Sasol GTC impresses amidst stellar show
Glorious Cape winter’s weather treated an enthusiastic crowd to a stunning day’s Extreme Festival racing as all classes delivered dicing out of the top drawer at the Killarney International Raceway on Saturday, but it was probably the Sasol GTCs that came away proudest of all after a turnaround weekend in the Cape. It was a positive weekend for the GTCs all in all, following recent criticism of the series — not only did most cars finish two entertaining races at Killarney, but qualifying times were considerably quicker than before and by all accounts, the crowd certainly enjoyed the racing this time around.
Simon Moss took two and a half seconds off the previous record Sasol GTC pole position time to lead an all-Engen Audi front row before clearing off to win the first race with teammate Stephen in close attendance. The real interest was however the dice for third as Michael van Rooyen and his privateer RSC BMW claimed the scalp of factory Sasol BMW man Gennaro Bonafede. Daniel Rowe enjoyed a positive first heat too as the Volkswagen driver diced for fifth with home favourite Johan Fourie's BMW, the two swapping positions regularly before Rowe led Fourie home with Robert Wolk’s second Sasol BMW and Mathew Hodges next up in the other Jetta.
The second, reverse-grid race saw VW driver Hodges on the front row alongside Wolk, who moved into the early lead over Rowe and Bonafede. But Rowe powered into the lead on lap 3 and drove off to an impressive maiden GTC victory to also break a long hiatus without a win for the factory Volkswagen team. The action behind was extreme as Stephen drove a brilliant race from the back to pip Wolk at the post for second, while van Rooyen likewise recovered from a scrappy first lap to come from behind and steal fourth from Simon Moss in a dice to the line. Bonafede and Hodges were next up after local hero Fourie stopped early.
Pole man Keagan Masters’ Golf GTI kept Devin Robertson’s Mini in his mirrors to win the first Sasol GTC2 race with Trevor Bland’s Golf and Bradley Liebenberg’s Mini close behind ahead of Golf GTI duo, Adrian Wood and Charl Smalberger. The reverse grid second race saw local lad Dayne Angel lead the way before Masters charged through to pounce on the Honda man on lap 3. Angel was then consumed by the chasing pack to see Bland emerge second on the road as he pipped Liebenberg to the line ahead of Wood, Robertson and Angel. Technical penalties for Wood and Robertson and a jump start for Liebenberg however saw Angel classified third from Johan Pretorius’ Golf, Robertson and Liebenberg.
The G&H Extreme Supercars provided another great spectacle, with local hero Dawie Joubert and his Lotus-Honda throwing down the gauntlet with a mesmerising 1 minute 09.091 second lap to edge Charl Arangies’ magnificent Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 for pole position. Joubert sadly failed to make the grid and Arangies started in tenth, leaving Marcel Angel to lead at ease in his Ferrari 458 GTC. But Arangies was up to second by lap five and chased Angel down to end up just 0.3 seconds behind at the flag. Dawie Olivier’s BMW was a distant third ahead of Jonathan du Toit’s Ferrari F430, Dino Scribante’s Porsche 911and Class B winner Gary Kieswetter’s Porsche 911, while Jimmy Giannoccaro took his Ferrari F430 to Class C honours and Johan Hattingh won Class D in his Nissan 350Z.
Arangies again started at the back in the second race, leaving Angel to once more make off up front, but the Aston Martin was in second by the end of the second lap this time, before closing the Ferrari down and moving ahead on lap 8 and going on to win at ease. Class B winner Jonathan du Toit was third from Scribante after Olivier stopped early on, while Kieswetter took class B again in fifth ahead of Ant Blunden’s Porsche. Len-Henry Gobey''s BMW took class C and Hattingh class D.
