The fact that Kyalami’s 4,2 kilometre expanse would favour rear-wheel drive cars became clear during Friday afternoon’s official qualifying. After the 15-minute session Etienne van der Linde (Afrox BMW 330i) occupied pole position, ahead of Leeroy Poulter (Sasol Nissan 350Z), Marco da Cunha (Tubular Tech Nissan 350Z) and Anthony Taylor (Afrox BMW 330i).
Van der Linde drove the point home on Saturday, when he led the opening race from flag to flag in his BMW. He was followed over the finish line by Marco da Cunha’s Nissan, Anthony Taylor’s BMW, Melvill Priest (MiKar Lenovo Audi A4 3,2 quattro), Shaun Watson-Smith (Engen Xtreme Audi) and Johan Fourie (Indy Oil Audi).
Race two, started from a partially inverted grid, saw casualties when the Audi of Watson-Smith and the BMW of Anthony Taylor tried to occupy the same space in Clubhouse Corner. The resultant collision sent Taylor’s BMW spinning, to be solidly collected by the BMW of his team-mate Van der Linde. All three cars dropped out of contention, while covering the relevant corner in huge clouds of dust and smoke. Johan Fourie avoided the drama and he went on to win with his Audi, leading home the similar car of Michael Stephen, the Nissans of Leeroy Poulter and Marco da Cunha, the Audi of Melvill Priest and the Sasol Nissan of Tschops Sipuka.
In Class T for force-inducted petrol engined cars the carnage started on Friday afternoon when Michael van Rooyen’s speared his RSC VW Golf GTI into the concrete wall on the inside of Nashua corner. The car was wrecked and the driver taken to hospital with concussion and severe bruising.
A more agreeable surprise came from Reghard Roets, who took his brand new Webcom Opel Astra OPC to pole position, first time out. Roets showed the car’s qualifying pace was no fluke when he led Saturday’s opening race for five laps, before the Opel slowed with electronic bothers. Others with problems included Peet Visagie, who hit the inside wall at Sunset corner hard in his Time Mining Golf GTI.
That left Graeme Nathan (SEAT Leon Cupra) to win ahead of Gary Formato (Ford Racing Focus ST), Iain Pepper (PG Glass Golf GTI), Curt Alchin (Real Africa Golf GTI), Graham Donker (Mini Maxi Golf GTI) and Gary van Heerden (Webcom Opel Astra OPC). Gary Formato’s challenge came to a premature end in race two, when his Focus slid off the track in the ultra-fast sweep after the pits, hooked up in the sandtrap and rolled.
Pepper then won the race in his Golf, ahead of Roets’ Opel, Nathan’s SEAT, the Golfs of Alchin and Donker, plus the Ford Racing Focus ST of Shaun Duminy.
Ben Morgenrood (Agip Mazda RX8) virtually clinched this year’s Class B championship by winning both of the day’s races. On the first occasion, he led home Danie van Niekerk (Stanger Ford Fiesta ST), Kosie Swanepoel (Barnett’s Toyota RunX RSi) and Shaun Pike (Tosco Toyota RunX). In race two Van Niekerk’s Ford failed, leaving Morgenrood to win from Swanepoel and Pike.
The next round of the 2008 Bridgestone South African Production Car championship will be held at Phakisa in the free State on Saturday, August 9.