Kyalami Bridgestone Production Car Class A Championship
Bridgestone Production Car Class A Championship
Round 1 Race Result
Kyalami, Johannesburg, 23 February 2013
TEAM AFROX BMW IN WINNER’S CIRCLE AT KYALAMI
A win and fastest lap in the feature race for Team Afrox BMW newcomer Johan Fourie was the highlight of the opening round of the 2013 Bridgestone Production Car Championship at Kyalami on Saturday.
It was an impressive performance by the former national champion in his first appearance for the team, with the 34-year-old from Cape Town making up for the disappointment of crashing out of the first of the two six-lap sprint races earlier in the day.
A burst water pipe caused him to slide off the circuit at the start of the second lap after he had qualified his BMW 335i M Performance second behind defending champion Michael Stephen (Audi S4) on Friday afternoon and followed this up with second in Superpole behind Stephen on Saturday morning.
He was fifth in the second sprint race after starting eighth and last among the class A cars.
Team-mate and former class A champion Etienne van der Linde got his race day off to a dramatic start when he crashed out of the new-for-2013 Superpole after qualifying third on Friday. He put a wheel off the edge of the circuit entering the fast turn two on his timed lap and buried the front of the BMW into the tyre wall. It was too badly damaged to continue, so Van der Linde switched to an older-specification BMW 335i that had to be hurriedly fetched from the team’s nearby workshop.
He started and finished third in the opening sprint race and was fourth in the reverse grid second sprint race, showing his class in the slower and less powerful car. He finished fifth in the 12-lap feature race from seventh on the grid, despite slowing down with reduced power after the boost pipe came off on lap four.
“My BMW M Performance Parts 335i was very strong and I thought I had a good chance to win Superpole,“ said the 34-year-old Johannesburg father of two. “I made a small mistake and it had big consequences. By comparison, the older car was more of a handful and not as fast, so I guess I have to be fairly satisfied with the day’s results. We finished second overall and pocketed some useful championship points.“
Fourie was pleased with his performance in the feature race, which must have rung alarm bells among his rivals. He started fifth, but was quickly up to third and then challenging Melvill Priest (Audi S4) for the lead on lap six after dispensing with Stephen. He passed Priest at the start of lap seven and went on to win by seven tenths of a second from Stephen and 2,9 sec ahead of Priest.
“I’m really enjoying the BMW M Performance Parts 335i. The team did a great job in preparing it for this weekend. It was unfortunate that we had the problem in race two, but we made up for this in the feature race. I’m looking forward to the next round in my home town in three weeks‘ time.“
In addition to principal sponsor Afrox, the team enjoys backing from BMW M Performance Parts, EPS Courier Services, Castrol, Akrapovic Exhaust Systems and new partners Pirtek and BrakeQuip.
The next round of the championship is at Killarney circuit in Cape Town on March 15 and 16.