The third round of the 2019 Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series will see the championship battle continue at the Phakisa Freeway in Welkom on April 27.
With the single manufacturer championship format set up in such a way to keep the battle on the points table alive until the final round, it is still too early to identify the main title contenders in the Overall championship. The various class battles are seeing closely-contested affairs as competitors aim to get the upper-hand.
Class A sees reigning champion Paulo Loureiro (Combined Racing BMW F30 335I) looking strong with three podium finishes; two of them being race wins. The class will see a host of entries at the Phakisa Freeway including Rick Loureiro (Combined Racing BMW F30 335i) debuting his new car for the first time this year in the series. Past championship winner Darren Winterboer (Barons Motor Spares BMW E92 M3) will make a welcome return and will be joined by another returnee in Bruce Turner (Promigen BMW E46 M3). Stefano Martinelli (Dalucon Insulated Panels BMW E90 335i) who entered the first round but did not make it to the grid for the first race has acquired a new car to open his championship aspirations. David Coetzee (ELKSA Competition/ SAVSpeed BMW E36 328i Turbo) that had to sit out the second round will aim to consolidate his second place in the class. With so many evenly matched cars the battle is expected to be fast and furious at the sharp end of the field.
Andreas Meier (BMW E36 SAT Car) has taken a comfortable lead in Class B with a 100% race vs. win ratio in the first four races. This sees him with 40 points behind his name heading into Round 3. He can however expect strong competition from Jan Eversteyn (BMW Bavaria 0.0% E46 M3) who holds a good record at the Phakisa Freeway and will be aiming to improve on his three consecutive second-place finishes. Eversteyn is currently ranked second on the Class B points table with 24 points. Oz Biagioni (Bio Pool Maintenance BMW E46 M3) will also be motivated to bounce back from his misfortunes suffered at Midvaal Raceway during Round 2. Mike Grobler (BMW E39 M5) holds a 100% race finishing record which sees him occupying third place with 22 points behind his name.
It is an open affair in Class C at present with a mere nine points separating the four primary protagonists. Salvi Gualtieri (Eataly/Papa Mario’s/Savspeed BMW E36 328i) currently holds the lead with 26 points while Shane Grobler (Mayfair Gearbox BMW E36 330i) is trailing him by one point. Neither driver have recorded a race win yet but have built up their points tallies through consistent points-paying finishes. Grobler will however aim to repeat the good form he showed during 2018’s second visit to the circuit where he took a win in one of the fiercest on-track battles of the season. Shaun Lampbrecht (Wildthings BMW E36 318is Turbo) has 21 points behind his name after taking a double victory at Midvaal Raceway. Lampbrecht has really stepped to the fore in 2019 and his good pace could be vital through the final sector of the Phakisa Freeway lap. Pieter Lombard (SMS Alert BMW E36 M3 GTS) celebrated a win on debut, but illness at Midvaal Raceway saw him dropping back in the pecking order. With 17 points behind his name, a strong third round could see him back in contention again. With a handful other entrants in class these contenders will have their work cut out for them if they want to take home valuable points.
Another driver with a 100% race vs. win ratio is Nek Macris (BMW E46 328i Turbo) in Class D. His biggest challenge is expected to come from Alan Hilligenn (BMW E36 328i) with a tally of 34 points and trailing the leader by six points. Hilligenn’s score was boosted by his Round 1 double-win while competing in Class E. The championship rules see competitors keeping their full allocation of points when being reclassified within the first three rounds of the season. Round 2 saw him taking home two podium finishes in Class D and with his form at the Phakisa Freeway, he could well be the driver to break Macris’ stronghold on the class. Matthew Wadeley (P&G Digital BMW E36 M3) will also aim to build on his good form in 2019 by adding a win or two to his record.
Class E has seen a host of competitors making cameo appearances. Manny Ribiero (Bridgestone BMW E46 325i Touring) that heads up the points table with 18 points after competing in Round 2 is one such competitor. Bernard de Gouveia (De Gouveia Accountants BMW E36 328i) has competed in all events and took his maiden win in Round 2. He currently has 13 points behind his name but would like to improve his reliability record after fitting a new engine to his car. Debutant Bertie Rietveld has entered for both rounds, but mechanical problems prevented his participation in Round 2 which sees him on 10 points. Putting in his first appearance will be Carlos Gameiro (Lapace Racing BMW E30 325is) in his beautifully recreated Tony Viana racer of the 90’s. Subsequently, this class is still very much an open-affair.
Round 3 of the Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series will form part of the Inland and Historic Championship programme and will include a host of Northern Regions club and regional categories. The morning’s Qualifying session is scheduled for 07:00 to determine the grid for the opening eight-lap race; scheduled for 09:10. Race 2 will also be competed over eight laps and is scheduled to start at 13:05. For this race each driver’s fastest lap recorded in the first race will be used to compile an inverted grid per class.
Spectator entry on the day will be R50 per Adult while kids under 16 will go in for free.