Philip Smit (Hi-Q Middestad BMW E46 M3) overall Class C winner

Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series – Round 7 – Red Star Raceway – 2017-08-19

Bridgestone BMW Club Racing SeriesThe seventh round of the 2017 started off the third last race of their season at Red Star Raceway outside Delmas on Saturday, August 19. Battle lines were firmly drawn as this popular single manufacturer category on the Inland Championship roster is heading for an exciting finale with reigning champion Julian Fameliaris holding on to slender championship lead going into this round.

Qualifying

It was Julian’s primary rival in Class A, Lorenzo Gualtieri (Savspeed/Yokohama/F&R Auto BMW E36 328i Turbo), who beat him to pole position during Saturday morning’s qualifying session with the pair taking up the front row on the grid. Riaan Woest (Viking Mining Solutions BMW E46 M3 GTR) slotted into third place ahead of Julian’s cousin Dino Fameliaris (C-Tech/Afrivalve BMW E36 M3 Turbo). Andreas Meier (BMW E36 M3) and Mike Grobler (Mayfair Gearbox BMW E46 M3) completed the top-six on the starting grid for the day.

Race 1

Red Star Raceway offers a series of complicated twists and turns, but some competitors had an additional set of issues to deal with right from the start. With the BMW series sharing a grid with the Big Boss Auto Super Saloons the racing was bound to get interesting as the Saloon cars made their way through the BMW grid. Jimmy Tsimenoglou (Big Boss Auto/SA Safe BMW E36 M3) was late out the pits to make it onto the warm-up lap. With the race getting off to a rolling start he was still a few hundred meters behind the rest of the pack as they crossed the line. It was Lorenzo Gualtieri taking the lead into turn 1 with Julian Fameliaris (Tower Crane Services/Lube-Net BMW E36 328i Turbo) slotting in behind him. He would however suddenly lose power steering through turn 2 and it would later come to light that his car dropped all the fluids through turn 2. That caused Andreas Meier to lose traction and sent him off the track resulting in him having to wait for the whole field to pass before he could join the track again. Julian also had his hands full with steering the car and started to slow down. By the time he got to turn 6 a number of competitors had already passed him.

An unchallenged Gualtieri pulled away from the pack to open up a commanding lead. Behind him, Dino made light work of fending off Woest and then proceeded to open up a substantial gap as well. JB Breedt (ELB Construction/Triplicon Construction BMW E36 328i Turbo) made a return to the series following his absence at Zwartkops Raceway and was slicing his way up through the field after qualifying in the fourteenth position on the grid. With Meier now at the back of the grid he faced an enormous task to make up for the blunder in turn 2. He however set about it systematically and gradually passed the one car after the other regaining the lost positions.

Willie Erasmus (Speed & Sound/Big Boss Auto/Liqui Moly BMW E36 M3) found his way past Grobler initially, but the latter would not let him get away. With Breedt tucked in under his bumper he retook the position but eventually lost the position to Breedt again. Further back Philip Smit (Hi-Q Middestad BMW E46 M3) pulled away Antonie Marx (Atomic Oil BMW E46 M3) after a close battle during the start of the race with Marx challenging hard. Julian Fameliaris would continue to circulate in an attempt to just finish the race and bag some points, but his car would let him down and cut out finally on lap 3. Warren Dodd (BMW E36 325i) would also retire after completing only two laps.

Jan Eversteyn (Mammoet Racing BMW E36 328i) and Troy Cochran (Arrow Automotive BMW E46 325ti) were locked in a tremendous and very entertaining battle for Class D throughout the race. Racing with slicks for the first time ever, Cochran was challenging Eversteyn at every corner. At stages, their battle got interrupted first by Oz Biagioni (Bio Pool Maintenance BMW E46 M3) and then later by Tsimenoglou amongst this pair at the end of the race. Cochran would, however, receive a time penalty for a fractional jump start at the beginning of the race.

After the eight lap race, it was Gualtieri who took the overall and Class A victory ahead of Dino. Woest was the first of the Class B competitors to cross the line in third place ahead of B competitors to cross the line. Breedt, Grobler and Erasmus rounded off the top-six with less than a second between them as they crossed the finish line. Len-Henry Gobey (Lesavert BMW E36 M3) finished in a seventh position with Smit being the first Class C runner to cross the line in eighth place. Marx finished ninth with Meier completing the top-ten; just ahead of Oz Biagioni (Bio Pool Maintenance E46 M3). Eversteyn beat Tsimenoglou and Cochran to the line to take the Class D honours with Alan Hilligenn (BMW E36 328i) rounding off the BMW field.

