Round 3 of the 2019 Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series saw this popular single-manufacturer championship making their first of two visits to the Phakisa Freeway in Welkom on Saturday, the 27th of April 2019.
Darren Winterboer (Barons Motor Spares BMW E93 M3) made his first appearance for the 2019 season and took pole position during Saturday morning’s Qualifying session. He was joined on the front row by Paulo Loureiro (Combined Racing BMW F30 335i). It was also a first-for-the-season event for Rick Loureiro in his new Combined Racing BMW F30 335i who slotted into third ahead of David Coetzee (ELKSA Competition / SAV Speed E36 328i Turbo). Stefano Martinelli (Dalucon Insulated Panels BMW E90 335i) also competed in his first 2019 event and lined up in fifth. Jan Eversteyn (Bavaria 0.0% BMW E46 M3) headed up the Class B field in sixth place ahead of Andreas Meier (BMW E36 SAT Car) and Jannie Breedt (BMW E36 328i Turbo). Completing the top ten was Mike Grobler (BMW E39 M5) ahead of the first Class C qualifier Shaun Lamprecht (Wildthings BMW E36 318is Turbo). In seventeenth position, Alan Hilligenn (BMW E36 328i) headed up the Class D grid while in twenty-second place, Manny Ribeiro (Bridgestone BMW E36 325i Touring) was the fastest man in Class E.
Winterboer was unchallenged from the start as he dominated the eight-lap race from start to finish. Behind him Paulo Loureiro delivered a steady performance to finish the race as runner-up while Martinelli made a good start to make up two positions and thereby rounding out the overall race podium. Rick Loureiro retired from the race on the opening lap when his brakes locked up after a coming together with brother Paulo.
Further back in Class B, Meier got the upper-hand over Eversteyn through the opening sequence of corners, but had his work cut out to retain his position as Eversteyn followed in hot pursuit. Following an entertaining tussle, with Class A contender Coetzee in the mix, the pair finished in overall fourth and fifth positions respectively as Meier successfully warded off the challenge by Eversteyn. Coetzee eventually fell back after a few blunders and finished in a lonely sixth position. After a bad qualifying, Oz Biagioni (Bio Pool Maintenance BMW E46 M3) started in eleventh position amongst some of the Class C competitors and quickly made up those places in the opening lap. He also made short work of getting past an embattled Breedt who retired from the race a few laps later.
The Class C battle however delivered an action-packed race with at least seven fighting for the win for the duration of the race. Lamprecht took an early lead with Class B competitor Mike Grobler hot on his heals. Behind them it was Nek Macris (BMW E46 328i Turbo), Jonathan Matos (Matossport BMW E36 328i Turbo), Salvi Gualtieri (Eataly/Papa Mario’s/Savspeed BMW E36 328i), Jimmy Tsimenoglou (Big Boss Auto/SA Safe BMW E36 M3), Shane Grobler (Mayfair Gearbox BMW E36 330i) and Renier Smith (BMW E36 M3) in tow. This mammoth battle would eventually see Smith scythe his way through the Class C field to claim the first step on the Class C podium. With a brilliant performance and outdriving himself on the day Macris claimed the second spot in C, a sweet consolation for breaking out of Class D. The best of the rest was Lamprecht finishing but a few tenths in front of a hard-duelling Matos, Grobler, Neil Reynolds (Valve Hospital BMW E36 M3) and Gualtieri.
In Class D it would be Hilligenn to get away cleanly from the start to take an unchallenged win in Class. Season newcomer, Adriaan Le Roux (BMW E36 M3), got the better of Matthew Wadeley (P&G Digital BMW E36 M3) in the opening stages of the race. After a short-lived battle Wadeley would regain second spot and open a comfortable gap between him and Le roux. Wadeley went on to finish in second and Le Roux third in Class D.
Another season newcomer, but well known in racing circles was Uli Sanne (BMW E9 3.0 CSL) driving the iconic Bat-Mobile. Starting from the back of the grid he would in style make his way through the grid to finish in nineteenth overall.
Not to be outdone, the Class E competitors also put on a show of their own. Taking an early lead Manny Ribeiro (Bridgestone BMW E46 325i Touring) had his hands full staying in front of a strong challenging Bernard De Gouveia (De Gouveia Accountants BMW E36 328i), Nicholas Van Zyl (Mike’s Auto Tune BMW E87 130i) and Carlos Gameiro (Lapace Racing BMW E30 325is) driving the Tony Viana recreation. In a stunning performance De Gouveia would make short work of getting past Ribeiro and leaving the other three fighting for the spoils. Gameiro almost had third but after a mistake Ribeiro got the better of him to take the third spot on the Class E podium.
