Following a month of intensive development, the Nissan 350Zs of Gary Formato and Duncan Vos could be a match for the BMW 330i and Alfa Romeo 147 GTA competitors in this weekend's rounds of the Sahara Production Car Championship in Cape Town.

Following a month of intensive development, the Nissan 350Zs of Gary Formato and Duncan Vos could be a match for the BMW 330i and Alfa Romeo 147 GTA competitors in this weekend's rounds of the Sahara Production Car Championship in Cape Town.


Rounds Three and Four of the championship will take place at Killarney on Saturday and the factory teams of BMW, Alfa Romeo and Nissan are set to wage a three-sided war for overall supremacy in Class A, motorsport correspondent Andre de Kock predicted on Monday.


Defending Class A Champion and early-season points leader

Anthony Taylor (Castrol BMW 330i) will start the weekend as the favourite. Following a race win and quickest lap time during the season's opening events at Kyalami in February, Taylor will wish to consolidate his advantage, supported by team mate Hennie Groenewald in an identical Castrol BMW 330i.


The BMW troupe will face formidable opposition from the Alfa team, led by saloon car specialist Reghardt Roets in the Alfa Squadra Corse Samsung 147 GTA. Roets also won a race at Kyalami. He will be supported by team-mates Morne Jurgens and Marco da Cunha in similar entries.


But don't underestimate the improved Sasol AE Nissan 350Z team, De Kock says. Formato surprised many by finishing third against the more developed BMWs and Alfas in wet conditions at Kyalami last month, and stands a chance to record the team's first win at Killarney - a track to which the Nissans will be well-suited.


"Experts expect the Alfas to have the legs down Killarney's long back straight, with the rear-wheel drive BMWs and Nissans quicker through the circuit's twisty infield sections," he added.


Topping a 12-strong Class B entry will be the works Castrol Mini Cooper S of overall SA Production Car Champion Shaun van der Linde, whose main rivals will be Martin Steyn (GP Windscreens Cooper S) and Craig Nicholson in his identical, Sabat-liveried car.


The supercharged Minis will not have an easy route to the chequered flag, though. The factory Fiat SA team's Dawie Brough, Mike O'Sullivan and Angus Thompson, in Fiat Stilo Abarths, will be in the running for podium finishes, as could Dave Compton and Phillip Kekana (Toyota RunX RSi entries) and Brian Martin (Havoline RSi).


Mercedes-Benz will join the battle with turbodiesel C270 CDI models, driven by Garth Waberski and Hector North. Local hero Steve Wyndham (Ford Credit Focus ST170), young privateer Bert Grogor (German Workshop Toyota RunX RSi) and Delon Williams - in his Peugeot 206 GTi - round off the Class B entry list.


Meanwhile, the Class C duel between Fiat SA's young protégé, Theunis Eloff (Fiat Palio), and Ford's experienced Clint Weston, in his M&R Ford Ikon 1,6, promises to deliver riveting action.


Eloff and Weston will also have to repel challenges from Molefe Lebethe (Fiat SA Palio) and the Volkswagen CitiGolf 1600 entries of privateers Rob Preuss, Carlos Nobre and Francois van Zyl.


Flying the turbodiesel flag in Class C will be Eckhardt Schoenknecht (Caltex VW Polo TDi). Rookies Mark Silverwood (VW CitiGolf 1600) and former kart racing star Guy Botterill (Big Foot Fiat Palio) could also provide surprises, De Kock concluded.