This year’s Super Series circuit racing show started on a positive note at the Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria on Saturday.
There was a reasonably large crowd and, assisted by adverse weather conditions, there was enough spectacle to leave experts guardedly optimistic about the series’ outlook the rest of the year.
Top billing went to two Bridgestone Production Car championship races. With both held in pouring rain, it came as no surprise when the all-wheel drive Audi S4 entries reigned supreme.
The opening heat saw the new Sasol Audi team’s Hennie Groenewald and Gennaro Bonafede take first and second, ahead of Johan Fourie (ADF BMW 335i), Engen Xtreme Audi S4 drivers Michael Stephen and Simon Moss, plus Gavin Cronje (ADF BMW 335i).
Race two, held from an inverted starting grid, was won by Michael Stephen, followed by Gennaro Bonafede, Hennie Groenewald and Simon Moss. This time, both the ADF BMWs retired.
Things were less orderly in Class T. Graeme Nathan (VW Parts Golf GTI) won the first race from Michael van Rooyen (Williams Hunt Chevrolet Cruze), Lee Thompson (Castrol MINI), Shaun Duminy (Ford Focus ST), and Ryan Cooper (Golf GTI). Gary Formato (Ford Focus ST) and series newcomer Ryan Rhode (Castrol MINI) retired, with both cars breaking sideshafts.
Race two was red-flagged after about 30 seconds, when Charl Smalberger was nudged, and rolled his Sabertek Golf GTI coming out of the first corner. He was fine, the car was not. After the restart Gary Formato and Lee Thompson diced for victory. Thompson drew away, but he ran wide through the Sweep on the penultimate lap, and dropped back in a shower of gravel. Formato went on to win from Ryan Cooper, Michael van Rooyen, Graeme Nathan and Lee Thompson.
Mathew Hodges (ITR Africa Polo) won the first Engen VW Cup race ahead of Dewald Brummer (MAD Polo) and Daniel Rowe (Ferodo Polo). Rowe won the second time around.