Team Ford Racing had a dream start to the 2011 Bridgestone Production Car season, making their championship intentions very clear by taking three wins and one second place at Kyalami on Saturday 05 March.
The new look Castrol / BP Ford Focus STs blitzed the competition on Friday afternoon, with Gary Formato heading two of the day’s three practice sessions. Shaun Duminy looked impressive in his similarly prepared Ford Focus ST as the duo went about setting the tone for the weekend.
Formato claimed second spot in qualifying while Duminy stopped the clocks in sixth place. This saw Formato engage in a mammoth battle with longtime rival Graeme Nathan (VW Golf GTi) for the opening heat of the day, with Formato eventually taking the race win.
Duminy had a more trying outing as he struggled to select gears and eventually had to retire. The team immediately began to investigate the cause of the problem and discovered that something in the differential had broken, the cause was likely wear and tear and the hours of grueling punishment that racing parts undergo. Duminy was forced to miss the second race as the team worked feverishly to replace the gearbox in just three hours.
The grid was inverted for the second race leaving Formato to start from the back of the pack. Despite having to fight his way through the field he was able to claim his second victory for the day.
The team showed true heart and spirit as they repaired Duminy’s car in time for the third heat of the day. The grid was based on the fastest laps achieved in the first race, this placed Formato second on the grid and Duminy sixth.
Once again the Ford proved too quick for the competition and Formato took an unchallenged victory. Duminy put in a solid performance to take sixth place.
The final heat of the day saw Formato line-up seventh on the grid while Duminy was forced into retirement with an oil leak before the race got underway. Formato put in another determined effort fighting his way up to second place, ending a successful weekend on a high note.
With the first event of the season done and dusted, Team Ford Racing has established itself as the team to beat in 2011 and will continue to work hard to achieve championship victory. The next round of the championship will take place at Killarney (Cape Town) on the 2nd of April