Fierce PE Battle Fails To Resolve Formula Vee Log Congestion. The 2010 South African National Formula Vee Championship log, after the Port Elizabeth round on the 8th May, still gives no clear indication, as to the eventual outcome of the...
Fierce PE Battle Fails To Resolve Formula Vee Log Congestion.
The 2010 South African National Formula Vee Championship log, after the Port Elizabeth round on the 8th May, still gives no clear indication, as to the eventual outcome of the 2010 title chase. Zaahir Essa (NLDTF Reflex Solutions Rhema 2) is however, starting to establish himself as a strong contender, to become the first South African Formula Vee development driver, to secure the South African National Formula Vee title. With the season having reached the midway mark, at Port Elizabeth, a mere eight points separate the first four drivers on the log, including two ex Champions and Essa can not afford to slack off, for one second.
Essa propelled himself to the top of the log, with two victories at Port Elizabeth but had to work very hard, for both of them and was pushed all the way, by Nicholas Tennant (Tennant Life Benefits Rhema 2), who celebrated his twentieth birthday at the event and the two ex National Champions in the field, Peter Hills (Renexcon Rhema 2) and Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2). Initially, Paul Venter (Lantis) hung onto the bunch as well but as the race progressed, he lost touch and slipped off the back of the bunch.
At the start of the first heat, Greg Wilson (Reflex Solutions Rhema 2) had been forced onto the grass in the run down to Turn One, which briefly dropped him to the back of the field. A little later in the race, Association Chairman Alan Eustice (Execuline Rhema 2) had a big moment coming out of the Esses. Eustice got all crossed up, before charging across the grass, making light contact with the tire wall. He then battled to keep the car pointing in the right direction, as he accelerated across the grass, in an effort to make his way back onto the circuit, a little further down the road.
In the end, Essa secured the first heat victory, by 0.105 of a second, ahead of Tennant and they where followed across the line, by Hills, Grobler, Venter, Ben Pienaar (BJ Pro Welding Rhema 2), Wilson, Nico Blignaut (Gilus IT SAP Rhema 2), Eustice and Mile Stewart (Direction Group Rhema 2).
The start of the second heat, almost saw Wilson go into the back of Venter, when Venter's car jumped out of gear as he tried to accelerate away from the line. Everyone however urvived the first lap, unscathed and the race would develop, with the same lead bunch battling it out at the head of the field. Then the pressure plate packed up, on Hills' car and he slowly sliped back down the field.
The battle, involving Essa, Tennant and Grobler, would however continue unabated. Having been unsuccessful in finding a way past Essa, for lap after lap, under braking at the end of the main straight, Tennant then decided to follow Essa into the corner and try to find another way of getting by, during the closing stages of the race. Tennant was however following too close and as Essa braked at the end of the main straight, Tennant's nose cone slammed into the back of Essa's car. The impact knocked Essa's car out of gear but he was still able to reselect the right gear, before the corner and maintain his advantage. For the next couple of laps, Tennant's nose cone hung on by a thread but then it tore lose and with the extra drag enabled Grobler to come out of Tennant's slipstream at the end of the main straight, on the last lap and demote Tennant to third place. Tennant was in turn, followed across the line, by Venter, Wilson, Hills and Pienaar who was penalized thirty seconds for jumping the start, while Eustice had pitted two laps before the end of the race, after another off course excursion, at the Esses. He still qualified as a finisher, while Blignaut and Stewart had both retired earlier, due to mechanical problems.