Charl Arangies (Stradale Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage) and Gavin Cronje (Samlin Construction McLaren MP4-12C GT3) shared the wins at the opening round of the 2019 G&H Transport Extreme Supercars championship held at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 2 February. In the opening race, Arangies was followed home by Cronje with Simon Murray (Stradale Motorsport Lamborghini GT3) in third.
Cronje was a comfortable winner in the second heat, leading Franco Scribante (Porsche 997 Turbo) and Arangies over the line.
A number of competitors elected not to go out in Friday afternoon’s qualifying session, opting to start at the back of their respective classes rather than risking damaging their cars in the wet and slippery conditions brought about by a Highveld storm. Franco Scribante didn’t let the conditions worry him though, taking pole position by four-tenths of a second from his cousin Dino (Porsche 997). Gianni Giannoccaro (G&H Transport Lamborghini Gallardo) was next up ahead of Elwyn Steenkamp (JEYS Consultants BMW M3). Murray was fifth quickest, just three one-hundredths of a second faster than Jason Campos in the Sandton BMW M3. Deon du Plessis (BPM KTM X-Bow RR) and Ricky Giannoccaro (G&H Transport Lamborghini) rounded out the top eight.
Both Arangies and Cronje didn’t set a time in qualifying so lined up and the back of the class A+/GT3 grid in seventh and eighth respectively. It didn’t matter to Arangies though; he dived through the smallest of gaps into the first corner and by the end of the opening lap was comfortably in the lead with Cronje well placed in second. Pole sitter Franco Scribante was battling with an ABS problem, which a lap later would pitch him into a spin and destroy his chances of a race win, and had dropped down to fourth behind Dino. Dawie Olivier (G&H Transport Baby Beemer) had a flyer of a start from 11th on the grid to fifth ahead of Gianni Giannoccaro with Murray, who got forced wide in turn one, and du Plessis rounding out the top eight after a hectic opening lap.
Arangies then had things under control and romped away at the front, eventually taking the win by just over 13 seconds from Cronje. Dino Scribante’s race came to a premature end when an electrical fault sidelined him on lap four although both Olivier and Murray had got past him by that stage. Murray then went past Olivier to claim third, which he held until the flag. Steenkamp slowly reeled in Olivier before passing him and going on to take fourth place, his best finish ever in the G&H Extreme Supercars series. Olivier was able to hang on to fifth. Sam Hammond (Trinity Security Lamborghini Super Trofeo) was another who didn’t set a qualifying time. He started down in 23rd on the grid but a superb drive saw him claim sixth just ahead of Franco Scribante who dropped down as low as 14th at one stage. Gianni Giannoccaro rounded out the top eight.
Arangies was the winner of class A+ from Franco Scribante with Cronje taking GT3 from Murray. Steenkamp’s great drive saw him being promoted to class A and taking the class win ahead of Olivier and Gianni Giannoccaro. Class B went to Hammond with Nicky Dicks (Curvent Porshe 997 GT3) and Derek Hitchcock (Lotus Exige) in second and third. Jimmy Giannoccaro (G&H Transport Ferrari F430) claimed class C from Faizel Coetzee (A&M Plumbing BMW M3). Roy Obery continued his winning ways in the Haval Edenvale Porsche 996 GT3, taking clad D from the Ferrari 360s of Johan Hattingh and Kishoor Pitamber.
In race 2, Arangies was given a 3-place grid penalty for setting a lap time below one minute with promoted Cronje to pole position. Cronje took full advantage of this stroke of good fortune, retaining the lead when the lights went out, and then controlling things from the front to take a well-managed win from France Scribante, who worked his way through from seventh on the grid. Arangies made an uncharacteristic mistake at the end of the opening lap while disputing second place with Campos and the subsequent spin dropped him down to 13th. While he was able to work his way back through the field to take third, traffic at crucial moments meant that he was not close enough to challenge the top two.
Murray ended the race in fourth a couple of seconds ahead of Olivier who, this time, was able to finish ahead of Steenkamp. Jonathan du Toit (Trans Africa Racing Ferrari F430) got the better of Ricky Giannoccaro to take seventh.
Cronje’s win made sure he took the GT3 class from Murray with Franco Scribante taking class A+ from Arangies. Class A went to Olivier from Steenkamp and du Toit with Dicks taking class B from Hitchcock and Ant Blunden (SAJCO Porsche 997) after heat 1 winner Hammond’s race came to a premature end. Jimmy Giannoccaro again led the way in class C, this time from Paulo Loureiro (Combined Racing BMW F30) and Faizel Coetzee. Obery made it two from two in class D, again followed home by Hattingh and Pitamber.
In the day’s overall standings, Cronje took GT3 from Murray. Despite his second race error, Arangies still claimed the class A+ silverware from Franco Scribante and Campos while Olivier took class A from Steenkamp and du Toit. Dicks headed class B with Hitchcock and Blunden joining him on the podium while two heat wins ensured that Jimmy Giannoccaro was victorious in class C, Faizel Coetzee and Paulo Loureiro ending second and third respectively. Obery took class D from Hattingh and Pitamber.
The G&H Transport Extreme Supercars now head for Cape Town’s Killarney International Raceway for the second round of their championship which forms part of the second instalment of that Passion for Speed that takes place on Saturday, 9 February.
Published by: Paul Bedford
Picture Caption: Gavin Cronje had a comfortable win in the second race
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