Grey-haired but still great - Geoff Mortimer, second from left, was fastest overall on the first day of Fidentia Fireball '06.
The unique event, which involves a week of head-to-head motor racing encounters between some of the most desirable production GT performance cars in the world, started at WesBank Raceway on Saturday with a 400 metre sprint on the WesBank drag strip and a closely contested gymkhana under lights on the raceway?s infield.
The colourful collection of mouth-watering machinery then moved to Kyalami on Sunday for time trials on the grand prix circuit.
Overall winner of the drag races was former SA saloon car and rally champion Geoff Mortimer in a Nissan GTR, who recorded a combined time of 24.65 sec for his two standing start runs down the drag strip.
His best time of 12.29 sec was the second fastest of the day.
FTD went to Johannesburg businessman Gary Mockler, owner of the 400 kW twin turbo GTR, who broke the beam at the end of the 400 metre sprint in 12.19 sec at a terminal speed of just under 190 km/h.
Mockler finished second overall behind Mortimer with an aggregate time of 25.69 sec.
Third overall was Durban radiologist Stuart Kidgell in his Ultima.
The twin turbo Alfa Romeo V6-powered car clocked an aggregate time for the two runs of 26.28 sec
Fastest car through the 400 metre beam was the Porsche GT2 of Andre Bezuidenhout at 204 km/h.
Former VW Polo Cup champion Tschops Sipuka, driving a 3.5-litre V6-engined Nissan 350Z, won the gymkhana in an aggregate time of 1 min 23.12 sec for the two runs.
Second was racing driver Gugu Zulu in a sister 350Z, like Sipuka's car specially bought by sponsor Fidentia for the '06 Fireball and entered as Team Fidentia Racing.
His combined time was just seven tenths of a second slower than Sipuka's, at 1 min 23.85 sec.
Third was Geoff Mortimer in the Nissan GTR with a combined time of 86.25 sec.
Fastest time for the gymkhana (40.53 sec), which was a sprint around a tight course marked out by plastic cones, went to Cape Town businessman Ian George in his twin-turbo Ford Mondeo-engined Noble sports car.
His aggregate time of 1 min 27.57 sec was spoilt by a slow first run and saw him finish fifth overall.
Sunday's time trials at Kyalami, held in cool and overcast conditions, saw Stuart Kidgell and his Ultima emerge as the winners after each car had four timed laps of Kyalami, racing against the clock as opposed to fellow competitors.
Kidgell was also credited with the fastest single lap at 1 min 51.61 sec.
Second was Andre Bezuidenhout (Porsche GT2) with a best time of 1 min 54.67 sec and third was Brian White (Porsche RSR) with a best time of 1 min 58.52 sec.
Each driver's best three times combined determined the event winners.
Today's (Monday's) programme includes a combined gymkhana/sprint event on the Toyota test track at Eston in Natal which will test both the cars' agility and speed, and the drivers' car handling skills.
The Fidentia Fireball '06 then travels down the coast to East London (Wednesday), Port Elizabeth (Thursday and Friday), George (Saturday) and then Cape Town, where the final competition takes place at the Killarney circuit on Sunday morning.
Fireball has concluded a naming rights sponsorship deal for three years with the Cape Town-based Fidentia Group.
- Fidentia's primary service offering is the enablement of clients? business strategies, providing and facilitating infrastructure, expertise, administration services, consulting services, software development services and third party branding licensing for collective investment and life investment solutions.
- Part of the sponsorship will include a development programme to enable drivers from previously disadvantaged communities to benefit from training programmes conducted by expert drivers and also to take part in motor sport events like the Fidentia Fireball.
- Subsidiary sponsors are Johannesburg-based Jonnesway Tools and Nissan Extreme of Fourways in Gauteng.