PREVIEW: BRIDGESTONE PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – RD 5
Hennie Groenewald and Richard Pinard are taking their Sasol-backed Subaru WRX STIs to the Top Gear Festival in Durban for round 5 of the Bridgestone Production Car Championship. The popular holiday resort will host one 15 minute race on Saturday and one on Sunday, meaning only half points will be at stake for the coastal extravaganza – but with double the risk.
Leading the championship standings after a full house of points three weeks ago at Zwartkops, Hennie Groenewald, 16 points to the good, is excited about the Durban races as it presents a new challenge: “We have limited time to practice and set the car up so things will be a bit rushed as we find the optimum solution in the limited time. Whatever set-up arrangement I arrive at is pretty much what I will be stuck with”.
“A street race next to the sea will be an enjoyable environment to race in. It will fun for the drivers and I expect there will be a good turnout of spectators because there is so little motorsport in KwaZulu Natal. The track is not very technical and most of the competitors know more or less what will work in terms of car set-up… It should be a competitive race”, Hennie added.
On a more serious note, Hennie, like the rest of the Sasol Racing Circuit Team is disappointed with the added 70kg the series controllers have added to the Subaru WRX STI. “All year, we haven’t won a single race or been on pole, but the moment we win we are penalized. It’s crazy and I’m worried about the effect it will have on our braking, which is already marginal”.
Richard Pinard is once again hoping for a pair of clean, trouble-free races. “I raced Polo Cup as part of the A1 series and this track used part of the same roads. It is a lovely track and things we could hit like kerbs and traffic lights are removed. I think we could have a good race, although the added weight will add 0.6 second to our times. Some of our competitors are in good shape everywhere, and I think others will battle to put their power down”, said the Benoni-based businessman.
With so little racing on the agenda, Richard has arranged a friendly golf match with Hennie. “I’m looking forward to taking some money of him to supplement my racing budget”, he laughed.
SP Race Engineering Team Principle Carel Pienaar says of the weekend: “I plan for us to finish two races twice – that’s all. It’s a dangerous track that can severely damage our cars. The circuit is lined with concrete blocks; we have received a new higher base weight after Zwartkops which is beyond ridiculous and shows a lack of objectivity and technical understanding by the series controllers”.
“Everyone has dominated at a point yet Subaru is the only car penalized. We failed to win a single race out of nine this year until Zwartkops. Zwartkops was a perfect storm, but when you analyze the results, Hennie’s winning margin in race 3, for example, was the smallest of all the race three winners this year”.
The Sasol Racing Circuit Team will be on-track from 14h30 -15h00 on both Saturday and Sunday.
Team Sasol Racing gratefully acknowledges their partners Subaru, AutoZone, MIR Sports Clothing and Shatterprufe windscreens.