Palio Racing Team – Races 3 & 4 SA Production Car championship. With brand new cars barely completed before races 3 and 4 of the SA Production Car Championship in Killarney, Cape Town, the Palio Racing Team made significant progress in their development on 3 April.
It was the first time out for the new team run by experienced motorsport enthusiast Mike O’ Sullivan. Just two cars could be prepared for Round 2 of the Vodacom Power Tour but the full complement of three cars will be ready for Kyalami on 1 May.
Engine problems fowled Brad Annasis hopes of qualifying the Fiat Palio Rosso on Friday, his blown motor replaced for Saturday’s race. But Theunis Eloff, first time out in the new Fiat Palio Blu and first time at Killarney, managed to qualify mid-field in a strong 17-car field in Class C.
The Palio Racing Team’s spirited efforts were thwarted in Race 1 by accidents as Eloff was T-boned early in the race, dropping him back down the order. He managed to claw his way back up to sixth place.
Brad Annasis continued his mechanical woes with a broken gearbox mounting in the first heat forcing him to retire the Fiat Palio Rosso.
Race 2 saw mechanical trouble again for Annasis and in the interests of saving the car; the Palio Rosso was again retired. Eloff was again in the wars getting hit from behind by John Williams. Eloff’s quicker Palio Blu made a great effort to pass Williams again, the latter leaking fuel onto the track and limiting grip for Eloff. He eventually managed, only to be pushed off again down to eighth position.
The spectacular racing in Class C had the 21 000 spectators on their feet. Shane Williams (Trident Press Ford Ikon) won the first heat challenged strongly by Dave Compton (BumperTech Toyota Tazz) and Angus Thompson (VW CitiGolf). Compton followed by the Fords of Miguel Pasqaulli and Fanie de Bruin won race 2.
“We are happy with our progress from Kyalami,” said Theunis Eloff who retained sixth position overall and some points in the bag. “First time out in the brand new spirited Palios showed their potential for the rest of the season. We will continue testing and have three or four weeks of development behind us going into the next event.”
All three Fiat Palios will be ready for Kyalami on 1 May. The third Palio Gala will be driven by Mike O’ Sullivan.