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Castrol MINI heads for glory

2006-11-17 12:12

Dynamite comes in small packages, and in the 2006 SA Bridgestone Production Car Championship this is especially true in Class T for forced inductions vehicles.

So far this season, the Castrol MINI Cooper S JCWs of Clint Weston and Garth Waberski have been setting the pace, in spite of a determined onslaught from a threesome of Golf GTI competitors. With one round of the championship remaining, MINI pilots Weston and Waberski have managed to keep the MINI wings soaring and head to Kyalami on the brink of a championship one-two.

It hasn't been all smooth sailing however. "Killarney was a perfect weekend for me until I had mechanical troubles," remembers Weston who saw his 16-point advantage shrink to 13 after the Cape Town outing.

"In the first race I got to the front of the field at the start and the car proved to be very competitive. Eckhart and I swapped the lead position a few times, but unfortunately I picked up a misfire on the MINI and ended third.

"In the second race I had another good start and opened up a massive lead for the first half of the 18-lap race, but then the MINI started misfiring again. I limped to the end and unbelievably made it to the finish. I still have a comfortable 13-point lead, and need only 2 points to secure the championship ? something I am sure I will manage at Kyalami, which is my favourite circuit," he said with confidence.

For Waberski, a double winner at Kyalami in the previous outing at the Midrand circuit, Cape Town was a slight disappointment.

"We were hoping we could clinch the championship for Clint in Cape Town but it was not to be. But perhaps taking the crown at Kyalami will be a better proposition as because we will have all of our corporate guests there and it will be nice for them to be apart of it. Besides, Clint and I both love Kyalami and we always seem to run well there," the young MINI driver promised.

"As for Cape Town - we started in good spirits as we qualified first and second on the grid for both races, and we were at least half a second faster then the quickest of the Golfs. So it looked very promising for the rest of the weekend.

"But I was delayed at the start of Race 1 when one of the class A cars selected reverse instead of first, and I was forced to get off the throttle, which forced me back into third before the first corner. After that I just followed Clint as it was important for him to gain maximum points for the weekend," Waberski said with good sportsmanship.

"But then he developed an electric misfire which dropped him back, while I went after the Golf. Unfortunately we ran out of time in the short 8 lap race."

The second race got off to a promising start with Waberski running second to Weston, but not for long.

"Yet again a Class A car caused a problem for me when one of the Nissans spun on the first lap and I was forced to take evasive action. That allowed one of the Golfs to get past along the back straight. My MINI then developed a misfire similar to Clint's but I was able to nurse it until the last lap when the engine cut out going through the mega-fast Malmesbury corner. It was a dramatic end to my race as many of the cars behind me had to take evasive action."

Although the main aim for the Castrol MINI team will be securing the championship for Weston, Waberski has his sights set on finishing well ahead of Schoenknecht?s GTI in both races and consequently grab second position in the championship.

Castrol MINI team manager Danie Human has high hopes.

"We've done a lot of work on the cars and it seems we have found the problem that caused the misfiring," he said. "We are confident that both cars will be in the same winning form as they have been so many times before at Kyalami."

Current Championship Points:
1.Clint Weston (MINI) - 83
2.Eckhart Schoenknecht (Golf) - 70
3.Garth Waberski (63)


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