TITANIC SA ENDURANCE TITLE CHASE RESUMES IN EAST LONDON DOUBLE-HEADER
PREVIEW: SA ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP, Rd 3 AND 4
EAST LONDON GRAND PRIX CIRCUIT, 22-23 JULY
The third and fourth rounds of the SA Endurance Championship form part of the Southern Africa Endurance Series’ Winter Motorsport Festival at the historic East London Grand Prix Circuit this weekend with two four-hour endurance races to entertain racing fans.
In another first for the championship, Saturday’s race features a pre-dawn 6am start, racing from darkness into daylight, mimicking the famous Bathurst-12 hour race.
One of the fastest teams and a favourite to claim overall honours should be Hein Lategan, partnered by his famous racing son Henk, who will debut their brand new BBR Racing Porsche 992-specification 911 GT3. Lategan claimed a stunning victory from the back-of-the-grid at round two in his season debut.
It won’t be plain sailing for the Porsche crew, as they will come under huge pressure from the Auto Investments Ligier JS53-Honda of Riaan Botma and the talented Jeffrey Kruger. The Ligier has yet to enjoy a trouble-free weekend, but is fast enough to hold second place in the championship standings in spite of their mechanical maladies; the pair will be aiming for a clean run and a first victory of their campaign to take them to the top of the standings.
Heading the points log is the Class E leader Colin Ellison (Titan Historic F1 Racing Backdraft-Lexus) who will have two different co-drivers this weekend. Bevan Swartz takes the wheel for Friday’s race, with the returning Christopher Radloff joining the team on Saturday, looking to hold the lead in the class fight as well as in the overall standings.
Consistency has been key for the Ben Morgenrood Ford and Mazda Backdraft entry of Benjamin and Crisjan Morgenrood, who will be joined again by their famous racing father Ben. The younger Morgenroods hold third in the standings.
Mikaeel Pitamber, the first round winner, is back from his DTM Trophy campaign, joined on this occasion by young karter Keshan Naicker in a Creative Ink-backed BMW 325i.
Steve Clark and Brian Martin will share their Backdraft Slingshot on Friday, following a stunning second overall last time out, with Mike McLaughlin joining Clark behind the wheel for Saturday’s race.
Trevor Graham will be joined by lady racer Fabienne Lanz in a Backdraft-Lexus, and may be joined by Martin on Saturday.
Brad Anassis, the fastest man in Africa on two-wheels, will go back to his four-wheeled racing roots, sharing a Czank Racing Backdraft with fellow former bike drag racer Craig Czank. The vastly experienced crew will be watched with interest as they adapt to ‘slow-and-steady’ compared to their heady bike drag racing days.
Another father and son team, Barend and Harm Pretorius, line up in their Team Pesty Racing Backdraft. A repeat of their top six finish in Port Elizabeth will be their aim, following a retirement from the opening round.
Team Qhubani features an exciting duo of talent in the form of Fikile Holomisa and Baphumze Rubuluza; the pair has improved steadily since their debut and lie fifth in the championship standings thanks to consistent and quick drives. A repeat class E podium will be their aim in East London.
Philip Meyer, Mark Harvey and Dean Wolson raced to fifth overall in the Pple Group/Adapt Backdraft Lexus at the previous round. The racing amongst the Class E Backdrafts is a highlight of the series, with positions changing by the hour as pit-stop strategies come into play. A repeat top five overall position and class podium is very much a reality for the multi-driver crew.
Rounding out the entry list is the Kalex Volkswagen Polo driven by Polo Cup lady racer Karah Hill and the experienced Trevor Bland. The Polo has proven to be an effective weapon in the SA Endurance Championship as the cars run like clockwork, so a top result shouldn’t cause a surprise.
Four free practice sessions on Thursday lead up to qualifying at 15h20. The first four-hour race has an early 08h55 start on Friday morning, followed by an even earlier start for Saturday’s race, scheduled to get underway in darkness at 06h00.
Tickets are available at the gate or from the SAES website, www.saeseries.com/shop. Prices are R100 for Friday, (R50 after the racing); Saturday tickets cost R100, while a weekend pass costs R150.
Images: David Ledbitter
Issued by Eric Buijs (Media Manager SAES)
+27 82 66 246 10