Team Afrox BMW with Pirtek took full advantage of a circuit that suits the team’s two class A BMW 335i M Performance Parts cars to make a triumphant return to Phakisa Freeway in the Free State for round six of the Bridgestone South African Production Car Championship.
There were wins for both drivers, former champions Etienne van der Linde and Johan Fourie, with Van der Linde winning the opening eight-lap sprint as well as the double-points 12-lap feature race. In the process he strengthened his second place in the class A championship and closed the gap to leader Michael Stephen by a significant 20 points or so (the current championship points have still to be confirmed by Motorsport South Africa).
Fourie made up for two disappointing recent rounds to finish second in each of the day’s three races and score 32 valuable championship points – almost twice as many as he earned in the previous two rounds. With Van der Linde finishing fourth in the reverse-grid second race, Fourie emerged the overall winner for the day ahead of Van der Linde and Gennaro Bonafede.
“We knew the cars would be strong at Phakisa after our two wins here last year. It’s a circuit that suits the rear-wheel drive configuration of the BMW 335i and the team put in a lot of time and effort in the seven weeks between race meetings. It paid off handsomely,” said an elated Van der Linde. “Now we’re a lot closer to winning another championship for the team with three rounds remaining.”
Fourie was relieved but not surprised at his turnaround in fortunes. “We’ve had some bad luck recently, but today we managed to avoid any incidents and the cars were mighty and ran trouble-free all weekend. A big ‘thank-you’ to the team for a job well done.”
“From Etienne’s amazing qualifying lap that put him on pole for the first race to the 1-2 BMW finish in race three, it’s been a dream weekend for the team and our main sponsors Afrox and Pirtek,” acknowledged team principal Donovan van Heerden.
“We achieved exactly what we set out to do. Now we have our work cut out at the next round at the tight and technical Zwartkops Raceway, which favours the all-wheel drive cars, but we’re all very fired up and looking forward to the challenge.”
The next round of the championship is at Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria on August 31.
In addition to principal sponsor Afrox, the team enjoys backing from Pirtek, BMW M Performance Parts, EPS Courier Services, Castrol, Akrapovic Exhaust Systems and BrakeQuip.