Time to shine, some of South Africa’s best motorsport behemoths had their chance to strut their stuff up the short 1,9 km stretch of Knysna tarmac of the qualifying day for the 2023 Simola Hillclimb.
Times tumbled throughout the mild day in Knysna, with some of the most ludicrous local leviathans taking to the hill in a series of practice and qualifying sessions, that record time from the previous outing in 2022 looking tantalisingly close.
- Andre Bezuidenhout – 35,347 (Gould GR55)
- Robert Wolk – 37,259 (MP58)
- Reghard Roets – 38,045 (Nissan GT-R R35)
- Franco Scribante – 39,021 (Nissan GT-R R35)
- Petter Solberg – 40,165 (Volkswagen Polo R WRX Supercar)
- Charl Joubert – 40,253 (Lotus Elise)
- Andrew Rackstraw – 40,389 (Formula VW)
- Rui Campos – 40,745 (CanAm)
- Byron Mitchell – 40,797 (Reynard)
- Dawie Joubert – 41,355 (Lotus Exige)
Apart from a few mechanical hiccups along the course, it was business as usual for day 2 of the 2023 Simola Hillclimb edition. Challengers for the King of the Hill title got to get their first taste of the asphalt ahead of Sunday – the day that counts. Thunderously loud single-seaters and 6-cylinder power Nissans of all sorts took to the hill with deafening precision with the best time being set by Andre Bezuidenhout, marginally off his King of the Hill winning time from 2022 (34,161). International superstar Petter Solberg put on a brave display with his four-cylinder Polo World Rally Championship car but despite its sub 2 second 0-100 km/h sprint time, could only manage 5th in the competitive set of times.
Further down the list are other heavily modified models that once bore resemblance to their production counterparts intended solely for road use. Title sponsors Suzuki, along with BMW, Honda and Volkswagen all have production-ready models tackling their respective classes against privateers. Soon to hit showroom floors of this impressive fleet are the BMW M2, BMW XM and Honda Civic Type R.
Final adjustments after the qualifying day will be crucial to topple the standing record with more qualifying sessions for Sunday morning. Following that, the King of the Hill runs.