Tough Fighting, Title Lead Change in Cape Midas Production Car Races Titanic battles throughout the field, an overall title lead change and unexpected winners typified Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2001 Midas Production Car Championship at the Western...
Tough Fighting, Title Lead Change in Cape Midas Production Car Races
Titanic battles throughout the field, an overall title lead change and unexpected winners typified Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2001 Midas Production Car Championship at the Western Cape Killarney circuit on Saturday (May 26).
Castrol BMW 328i driver Sean van der Linde took the year's overall championship lead via two flag-to-flag Class A victories, after setting the weekend's quickest official qualifying lap time. Behind him, things were not that clear-cut. Van der Linde grabbed the lead at the start of the opening race, hotly pursued by Michael Briggs (Castrol BMW 328i), Reghardt Roets (Kaye-Eddie BMW 328i) and Steve Wyndham (Ford Credit Fairmont).
Things went wrong on the first lap when Roets and Briggs tried to claim the same piece of tarmac going into the tight Engen hairpin corner. The resultant collision sent both BMWs spinning, taking the hapless Wyndham's Ford into the Killarney boondocks with them. That left Van der Linde in a comfortable lead, which he held to the finish, chased all the way by Gavin Kelsey (Kay-Eddie BMW 328i), the similar car of Richard Sorensen, Chad Wentzel (Sportech BMW 328i) and Michele Lupini (Champion Subaru Impreza WRX).
Van der Linde repeated the exercise in Race Two, with the excitement again happening behind him. Local hero Steve Wyndham, furious after the first-race happenings, took on the BMW brigade in spectacular door-bashing style. Following a number of robust overtaking manoeuvres, he blasted the big Ford into second place on the penultimate lap, staying there to score the car's best Midas Production Car result yet.
Third, setting the quickest lap time of the race, was Reghardt Roets in his BMW, followed by the similar cars of Michael Briggs, Gavin Kelsey and Chad Wentzel.
The Castrol Toyota- and Total Honda teams locked horns in Class B. Works Toyota Corolla RSi drivers Charl Wilken and Mark Cronje' took the first two places in the opening race, followed over the line by Team Total Honda Ballade V-TEC racers Gavin Cronje' and Curt Alchin.
The second race saw the Hondas on the front pace, and a no-holds-barred four-car battle ensued. It came to a head in the last corner of the final lap when Curt Alchin forced his Honda past Wilken's Toyota, to win by less than a tenth of a second.
Behind them brothers Gavin and Mark Cronje' clashed and went off the circuit in unison, leaving Dave Kopke (Castrol Toyota Corolla RSi), Mario da Sousa (Imperial Toyota Corolla RSi) and Brian Luyt (Opel Astra 200iE) to fill the third, fourth and fifth places.
Local veteran Phillip Booysen (Max-Flex Honda Ballade 180i) won both of the Class C races, followed by the similar cars of Ian Long and Vaughn Williams, plus the Opel Kadett 180i of Bert Grogor.
The opening Class D race saw initial leaders Stephen Taylor and Leeroy Poulter tangle and spin their Deltapart Opel Corsa 160 GSi entries in the ultra-fast Sabat Sweep. Then Etienne du Toit (Murray & Roberts Ford Fiesta RSi) was thumped off the circuit. That left a delighted Phillip Kekana (Sasol Toyota Tazz 160i RS) to take his very first Midas Production Car race victory, followed by Fanie de Bruin (Makita Ford Fiesta RSi), a recovered Poulter in his Opel and Dawie de Villiers (Daihatsu Sirion).
Normal order was restored in Race Two, with Stephen Taylor leading Leeroy Poulter home in their Opels after a spirited challenge by Du Toit's Ford ended in the Sabat Sweep gravel trap. Kekana took the third place ahead of De Bruin's Ford and De Villiers' Daihatsu.
Cor Kraamwinkel (Goldi Chicken Opel Kadett 140i) won the Class E races, followed on both occasions by James Menin (Midas Goldfields Opel Corsa 130i) and Dave Compton (Toyota Tazz). Fourth and fifth places in the two race heats netted Nico de Waal (Opel Corsa 140i) the prestigious CAR Magazine Rookie of the Day award, while the CAR Trier of the Day accolade went to Angus Thompson in his VW Citi Golf.
The next round of the 2001 Midas Production Car Championship will be held at the East London Grand Prix circuit on Saturday, June 23.