The Engen Volkswagen Polo Cup was all about Jeffrey Kruger, who put it on pole position before keeping tabs on Masters winner Charl Wilken in his mirrors to take the first race. Clinton Bezuidenhout ended third from Tasmin Pepper, Juan Gerber and an impressive Daniel Duminy; Jonathan Mogotsi, Darren Oates, Jason Campos and young gun Altan Bouw in tenth. The second race was another straightforward run once the top ten settled down early on, as Kruger led Masters winner Pepper, Mogotsi, Wilken, Keegan Campos and Bezuidenhout home with Duminy seventh from Gerber, Jason Campos and best young gun Delon Thompson. Kruger took the day overall from Wilken, Bezuidenhout, Pepper, Mogotsi and a delighted Duminy
Stuart White continued in his quest to wrest the Investchem Formula 1600 championship’s Mazda Road to Indy award with another powerful display at Killarney. White started with a stunning pole position lap, but there was drama at the first turn as he and Cameron O’Connor made contact and O’Connor slipped off to be engulfed by the chasing pack. The race settled down with White leading Nicholas van Weely home from Siyabonga Mankonkwana, Liam Pienaar, Andrew Schofield and Tiago Rebelo, while Ian Schofield won Class B. White then led O’Connor, Alex Gillespie and the battling van Weely and Pienaar home as Ian Schofield took Class B again in race 2.
Gert van den Berg was the man to beat in the national championship Formula Vee races as he cruised to an easy first race win over Peter Hills, Lushen Ramchander, Jaco Schriks, Brandon Hills and Symm Grobler in sixth. Theodore Vermaak was next up ahead of best of the locals, Cyril Somerville, Richard Carr and Byron Mitchell. The second race was a far closer affair as van den Berg fought off a revitalised Schicks and Ramchander and the three of them within 0.5 seconds at the flag. Vee veterans Peter Hills and Grobler were next up from Brandon Hills, Geoff Tugwell and Vermaak as Mitchell beat Somerville to best local honours.
Former Capetonian Stiaan Kriel made off to an easy first win among the visiting Volkswagen Challenge races leaving Rory Atkinson to take second from Nic Clarke, Waldie Meintjes, Wayne Crous and Wayne Masters once the race settled down. Jacques Smith took Class B from Deon Holiday Sr and Luan Roos and Christiaan De Wet beat Philip Croeser to Class C honours. Atkinson took the second race from comeback kid Lyle Ramsay, Meintjes, Clarke, Masters and Kriel, who was slowed by gearbox issues, while Deon Holliday Jr beat Deon Holiday Sr and Roberto Joaquim to Class B and Christiaan De Wet took Class C from Andy Gossman and Philip Croeser.
Two local classes rounded of the Killarney action, with Fabio Tafani taking V8 Masters race 1 honours over old rival Marcel Angel, Craig Jarvis, Richard Schreuder, Mark Ridgway and Brian Evans, while Rob Warrington took Silver honours. Ryan McCarthy won the Makita Supercar race from Jarryd Evans and Glen Phillips, while Shane Phillips took Silver and Brian Fourie Bronze wins. Tafani beat Angel again in race 2 with Ridgway third from Jarvis, Schreuder and Evans as Warrington took Silver, while McCarthy beat Andrew Moffitt and Dario Busi to the Supercar win with Martin Bensch and Stuart Spooner taking the Silver and Bronze wins.
Last but not least, Cape Town’s Suzuki South Superbikes provided some excellent two-wheel action with Brandon Haupt’s Yamaha pipping David McFadden’s Kawasaki for the first race win by all of a tenth of a second. Trevor Westman (Kawasaki) was next up from Gerrit Visser (Yamaha), 600 winner Hayden Jonas and Kewyn Snyman, while Quinton Ebden held Rob Cragg off to a close Masters win. Haupt repeated his close win over McFlash in race 2 with Westman third from Visser and 600 duo Jonas and Snyman while Cragg beat Ebden to the Masters win.
Racing returns to Killarney with the next round of the regional Wingfield Power Series joined by the South African Endurance Series for the Campos 600 on 19 May, while the Extreme festival visits Zwartkops in Pretoria a week prior on 12 May.