Pretoria – 6 June 2011 – Team Ford Racing continued its winning streak, taking a race win and two podium finishes in the three races at the Phakisa event in Welkom this past weekend.
The weekend started well for the team with Gary Formato and Shaun Duminy on the pace during all of Friday’s practice sessions. Their BP / Castrol branded Ford Focus STs continued to perform strongly in qualifying, with Formato claiming second and Duminy fourth on the grid.
The first sprint race was a conservative affair with Formato finishing in third place and Duminy crossing fourth. The top six finishers were then inverted for the start of the second sprint race. This saw Duminy start from third on the grid, with Formato alongside him in fourth. Duminy was leading the race by the end of the first lap.
A lap later, the safety car was deployed for an accident in another class. The race resumed two laps later and Formato blasted into an unassailable lead, claiming the race win. Duminy went on to take another solid fourth place.
“Taking a race win is always an amazing feeling. It is the culmination of many days of hard work, some driving strategy and good cars. Our Fords are feeling strong and the set-up changes we made during Friday night really paid off. The reliability has been faultless and we have now achieved six wins this season,” commented Formato.
The team’s good performance continued as they tackled the two-hour endurance race. By lap twenty and in fading light, Formato was leading the race and Duminy was fourth. The pit lane came alive with activity as teams began making pit stops and driver changes. In a change in strategy, Iain Pepper took the reigns of Formato’s car while Graham Donker got behind the wheel of Duminy’s sister Ford Focus ST.
Tension rose as the headlights on Formato’s car began to flicker on and off due to a faulty contact and Pepper was forced to pit twice to repair this, putting the pair two laps behind. In the meantime, Donker’s lap times were as consistent as Duminys and the duo made steady progress in the race standings.
Two thirds into the race, the safety car was deployed for a vehicle that had caught fire. The team acted quickly and pitted both cars. Formato and Duminy were now back in the driver seats of their respective vehicles.
By the penultimate lap, Duminy was lying third and Formato was driving hard to make up time in seventh. The competitor lying second slowed on the final lap and Duminy claimed the position in a fantastic result for the team. Formato drove valiantly to seventh.
“I am ecstatic about finishing second in the endurance race. It was tough going and visibility around some parts of the circuit was very poor. Both Graham and Iain did a great job and I am pleased the team’s hard work paid off,” enthused Duminy.
The team now has a two month break before the next event.