Race 1 Results per class:
Class A: Darren Winterboer (1:41.848); Paulo Loureiro (1:43.851); Stefano Martinelli (1:45.434)
Class B: Andreas Meier (1:47.236); Jan Eversteyn (1:47.375); Oz Biagioni (1:53.212)
Class C: Renier Smith (1:53.062); Nek Macris (1:53.769); Shaun Lamprecht (1:53.966)
Class D: Alan Hilligenn (1:58.649); Matthew Wadeley (1:58.938); Adriaan le Roux (2:00.816)
Class E: Bernard de Gouveia (2:00.847); Nicholas van Zyl (2:01.213); Manny Ribeiro (2:03.703)
Fastest Lap: Darren Winterboer (1:41.848 on Lap 3)
The day’s second race saw the field line up in the customary inverted grid based on individual fastest laps during the opening race. Due to time constraints brought on by extensive delays in one of the other classes, the race was shortened from eight to seven laps.
Being the fastest man on circuit in Race 1 meant Winterboer would have to work his way through the Class A grid for race 2. He had Paulo Loureiro as company on the second row of the Class A grid as poleman Coetzee got off to a flying start with Martinelli next to him. Paulo wasted no time getting past them both on the opening lap leaving Winterboer momentarily stuck behind Martinelli. His brother Rick tried following him but Martinelli closed the door on them both. Before the end of the lap Winterboer sailed past Martinelli setting after Paulo leaving Rick to duel it out with Martinelli. It would take Winterboer all of two and a half laps to take the lead and relegate Paulo to second. At the same time Rick would get past Martinelli to settle in third. They also finished in these positions when the flag dropped to signal the end of the race.
After a breathless start from last on the Class B grid Meier made it to the front to continue the cat-and-mouse battle with Eversteyn, this time accompanied by a newly inspired Breedt that dropped two places from pole. This continued for the remainder of the race and would also be their finishing positions. Behind them there was a good tussle between Biagioni and Mike Grobler.
Polesitter Salvi Gualtieri was slow off the line with Jimmy Tsimenglou taking an early lead in Class C. Behind them it was Reynolds, Shane Grobler, Macris and Smith jostling for positions. Smith was once again a man on a mission as he had to make his way through from the back of the grid. Macris eagerly followed in his footsteps. But on lap four his hard work came undone as Smith out braked himself into turn 4 and collected Tsimenglou on the way. That let Gualtieri off the hook and he ran away with the bowl of sweets leaving the rest fighting for the scraps. Macris once again drove a very mature race, kept his nose clean as he got locked in battle with Shane Grobler. He would eventually beat Grobler to the line leaving Grobler to defend for all his worth against a recovered Smith. Grobler held on to third to finish but a hundredth of a second in front of Smith.
Hilligenn made short work to get to the front of the Class D grid from the start making it a double victory on the trot. Wadeley simply had no answer and strolled home ahead of third placed man Le Roux.
Ribeiro grabbed the initial lead in Class E but it took Gameiro all but a lap and a half to get past him and drive off to take a resounding victory ahead of a challenging de Gouveia in second. Van Zyl would round up the top three podium finishers in Class E.
Race 2 Results per class:
Class A: Darren Winterboer (1:42.906); Paulo Loureiro (1:44.011); Rick Loureiro (1:46.427)
Class B: Andreas Meier (1:48.494); Jan Eversteyn (1:48.757); Jannie Breedt (1:48.846)
Class C: Salvi Gualtieri (1:55.483); Nek Makris (1:54.801); Shane Grobler (1:56.212)
Class D: Alan Hilligenn (1:59.001); Matthew Wadeley (2:00.223); Adriaan le Roux (2:00.958)
Class E: Carlos Gameiro (2:02.468); Bernard de Gouveia (2:03.520); Nicholas van Zyl (2:03.328)
Fastest Lap: Darren Winterboer (1:42.906 on Lap 4)
The coveted Driver of the Day award went to Race Series Chairman Bernard de Gouveia for his brilliant performance on the day. It came as a complete surprise to him when series CoC Wally Pappas nominated him and after a discussion with his fellow competitors the decision was reached unanimously.
With the competition now heating up, the next round, Round 4 of the 2019 Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series, that will take place at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria on Saturday, May 11 is expected to be a highly contested one. The races will also form part of the next installment of the popular Bridgestone Track and Race Day.