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Wet qualifying turns Investchem Formula 1600 on its head

What    Investchem Formula 1600 Round 2 Report
Where    Killarney International Raceway
When    Saturday 18 March 2023
Community    South Africa National

Early morning rain at Killarney served to shake up an Investchem Formula 1600 day that looked certain to go in a quite different direction at Cape Town’s Extreme Festival races on Saturday. That allowed Gerard Geldenhuys to take the overall win aboard his Abacus Divisions Mygale, but not before an epic fightback saw home hero Troy Dolinschek end up second by less than a second after a stunning day of racing.

Dolinschek was comfortably fastest throughout Friday practice, but he was caught out without a fresh set of wet tyres on his Sujean Investchem Mygale, leaving him way down in 11th on the grid. Brother Antwan Geldenhuys took best advantage of the drying conditions to put his sister Abacus car on pole position from another home hero, Jason Coetzee’s Mint Wraps Fuchs Mygale and Gerard Geldenhuys.

Alex Vos’ Investchem car lined up fourth from best of the rookies, KC Ensor-Smith, Nicholas van Weely’s Magnificent Paints & Hardware machine, Karabo Malemela’s KMFT Morita car, Shrien Naidoo Production X Mygale, Storm Lanfear’s AMD Investchem entry, Investchem lad Siyabonga Mankonkwana and Dolinschek. Dolinschek was not the only driver in trouble in the wet. Ian Schofield’s Investchem Mygale, was caught out on his extreme dry set-up to allow Rick Morris similar machine, Duncan Vos’ Swift, and Van Diemen trio Graham Hepburn, Allen Meyer and Ronald van Weely outpace him to pole position.

Antwan Geldenhuys’ pole position did not amount to much as he spun his advantage away early on the first tour. That left Jason Coetzee leading a scrap between van Weely and Gerard Geldenhuys, with Vos fourth. But Dolinschek was on the move, having shot from eleventh on the grid to fifth by the end of lap 1. He was past Vos up to third on lap three, took an extra lap to find his way by van Weely and then picked off Gerard Geldenhuys and Coetzee and on the next two tours to lead the way by the end of lap 5. Dolinschek left them to play behind as Geldenhuys, Coetzee and van Weely fought it out to finish in that order.

Unfortunately for 21st birthday boy Coetzee, his coming of age did not go without its problems when he was deemed to have jumped the start. That earned him a 30-second penalty  to plummet to 10th overall. So van Weely was third from star of the future Ensor-Smith, Vos, Malemela, Lanfear, Naidoo and Antwan Geldenhuys. Coetzee was tenth after Mankonkwana retired. Back in the dry, Ian Schofield took Formula Ford Kent from Duncan Vos, Morris, Meyer, and van Weely after Hepburn retired stuck in the turn 1 kitty litter.

Besides having to deal with a feisty Jason Coetzee midway, Gerard Geldenhuys had little trouble in trotting to a handy race 2 victory from Coetzee with a fast closing Troy Dolinschek in pursuit. Troy had a tougher time of it fighting back in the second race, making up four places on the opening lap before encountering somewhat of a roadblock in the duelling Antwan Geldenhuys, KC Ensor-Smith, and Alex Vos. Troy found a way past Vos before his path was eased when Antwan and KC clashed in turn 1, leaving Smith stuck in the sand and a stricken Geldenhuys destined to retire with a puncture.

Finally up to third, Troy closed the leaders down to no avail, as Gerard took the win from Coetzee, Dolinschek, Mankonkwana van Weely, Vos Naidoo and Lanfear, as Ian Schofield beat Rick Morris and Ronald van Weely to take the Kent double and the win for the day. So, Gerard Geldenhuys took the day overall after Dolinschek’s delays saw him miss the top spot by less than a second. That, despite him starting both races from the back. Nicholas van Weely emerged third overall from Alex Vos, Shrien Naidoo, and Storm Lanfear, with Coetzee seventh.

All of which now leaves Gerhard Geldenhuys in a 6-point provisional Investchem Formula 1600 championship lead over Troy Dolinschek, with van Weely and Coetzee in a tight fight for third en route to round 3 up at Zwartkops in Pretoria on Saturday 20 May.

Issued on behalf of Investchem Formula 1600

Photography by:  Abri de Bruyn

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