Top 3 Results by Class

Class A:

1.      Lorenzo Gualtieri – 01:58.175

2.      Dino Fameliaris  – 02:02.352

 

Class B:

1.      Riaan Woest – 02:04.666

2.      JB Breedt – 02:06.624

3.      Mike Grobler – 02:05.553

Class C:

1.      Philip Smit – 02:08.874

2.      Antonie Marx – 02:09.374

3.      Oz Biagioni – 02:12.045

Class D:

1.      Jan Eversteyn – 02:12.955

2.      Troy Cochran – 02:13.196

Race 2

As is customary the grid for the second race was compiled by inverting the first race lap times per class. This did not stop Gualtieri from carrying on with his quest for total domination on the day and Dino could do nothing to prevent him from sailing into the lead by the first corner. Woest also made light work of making his way through a very strong Class B pack. By the second lap, the first three set into a familiar pattern. Behind them, Meier made the most of his starting position. Apart from Woest, he held off the rest of the Class B pack who all made their way past Gobey. Marx took an early lead in Class C, but Smit soon found a way past. The Class D tussle between Cochran and Eversteyn, however, continued where it left off in the first race.

While Meier managed to build up a bit of breather space, Erasmus found himself having to work hard to hold off Breedt during the middle of the race. He, however, managed to pull out a slight advantage; not quite enough for comfort, but sufficient to keep him out of striking distance from the other class C contenders. Further back Eversteyn had made his way back past Cochran after Cochran took the class D lead for a short period. Eversteyn then went on to pass Biagioni to use the Class C car as a bit of a buffer between himself and his immediate Class D rival in the form of Cochran.

Gualtieri, Dino and Woest repeated their one-two-three finish from the first race with Gualtieri and Woest again taking Classes A and B respectively. Meier finished in a more satisfying fourth position with Erasmus, Breedt and Grobler in close contention. After dropping back from the rest of the Class B pack, Gobey finished in a somewhat lonely eighth position. Smit finished in ninth place and again took the Class C honours ahead of Marx. Eversteyn also racked up his second Class D win for the day in the eleventh position ahead of Biagioni and Cochran. Hilligenn again rounded of the BMW field.

For his impeccable performance, Mike Grobler received the coveted Driver of the Day award.

Top 3 Results by Class

Class A:

1.      Lorenzo Gualtieri – 01:59.172

2.      Dino Fameliaris – 02:01.876

 

Class B:

1.      Riaan Woest – 02:04.813

2.      Andreas Meier – 02:06.138

3.      Willie Erasmus – 02:06.591

Class C:

1.      Philip Smit – 02:08.554

2.      Antonie Marx – 02:10.003

3.      Oz Biagioni – 02:13.666

Class D:

1.      Jan Eversteyn – 02:13.183

2.      Troy Cochran – 02:13.125

The next round will see the Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series return to the Zwartkops Raceway outside Pretoria for the third time this year on the 7th of October for their penultimate race. With only four points separating the top-four competitors in the championship this should be a thriller!

Event Photographs: www.RacePics.co.za

Media requests can be directed to: media@racepics.co.za

Website: www.bmwcarclub.co.za

Facebook: BMW Car Club Gauteng

Twitter: @BMWCarClubGP

Photographs

Lorenzo Gualtieri (Savspeed/Yokohama/F&R Auto BMW E36 328i Turbo) overall Class A winner
Lorenzo Gualtieri (Savspeed/Yokohama/F&R Auto BMW E36 328i Turbo) overall Class A winner
Riaan Woest (Viking Mining Solutions BMW E46 M3 GTR) overall Class B winner
Riaan Woest (Viking Mining Solutions BMW E46 M3 GTR) overall Class B winner
Philip Smit (Hi-Q Middestad BMW E46 M3) overall Class C winner
Philip Smit (Hi-Q Middestad BMW E46 M3) overall Class C winner
Troy Cochran (Arrow Automotive BMW E46 325ti) locked in battle with Eversteyn
Troy Cochran (Arrow Automotive BMW E46 325ti) locked in battle with Eversteyn
 
Jan Eversteyn (Mammoet Racing BMW E36 328i) overall class D winner
Jan Eversteyn (Mammoet Racing BMW E36 328i) overall class D winner
Driver of the Day - Mike Grobler (Mayfair Gearbox BMW E46 M3)
Driver of the Day – Mike Grobler (Mayfair Gearbox BMW E46 M3)
 
Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series - Sponsors - 2017
Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series – Sponsors – 2017
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Reynard Gelderblom

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PR Consultant, social media manager, photographer, video producer. Based in Centurion, Gauteng