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BMW in the hunt to defend title

2006-11-17 12:12
Defending South African Production Car Champion Anthony Taylor is back in the hunt for a second successive title in this exciting series.

This turnaround follows an MSA Court of Inquiry into an unfortunate incident in the previous round at Killarney in Cape Town which had, for all practical reasons, put him out of reach of the 2006 title.

Taylor, driving his BMW Van der Linde Racing 330i at the sharp end of the field after a brilliant start next to pole-sitter Leeroy Poulter (Nissan 350Z), was sent spinning off the circuit in a cloud of tyre smoke and dust, and limped home in 6th, after a last-corner collision with the Nissan driver.

"The MSA court of inquiry, which studied the video footage from a rear-view camera in my car, ruled that although I drove very defensively I did so without breaking the rules. The video clearly shows Poulter hitting me on the right rear corner of my car, in an avoidable accident, and sending my BMW spinning off the circuit," said Taylor, who received the outcome of the hearing ten days after the Killarney event.

"I obviously made my car as wide as possible - this is a championship battle after all - and I can sympathise with Leeroy to an extent. He must have been extremely frustrated at not being able to get past me," the defending driver's champion said.

The outcome of the hearing resulted in a point's adjustment in the championship. After Killarney and with the provisional results in place, Poulter had increased his lead to 17 points (Taylor was second with Poulter third in the last race of the day), effectively putting Taylor out of reach of winning his second overall and Class A championships. However, following the hearing, Poulter was placed behind Taylor, moving Taylor up to fifth position. A single point was also deducted from Poulter's tally.

"Now the difference is only 5 points, which means I have to beat Leeroy in each race and make the most of bonus point opportunities for qualifying and the lap record - anything and everything will help," said a confident Taylor.

Taylor will also have the advantage of a lighter car because of his adjusted Killarney results, while Poulter, who also received a yellow card for the Killarney incident, will race with full weight added to his car.

"I can still do it," Taylor said. "Kyalami will be an exciting place to be next weekend."

Taylor's Van der Linde Racing team-mate, Etienne van der Linde, who is third in the championship, had some misfiring problems at Killarney, but is confident the problems have been sorted out.

"I like the new format of a shorter first race and longer second race, like we had at Killarney. The new race format makes it more interesting, and allows factors such as tyre wear, reliability and driver fitness to come into play," he said.

"I've had mixed fortunes all year and the earlier Kyalami events were no exception. However, I know I have the pace to win there and would like to finish the season with a good result. I was robbed of a win in the second race at Killarney when my engine kept cutting out. My chances are as good as ever to win more races; my luck has to return sooner or later!"

BMW Motorsport manager Danie Human last week confirmed that the team's technical problems have been resolved.

"We have found the cause of the misfiring problems Etienne experienced at Killarney and will be ready to take the fight all the way to the chequered flag at Kyalami. Our main aim for Kyalami is to help Anthony secure the driver's championship for BMW, and the team will support him one hundred percent."

Points standings after the MSA Hearing and adjustment:

1.Leeroy Poulter (Nissan) - 219
2.Anthony Taylor (BMW) - 214
3.Etienne van der Linde -108
4.Johan Fourie (Audi) - 98
5.Melville Priest (Audi) - 98
6.Gary Formato (Nissan) - 67


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