Alfa Romeo Squadra Corse – Races 3 & 4 SA Production Car championship
Perfect weather conditions on April 3 didn’t’ mean an ideal racing weekend for Alfa Romeo Squadra Corse as the team headed in good spirits to Killarney in the Western Cape for races 3 and 4 of the South African Production Car championships.
Round 2 of the Vodacom Power Tour attracted over 21 000 spectators to the Cape Town circuit ahead of a tumultuous week of racing politics.
The two Alfa Romeo 147 GTAs were allowed to practice and qualify, but due to outstanding homologation issues were regrettably not allowed to race.
As a result, Martin Steyn and Morne Jurgens were forced to watch the exploits of Marco da Cunha in the 156 GTA as spectators. It was the first meeting that the cars were running on the new intermediate slick tyres. “The new tyres didn’t’t give us the advantage or lap times that we expected,” said team manager Hein de Necker, “but they are far more accomplished in terms of longevity.”
Qualifying saw the 147 of Morne Jurgens fourth on the grid ahead of Marco da Cunha’s 156 in seventh spot. Martin Steyn had suffered gearbox problems and qualified at the back of the grid. With the removal of the two 147s from the grid, Da Cunha started the race in fifth position and was running close to the BMWs and Steve Wyndham’s Ford Falcon. He managed to finish sixth. Race 2 saw him tussling with the Kaye Eddie BMWs of Steven Morris and Reghardt Roets before Da Cunha and Morris clashed at the end of the main straight leaving both cars out of the race.
More concerning on the weekend, however, was the continuing debate over regulations. “As Fiat Auto South Africa, we are sad that our Alfa 147s were not allowed to race,” said Giorgio Gorelli, managing director of Fiat Auto SA. “It is sad for the team that put so much effort into preparing the cars for the event after a lot of development from Kyalami and sad for the drivers who were unable to show them off. But most importantly, it is sad for the South African public that were not able to see the Alfa Romeos in action at Killarney.” The arrival of the 147 GTAs in Class A brought a lot
of renewed enthusiasm for the series this year.
“We don’t understand how the cars were allowed to practice and qualify and then not be allowed to race,” continued Gorelli. “We hope the problem will be resolved soon so as to avoid a similar occurrence in the future.”
“As Alfa Romeo, we are extremely passionate about racing both locally and internationally. We are not afraid to challenge people on the track. We are committed to our professional approach to racing in South Africa.”
Marco da Cunha gleaned valuable experience from his outing in the Alfa Romeo 156 GTA without the support of the two 147 GTAs. He is continually developing his talents in saloon cars coming from a successful career in single seaters.
Anthony Taylor and Etienne van der Linde took a win each on their way to one-two finishes in the Castrol BMW 330is. Capetonian Steve Wyndham brought the Ford Credit Falcon XR8 home third in the first heat, retiring in the second to give the remaining podium spot to Reghardt Roets.
The homologation of the 147 GTAs will continue this week and the team is positive about the upcoming Kyalami race on 1 May.