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GT RACERS STRIKE 6 HOUR GOLD
Stradale Welkom Ferrari-Lamborghini 1-2

Son and father, Charl and Harry Arangies came brought their Stradale Ferrari 360 Challenge home to an unlikely Mopar Six Hours of the Goldfields South African Endurance Championship race victory in Welkom on Saturday. 

The Vanderbijlpark duo endured a race of attrition to lead teammates, Simon Murray and Gavin Cronje’s Stradale Lamborghini Gallardo home by two laps, with Durban crew Mike McLoughlin and Duncan Day putting their Backdraft Cobra onto the podium ahead of teammates Tony Martin and Mark Owen in a similar car to make it a 1-2-3-4 for GT cars.

Wayne Jardine fought back to fifth to redeem some glory for the troubled Fantastic Racing and take Sportscar honours, while Bradley Scorer, Theo van Vuuren and  scored a brilliant sixth as they took saloon car honours in their brand new Arnold Chatz Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

The race had fans on the edges of their seats throughout the first hour as a three-car battle played out when Marcel Agnel’s Viper overcame Johan Engelbrecht’s Juno to move into an early lead, but Gavin Cronje soon hustled his Lamborghini Gallardo ahead as the three tussled, soon catching the first lapped traffic.

Meanwhile a fourth car — Danish driver Michael Jensen’s cycle-fendered Formula Renault single seater scythed though the field from the back of the grid to make it a 4-car tussle, before one by one picking the leaders off to move to the front, but not before Cronje made him work very hard for that honour. That left Jensen leading Cronje, Angel and Engelbrecht and the Shelby Nissans of Doug Macdonald and Mike Verrier.

The second hour saw 15-year old Bloemfontein kid Stuart White taking over the super-quick Formula Renault, but while the hare ran away at the front, it seemed to need fuel more often, letting Engelbrecht slip into the lead for a lap just after White stopped a second time in an hour.

Cronje sat just 10 seconds behind Engelbrecht as the top three lapped within a lap and a game of strategy came into play. But Engelbrecht and Cronje suffered slow pitstops. Craig Jarvis sat fourth in the Viper, a lap clear of Charl Arangies’ Ferrari and Kevin Finneran’s Shelby-Nissan, while the tin-top battle continued to be fought out by the Alfa Romeos of Darren Winterboer and Bernard Vertenren and Trevor Bland and Jonathan Konig’s VW Golf GTis.

Then Cronje’s Lamborghini ran out of fuel and had to be towed to the pits while White drove away out front, a couple of laps clear of  Carruthers’ Juno, Angel and Arangies. Drama struck again as Lauth pitted he dominant Formula Renault to rectify a gear selection glitch and allow the Adcock Juno into the lead from the Viper, the Ferrari and Simon Murray racing back into contention with the Lamborghini.

Fantastic Racing’s woes continued as its Shelby duo slipped down the field to allow Backdraft pair Duncan Day and Mark Owens into sixth and seventh with the tin-top-leading Alfa Romeo Giulietta next up as the race seemed to have settled down again into the fifth hour. 

Then the Juno retired from a three-lap lead after its gearbox cried enough. to allow the Viper to move ahead from Aranges’ Ferrari, the recovered Mark Lauth and Murray’s Lamborghini, but the Viper coasted to a halt with a gearbox failure and the Renault stopped again, leaving Aranges head of Cronje, the Backdrafts and Mike Verrier back up to fifth in the Fantastic Shelby with Bradley Scorer’s Alfa Romeo Giulia a fine sixth.

The troubled Formula Renault was back up to speed and soon picked off the Alfa and the Backdrafts to run third with a half-hour to run, although it was back in the box as an intriguing scenario played out between the five cars fighting for third and the flying White in and out of the pits as night fell and the race wore down to the finish

Seventeen cars of the 30 starters finished the race with Charl and birthday boy Harry Arangies Ferrari winning overall and taking class Y and GT honours from Murray and Cronje’s Stradale Lamborghini an  the Backdrafts of McLoughlin and Day and Martin and Owen Jardine and  were fifth and first sportscar home to win Class T ahead of the Scorer/van Vuuren Alfa, which won the saloon category and Class V


Goldfields 6 Hour - hour 5 report
THE TAIL STARTS TO STING
The race seemed to have settled down again into the fifth hour, with Nick Adcock and the Harp Malta Juno in a three-lap lead in spite of losing second gear, ahead of Craig Jarvis (Viper) and Harry Aranges (Ferrari). The recovered Mark Lauth was fourth in the Formula Renault and Simon Murray sixth in the Lamborghini

But Adcock then slowed fifteen minutes into the hour and pitted, allowing Jarvis to reel off the three laps that separated him from it, to move into the lead on lap 133. The Juno was out after its gearbox cried enough.

Lauth and Gavin Cronje, who had since taken over the Lamborghini were then the quickest cars on the track, some five seconds a lap quicker than the Viper and Ferrari ahead as Charl took the red car over from his dad as the Ferrari moved into second as Lauth pitted the Renault again.

Then the Viper coasted to a halt at pit entrance leaving Aranges, who was tailing the Lamborghini almost a lap down on him, and Cronje to close the gap down as the team pushed the Dodge to its box, where it too would remain with a gearbox failure.

