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SEAT Sport looking strong for championship

by CAR magazine on 08/09/2008

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The Bridgestone Production Car Championship is beginning to wind down and SEAT Sport still tops the Class T championship points table. In a demonstration of the SEAT Leon Cupra’s dominance, Graeme Nathan set a new lap record at Zwartkops this past weekend (6 September).

Graeme Nathan, now running under the IndyOil banner, did his new sponsor proud by putting his SEAT on pole position for the first race. The Leon Cupra was two tenths of a second faster than the Ford Focus ST duo of Gary Formato and Shaun Duminy.

Nathan held onto his lead off the rolling start and immediately began to open a gap between himself and a hard charging Reghard Roets (Opel Astra OPC). By lap 11, Nathan was comfortably out in front, but his hard charging at the beginning of the race was beginning to take its toll on his tyres. With the level of degradation high, Nathan was forced to slow down, now aiming just to finish the race. With the real threat of a blow out, Nathan was forced to drop his lap times by more than eight seconds a lap and yet still managed to crawl home in eighth place. The team’s consolation was that Nathan broke the existing lap record at the beginning of the race by just under one second.

Philip Kekana’s luck wasn’t any better as he struggled with intermittent fuel pressure problems. Fortunately, the team were able to repair the problem and get Kekana out for a good second race.

The second race began with a partially inverted grid and this worked in Nathan’s favour. This eighth place finish in race one, put him on pole position for race two. Nathan had a good start, but drove conservatively in order to ensure the longevity of his tyres. He held onto the lead for 11 laps before Reghard Roets managed to get ahead. The duo pulled away from the rest of the field and Nathan crossed the finish line in an unchallenged second place.

Kekana had to work fairly harder for his position after having to start in 16th position. He drove his heart out and steadily progressed through the field. By the time the chequered flag came out, Kekana was in a commendable seventh position.

The team would like to thank the SEAT Owners Club for their support and encouragement throughout the weekend.

Graeme Nathan holds onto the championship lead and must at this point be the favourite for the title. The next event will be held at Kyalami on 25 October.