Circuit racers light KZN streets
KEEPING THINGS TIGHT: BMW driver Etienne van der Linde blazes past concrete barriers on his way to an overall win at the street circuit set up in Durban this weekend to coincide with the 2012 Top Gear Festival
Durban played host to the WesBank Super Series, which played out alongside the Top Gear Festival hosted in the city this weekend, although the unusual setting of the tight street circuit proved challenging to many top drivers.
The unforgiving wall-lined 2km “green” track meant there wasn’t much grip on the racing line, which tripped up a number of competitors during Friday’s practice sessions.
And the nature of the street circuit meant whoever started from pole position had an immediate advantage.
There was action from the start of qualifying in the Bridgestone Production Car event as a lap two accident eliminated Mish-Al Sing (BMW 335i), Johan Fourie (Audi S4) and Graeme Nathan (VW Golf GTI).
Michael Stephen (Audi S4) started the race from pole position and led Etienne van der Linde (BMW 335i) and Melvill Priest (Audi S4), but neither looked likely to threaten the black Audi when Ford driver Shaun Duminy and the Mini of Lee Thompson clashed at turn one, causing the Mini to hit the wall backwards. The race was stopped and the result declared after only eight laps.
In Class T, it was a day of firsts for Jacques Joubert (VW Golf GTI), who secured his first pole position and went on to score a popular win ahead of Gennaro Bonafede his GTI as Gary Formato finished third in his Ford Focus.
There was a qualifying again on Sunday morning for Production Cars and this time it was van der Linde who had the advantage in Class A, while Bonafede had the edge in Class T.
Van der Linde held the advantage throughout the incident-free 12 laps and he opened up an early gap before relaxing his pace to win comfortably from Stephen and Priest. Van der Linde also claimed the overall result.
Things were more frantic in Class T where Bonafede kept his starting advantage with Joubert not too far behind. As the race wore on, Joubert came under attack from Formato who mounted a desperate challenge for second place with two laps to go. Joubert fended off the challenge but both lost ground which gave Bonafede enough of a margin to scoop the overall win.
Simon Moss took full advantage of his position at the head of the Formula VW grid and never put a foot wrong to ace each race ahead of Jayde Kruger. Third in race one was Ernie van der Walt while Nic Chapman got the position in race two.
Moss’s wins saw him close the gap to championship leader Kruger, who still holds a handy lead.
In Formula 1600, Werner Scholtz finished off the race weekend as the double winner , while Jason Campos narrowly missed out in both races while current champion Mathew Merton recorded two third place finishes.
The hard-fought Volkswagen Cup races produced different winners – 15- year old Kelvin van der Linde took the first heat in an aggressive drive to take the win over Kyle Barnes and Mathew Hodges.
In race two, however, Barnes took the lead from the start and resisted a number of charges from van der Linde to win by less than a car length. Devin Robertson finished third. Van der Linde, based on aggregate race times, took the overall win.
The next round of the 2012 Wesbank Super Series will be hosted at the Phakisa Raceway in Welkom on August 4, 2012.
Bridgestone Production Cars
Michael Stephen, 2 Etienne van der Linde, 3 Anthony Taylor, 4 Melvill Priest, 5 Tschops Sipuka
1 Van der Linde, 2 Stephen, 3 Priest, 4 Darryn Lobb, 5 Sipuka
1 Jacques Joubert, 2 Gennaro Bonafede, 3 Gary Formato
1 Bonafede, 2 Joubert, 3 Formato
Engen VW Cup
1 Kelvin vd Linde, 2 Kyle Barnes, 3 Mathew Hodges, 4 Kosie Weyers, 5, Devin Robertson
1 Barnes, 2 Van der Linde, 3 Robertson
SA Single Seaters
1 Simon Moss, 2 Jayde Kruger, 3 Ernie van der Walt, 4 Nic Chapman, 5 Tato Carello
1 Werner Scholtz, 2 Jason Campos, 3 Mathew Merton
1 Moss, 2 Kruger, 3 Chapman, 4 vd Walt, 5 Nicholas van Weely