SA ENDURANCE PODIUM FIGHT WIDE OPEN
PREVIEW: SA Endurance Championship
Aldo Scribante Circuit, Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth)
14 MAY 2022
The second round of the SA Endurance Championship is wide open as the top two in the championship standings will be racing in Europe, leaving the way open for a titanic battle to fill the three steps of the podium and shuffle the championship points log.
Round one winner Mikaeel Pitamber will be in Germany preparing for his DTM Trophy race the following weekend, while second placed Nick Adcock/Michael Jensen are racing in the European Le Mans Series at Imola.
Riaan Botma and the talented Jeffrey Kruger head into round two as favourites for victory in their Auto Investments Ligier JS53 Evo 2-Honda which would propel them to the top of the points standings after their podium finish at round one.
It won’t be easy though, as stiff competition can be expected from Hein Lategan and Verissimo Tavares and their Porsche 991 GT3 Cup-specification car – exactly the same model that won the first round in Pitamber’s and Michael Stephen’s hands. Lategan is a veteran race and rally driver, and swept to three podiums from four endurance race starts last year.
Given a clean run, Brian Martin and Trevor Graham should be in podium contention in their Backdraft Slingshot Lexus V8, kickstarting their campaign after a non-finish last month, chased by fellow Backdraft works drivers Mike McLoughlin/Steve Clark.
Class E is Backdraft Cobra territory, with eight of the classic open top cars in the field. Collin Ellison and Greg Thornton lead the class championship in their Titan Historic F1 Racing-entered black and gold machine, joined by Christopher Radloff as a third driver on this occasion.
Eyeing victory following a superb second in class last month, Benjamin and Crisjan Moogenrood will be joined by their tutor, Dad Ben Morgenrood, which will add a great deal of extra interest to the class race.
The Team Qhubani entry is another crew on the up and up; Bapi Rubuluza and Baphumze Rubuluza ended third in class with a solid, quick and clean run and they will be out to at least repeat their Red Star result.
Keen to open their account will be father and son combo of Harm and Barend Pretorius, having finished second in one of the PE rounds last year. Also keen on a big point haul will be Phillip Meyer and Dean Wolson, whose consistency saw them end the 2021 Cobra Challenge second overall. Joining the fray are father/son combo Manfred and Brett Schroder, Manfred being a former Ford factory driver in off-road racing.
Polo Cup lady racer Karah Hill is twinned with Trevor Bland in a Kalex-backed VW Polo in class D, joined by Cape newcomers David and Roberto Franco and Danie van Niekerk in a similar Graphix Supply World VW Polo.
Kwanda Mokoena will have his mentor and sponsor Xolile Letlaka, the pair entered in the MJR-run Into Africa/Amandla Coal Audi R8 GT4. Mokoena will be fresh off two one-hour SAGT races and is looking to add to his knowledge bank as he progresses as a member of the Africa Race Together Foundation.
Rounding out the entry is Sun Moodley in his new Bigfoot Express Mercedes-AMG GT3, although he is only racing for the first hour.
Practice and qualifying takes place on Friday, with the 4-hour endurance race scheduled to start at 15h00, racing into darkness, which adds an extra dimension for spectators as glowing exhausts and brakes adds to the spectacle.