Close competition, brilliant spectacle and robust driving typified Rounds 13 and 14 of this year’s South African Production Car Championship at the East London Grand Prix circuit on Saturday (August 28). In the process the tin top racing brigade thoroughly entertained an 18 000 strong Eastern Cape crowd. Many of the fans came to witness a war between the Class A entries of BMW and Alfa Romeo - and they were not disappointed. -
- At the start of the opening race Martin Steyn (LG Alfa Romeo 147 GTA), Johan Fourie (Kaye-Eddie BMW 330i), plus works Castrol BMW 330i drivers Anthony Taylor and Hennie Groenewald engaged in a no holds barred battle for the lead. They were ahead of Steven Morris (Kaye-Eddie BMW 330i), Morne Jurgens (LG Alfa Romeo 147 GTA), Nuno da Cunha (LG Alfa Romeo 147 GTA) and Robbie Smith (Kaye-Eddie BMW 330i). Steyn’s Alfa had the best legs down the circuit’s main straight and through the fearsomely fast Potter’s Pass and Rifle Range sweeps, while the BMWs held an advantage through the venue’s twisty, tricky infield. The result was a riveting, high-speed chess game that had the Eastern Cape crowd on its feet. Fourie dropped out of the equation on lap 7 when his BMW tangled with a backmarker and suffered a puncture. Then, after the race, Morris’s BMW and Jurgens’ Alfa Romeo were found to be marginally underweight, and disqualified. That left Steyn to win ahead of Taylor, Groenewald, Smith and Richard Sorensen (Titan Aviation BMW 330i). -
- Race Two produced similar action, with Steyn’s Alfa coming under serious attack from the works BMWs of Taylor and Groenewald. In the end they finished in that order, with Steyn crossing the finish line half a second ahead of Taylor, and Groenewald another second adrift. Kaye-Eddie BMW drivers Steven Morris and Robbie Smith finished fourth and fifth, ahead of Richard Sorensen. -
- In Class B Shaun van der Linde won both times with his Castrol MINI Cooper S, both times narrowly ahead of Craig Nicholson’s similar, Sabat sponsored MINI. Brian Martin (Havoline Toyota RunX RSi) and Clint Weston (Furman Glass Ford Focus ST170) took the respective third and fourth places. -
- Mike O’Sullivan (Bluetooth Fiat Palio) won both of the Class C races. In the opening event he was followed by Carlos Nobre (VW CitiGolf 1600), Dave Compton (Toyota Tazz 1600), Theunis Eloff (Bluetooth Fiat Palio) and Fanie de Bruin (Makita Ford Ikon 1,6i). The second time around Compton took the runner up spot, followed by Rob Preuss (VW Golf 1600), Fanie de Bruin and Eckhardt Schoenknecht (Caltex VW Polo TDi). -
- At the end of the meeting, Preuss was awarded the coveted CAR Magazine Rookie of the Day accolade. -
- The non-championship Honda Cup races were both won by Lawrence Boshoff (Net IQ Honda Ballade 180i), ahead of Doug Reekie and Molefe Lebethe, in similar cars. The next round of the 2004 SA Production Car Championship will be held at the Free State Phakisa Raceway on Saturday, September 18.