the day, ahead of Essa, Grobler, Blignaut, Eustice and Wallendorf who had once again been locked in battle, the entire race. Brits finished next, having kept out of trouble and ended up reaping the rewards, for her efforts, in her first Formula Vee race, while Campos and Van Der Linda, had both completed enough laps, to also be classified as finishers