The 2019 Mopar South African Endurance Series was resolved in dramatic style at the Free State Phakisa Raceway on Saturday, with two three-hour races set to determine the season’s two major championships.
As it turned out, both the year’s Overall and Index of Performance titles were clinched in the day’s first event. Nick Adcock and Michael Jensen took the race victory in their AidCall24 Ligier, to become the overall 2019 Mopar South African Endurance champions. Their victory did not come easily.
The Maui Motorhomes Ginetta G57 Chevrolet of Craig Jarvis and Stuart White led from the start, with Jarvis setting the quickest lap time of the meeting around Phakisa at one minute, 36,829 seconds on the second lap. Then the team’s luck changed. First they incurred a drive-through penalty for spilling fuel during a pit stop. Then the car started to overheat, slowed down and finally cut out.
White was forced to stop out on the circuit with just seven minutes left to go. The rules state you have to take the chequered flag to be qualified as a finisher and White could not do that, dropping the weekend’s quickest car out of the results.
Thus, the Adcock/Jensen Ligier won, ahead of the Point Blank Ligier of Fritz Kleynhans/James Forbes, the similar Ligier of Romano Sartori/Franco di Matteo, the Blake Digital Nash of Howard Blake/Andrew Horne, the Autohaus Angel Honda Civic Type R of Dayne Angel/Jarryd Evans, and the Backdraft Cobra Roadster of Brian Martin/Mike McLoughlin.
Rounding out the finishers were Peter Schmidt-Loffler/ Gavin Rooke (Nash Motorsport MV3), Karah Hill/Trevor Bland (Kalex VW Polo) and Kris Budnick/Kishoor Pitamber (Mini Cooper JCW). The lap time consistency numbers were crunched, after which Dayne Angel and Jarryd Evans in their Honda Civic were declared the day’s and the season’s Index of Performance champions.
Race two saw the Ginetta shudder to a halt on the opening lap, with the electronics again not liking Phakisa’s 35 deg temperatures. Shortly afterwards, the leading Ligier of Adcock and Jensen was halted by a faulty gearbox, and disappeared into the pits.
That left the Forbes/Kleynhans Ligier to eventually win from the Sartori/Di Matteo Ligier, the Martin/McLoughlin Backdraft, the Schmidt-Loffler/Rooke Nash Motorsport MV3, the John Oliver/ Byron Oliver Mega Pile Nash, the Angel/Evans Honda, the Blake/ Horne Nash, and the Budnick/ Pitamber Mini.
The first one-hour race for IPS cars, run in conjunction with the opening three-hour stint, went to Paul Hill (Kalex Aston Martin), followed by Harry Arangies (Stradale Nissan 350Z). Race two also went to Hill, with Arangies second, this time in a Ferrari 430.