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Clean sweep for Fourie in East London

2014-07-07 08:23


CLEAR WIN: Gavin Cronje (BMW) holds off Michael Stephen (Audi S4) with Johan Fourie (BMW) en route to his second race win of the day. We're not to sure what the white bakkie is doing in the background. Image: Paul Bedford

EAST LONDON, Eastern Cape - Johan Fourie (BMW 335i) had the perfect race weekend at Round 4 of the 2014 Bridgestone Production Car championship raced in East London.

He scored pole in Friday’s qualifying (July 4), won both races and claimed bonus points for fastest lap in each race on Saturday.

Fourie’s perfect haul of 35 points gives him a slender two-point advantage at the top of the Class A table over defending champion Michael Stephen (Audi S4) halfway through the season.


In Class T, despite being involved in a crash which brought a premature end to the day’s feature race, Graeme Nathan (VW Golf GTi) extended his championship lead.

Race 1

The eight-lap sprint race got off to a dramatic start after a collision at Cocabana brought out the pace  car. The Audi S4 of Hennie Groenewald and Class T pole-starter Michael van Rooyen’s Chevrolet Cruze would take no further part.

Once the debris was cleared the drivers were left with a four-lap dash to the flag.

Fourie had an easy run to the line, winning by more than two seconds from team mate Gavin Cronje who had to fight off Stephen for the entire race. Simon Moss (Audi S4) came home fourth with a recovering Gennaro Bonafede (Audi S4) fifth.

With Van Rooyen eliminated, the Class T battle was fought between Lee Thompson (Mini), Gary Formato (Ford Focus ST) and Nathan. They crossed the line in that order, followed by Charl Smalberger (Golf GTi), series newcomer Mandla Mdakane (Mini) and Shaun Duminy (Focus ST).

Race 2

Cronje headed the grid for the 12-lap feature race with team mate Fourie fourth but it was only a lap until the two BMW 335i's were in formation at the head of the field. A couple of laps later Fourie went past Cronje and on to a comfortable win.

Cronje was left to deal with Stephen in a repeat of the first race. Despite Stephen trying everything he could, the speed of the BMW on the straights gave Cronje enough of an advantage to remain ahead of the Audi and he crossed the line a mere seven-hundredths of a second in front to give BMW its second 1-2 of the day.

In Class T Mdakane led the field away in his Mini. He held off challenges from Nathan and Smalberger before Formato forced his way past. Formato, later excluded for a boost-pressure infringement, headed off into the distance leaving Nathan to battle with Mdakane.

A brave move by Nathan saw him get past the Mini on the outside of Potter’s Pass but contact between the two a few moments later saw Nathan roll into the Eastern cape fynbos. The race was red-flagged when the hot Golf GTi set fire to the grass.

With the results calculated to the lap before the red flag, the win went to Mdakane with Nathan second. Michael van Rooyen’s team did and incredible job between races to get his car back on track and he rewarded them with third ahead of Duminy.

The Bridgestone Production Cars will next take to the track at Phakisa on August 2 2014.

Championship points

Class A
1 Johan Fourie - 102
2 Michael Stephen - 100
3 Gennaro Bonafede - 74

Class T
1 Graeme Nathan - 96
2 Michael van Rooyen - 75
3 Gary Formato - 65
Read more on:    audi  |  bmw  |  east london  |  racing  |  motorsport

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