So by the time all that played out, Aranges’ led a Stradale Motorsport 1-2 with Cronje second and the next six cars in the pitlane with an hour and twenty minutes to run. It took a while for the changes to shake out but the the Backdrafts of Mike McLochlin and Tony Martin soon emerged in third and fourth from Mike Verrier back up to fifth in the Fantastic Shelby and the Bradley Scorer’s Alfa Romeo Giulia a fine sixth.


Goldfields 6 Hour - hour 4 report
ENDURANCE TAKES IT TOLL
All was static as the Mopar Goldfields 6 headed toward the three-quarter mark, but drama struck ten minutes to the hour as Mark Lauth pitted he dominant Fantastic Racing Formula Renault 3.5 and the tram struggled to rectify a gea selection glitch. 

That allowed Nick Adcock into the lead in the Harp Malta Juno into the race lead from Craig Jarvis (Viper) and Harry Aranges (Ferrari) as the Renault sat in the box at the hour with Simon Murray  racing back into contention with the Lamborghini that had stopped without fuel earlier back up to fifth 

Even worse for Fantastic Racing was that its Shelby duo was also slipping down the field to allow Backdraft duo Duncan Day and Mark Owens into sixth and seventh with the tin-top leading Alfa Romeo Giulietta next up with Theo van Vuuren at the helm from namesake Peter’s VSP 2000 and Doug MacDonald’s Fantastic Shelby.


Goldfields Hour 3 report
EBB & FLOW
The third hour of the Mopar Goldfields 6 hour started with drama as Gavin Cronje’s third-placed Lamborghini came to a halt and lost ten laps after it ran out of fuel and had to be towed to the pits.

Free State teenager Stuart White meanwhile drove away out front before handing the Formula Renault 3.5 to Mark Lauth couple of laps clear of Francis Carruthers, who had earlier taken over the second placed Juno at the halfway mark. 

Marcel Angel took the Viper’s wheel over from Craig Jarvis and sat another couple of laps down with Charl Arangies’ Ferrari just 15 seconds adrift after chasing Jarvis down in the most intriguing tussle on track. Jarvis had spun to allow the Ferrari to close up again after the Viper man has worked hard to ease away.

Fantastic Racing Shelby duo Doug MacDonald and Wayne Jardine ran fifth and seventh split by Cronje coming from behind in the delayed Lamborghini. They were ahead of Backdraft duo, Duncan Day and Mark Owens

The Alfa Romeos ran flawlessly ten seconds apart in tenth and eleventh overall and at the top of the Touring Car field as a broad variety of machinery traded places all around the Phakisa Raceway with 28 of the 30 cars still in the running. 


Mopar Goldfields 6 Hour -  Hour 2 report
CAT & MOUSE
The second hour of the Mopar Goldfields 6 hour saw the race settle down into a bit of a game of cat and mouse, with 15-year old Bloemfontein kid Stuart White taking over the super-quick Formula Renault 3.5 with its closed wheels, but while the hare ran away at the front, it seemed to need fuel more often, letting Johan Engelbrecht slip into the lead for a lap just after White stopped a second time half and hour in.

And with Gavin Cronje just 10 seconds behind Engelbrecht, the race was still wide open as the top three lapped within a lap and a game of strategy came into play. Both Engelbrecht and Cronje suffered slow pitstops too, so between fuel and a clean race, the rapid fendered single seater has its race cut out as White piled on the pressure out front into the third hour.

Craig Jarvis sat fourth 2 laps off the pace after an even worse stop for the early race leading Viper, a lap clear of Charl Arenages’ Ferrari and Kevin Finneran’s Shelby-Nissan while the tin-top battle continued to be fought out by the Alfa Romeos of Darren Winterboer and Bernard Vertenren and Trevor Bland and Jonathan Konig’s VW Golf GTis


Mopar Goldfields 6 Hour - Hour 1 report
GLORY HOUR!
The first hour  Mopar Goldfields 6 hour provided Welkom race fans and live stream viewers on the edge of their seats as a three-car battle played out, while a fourth car - Dane Michael Jensen’s Renault FR35 came from the back of the grid to make it a 4-car tussle before moving into the lead.

Marcel Aranges’ Viper overcame Johan Engelbrecht’s Juno to move into an early lead, but Gavin Cronje soon hussled his Lamborghini Gallardo into the lead and the three tussled as they initially caught the first lapped traffic. All along however, Michael Jensen  fought his way from the back to pick the leaders off and move the essentially Formula Renault single seater to the front, but not before Cronje made him work hard for that honour.

That left Jensen leading Cronje, Engelbrecht and Angel, before Jensen leading Cronje, Angel and Engelbrecht, who was first to stop to drop to sixth behind the Shelby Nissans of Doug Macdonald and Mike Verrier.

A little further back Charl Aranges’ Ferrari tussled with Tony Martin’s Backdraft and Pieder Van Vuuren’s VSP, with the Alfa Romeos of Martin van Vuuren’s GT and Bradley Scorer’s Giulietta leading George Smallberger’s VW Golf GTI at the front of the tin-top battle.

Just on the hour mark, Jensen and Cronje pitted to leave the Viper ahead of Stuart White now in the Renault, Cronje, Aranges, Engelbrecht and the rest.