Dave Rehse continued his unbeaten run in 2023, taking another two Class E wins at the third round of the 2023 BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series, held at Red Star Raceway on 21 and 22 April.
Friday’s practice sessions gave an indication of what was to come at the front of the Class A field when Leon Loubser set a time almost five seconds quicker than his closest rival. He continued that form into qualifying on Saturday morning, claiming the Dunlop Pole Position from William Einkamerer, with series newcomer Bob Neill in third place. Lorenzo Gualtieri, the first of the Class B competitors, was next up ahead of Andreas Meier and Nek Makris. Further back, the 2022 Overall champion Nicholas Fischer showed the form that took him to the title when he was the quickest of the Class C brigade, leading the way from Alan Hilligenn and Jan Eversteyn. Crucially, the Class C points leader, Hein van der Merwe, was forced to call it an early day. Class B points leader Lyle Ramsay was also sidelined for Race 1 following an incident in Qualifying.
Classes D and E ran a separate qualifying session. Neil Reynolds topped the time sheets to claim the ATS Motorsport Pole Position, ahead of fellow Class D competitors Reinhardt Miller and Nicholas Herbst. Rehse led the way in Class E, closely followed by another series newcomer Lenard Archer with Cobus Bohmer third fastest.
In the opening race, which featured Classes A, B and C, Loubser had things all his way in Class A. Mechanical issues resulted in Einkamerer and Neill not starting, leaving Loubser to disappear at the front of the field and taking a dominant win. Behind him, the Class B battle was between Gualtieri, Meier and Makris, with Renier Smith also joining the party. At the end of 8 hard-fought laps, Gualtieri took the class win from Meier and Makris, with the latter crossing the line alongside Smith and with only 0.001 of a second between them. Rob Gearing, in his first 2023 outing, finished in fifth place. It took a couple of laps for things to sort themselves out in Class C, but once they did, Hilligenn took the win from Eversteyn and Troy Cochran. Fisher finished in fourth place, while Anton Pommersheim celebrated his debut with an excellent fifth place.
Reynolds looked to have things under control at the head of the Class D field in the opening heat, but mechanical failure saw him sidelined after five laps, leaving Miller to take the win from Herbst. Guest driver Heinz Böse, driving the Track Taxi usually piloted by Manny Ribeiro, crossed the line in third, but a 30-second penalty for a jump start dropped him down the field and handed third place to Trevor Long. Rehse had things largely his way at the front of Class E, taking the win from Bohmer and Archer. Rehse’s on-track competition came from Class D fourth-place finisher Craig Herbst, with the pair enjoying an entertaining battle. Matthew Wadeley, who did not participate in any of Friday’s practice sessions, completed the Class D top five. Further back, Arri van Heerden and Caren Nienaber concluded the Class E field.
In the second race, 31 cars spread across the five classes came under starter’s orders, following extensive delays in the day’s programme. This time Loubser had rivals in Class A, with both Einkamerer and Neill making it onto the grid. Unfortunately, Neill’s challenge came to a premature end shortly after half-distance, leaving Loubser to take a dominant win over Einkamerer. Rob Gearing led Class B in the early stages of the second race, but it wasn’t long before the top four in the first race were battling it out in the second. Gualtieri took his second win of the day, this time from Makris, with Smith just getting the better of Meier to take the final podium position, with Gearing completing the top five. Fischer lost out in the opening heat but made no mistake in the second, taking his first win of the season by almost five seconds from Eversteyn and Cochran. Pommersheim completed his superb debut weekend with a fourth place in Race 2, with Shane Grobler in fifth.
Miller had a comfortable win in Class D, but the battle for the other podium places went down to the wire. Reynolds took second place from Böse, who drove one of the widest BMWs out on track to hold off Nicholas Herbst. Wadeley made it two fifth-place finishes for the day. Rehse again led the way in Class E, taking victory from Bohmer. Arri van Heerden completed the podium.
The ITOO Driver of the Day award in Round 3 was shared between Reinhardt Miller and Anton Pommersheim. Miller’s maiden double victory came in only his fourth outing in the series and his first at Red Star Raceway. Pommersheim’s debut came on the back of his first outing in the BMW Car Club Gauteng Time Trials a week prior, and he impressed with two superb finishes in the highly-competitive midfield. As this was his first circuit-racing outing in any category, he started both races from the back of Class C, a measure implemented by the series for safety purposes.
With a perfect record of six wins from six starts, Rehse leads the overall championship from Loubser, with Meier in third place.
The BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series next heads to Phakisa Freeway, just outside the Free State mining town of Welkom, for the fourth round of the 2023 championship, which takes place on 26 and 27 May.
Issued by Brandsponential on behalf of BMW Car Club Gauteng
Photography by: Reynard Gelderblom
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