BMW locked out the front row of the grid in qualifying for this afternoon’s Bridgestone Super Production Car races, with local star Johan Fourie completely dominant, starting ahead of Gauteng-based Etienne van der Linde in a similar Afrox BMW 335i.
The pair rapidly moved to the front of the pack as the session unfolded, leaving a gaggle of Audi S4s fighting it out behind them. Showing that his Friday form wasn’t a flash in the pan, Melvill Priest (Mueller/Öhlins) edged out Gennaro Bonafede’s Ferodo example, while reigning Class A champion Michael Stephen in the black Engen car found himself languishing fifth overall. His face afterwards was as black as the car’s paintwork.
Getting in amongst the Audis was Hennie Groenewald in the Sasolracing Subaru STI, still making the adjustment to a circuit where the sedan version of the car hasn’t yet run. Tschops Sipuka in the second works Audi S4 was a resigned seventh, with the second Subaru of Richard Pinard alongside. Final Class A runner was John Mayer, who has had minimal seat time after an engine issue on Friday.
Class T was slightly different, with Gary Formato a bemused pole-sitter in the Castrol Ford Focus ST, a car very much at the end of its lifespan. Reigning champion Graeme Nathan is second just over a 10th of a second adrift, commenting that he is really having to drive the wheels off the Indyoil VW Golf GTI to stay with the Ford.
Michael van Rooyen emerged smiling from his Williams Hunt Chevrolet Cruze, well-pleased with third spot though a little concerned about the car’s appetite for tyres over a race distance. Still, it is a major turnaround from Kyalami three weeks ago.
There wasn’t much smiling in Jacques Joubert’s garage, being half a second off team mate Nathan. Gavin Cronje, in the sole surviving Castrol MINI Cooper S after Lee Thompson’s second engine failure in as many meetings, wasn’t thrilled with his performance either, the team deciding to reign in the car’s horsepower to prevent a similar fate befalling his power unit.
Completing the back row of the grid are Shaun Duminy in the sister Focus to that of Formato, and the sole Renault Megane RS of Devin Robertson. Despite being last the Big Boss-sponsored youngster declared himself happy, having reverted to the stock Renault engine management system after some frustrating challenges in getting an aftermarket system to communicate with the Renault’s ABS sensors.
The first race is scheduled to start at 13h50, the second at 14h45 and the 14-lap feature race at 16h45. Spectators at the circuit can tune into the FM frequency 108 Mhz to listen to live radio commentary.