111 CarCare Clinic Sports & Saloons
Finally, race day had arrived and all the preseason testing and fine tuning on the Green Mamba was about to be put to the test. Friday, during the 1st practice and on used rubber “booties”, the car was on song and running in the low 2min18s, which wasn’t bad considering the air temperature. Deciding to go back to the older configuration of tyres; 205/50/15 on the front and 195/50/15 on the rear – I was hoping for better grip, steering, and braking. Considering how tight Redstar is the practice time initially indicated that the move was paying off. Redstar runs the circuit in alternate directions every 6 months of the year, which made things confusing to say the least. Midday and late afternoon practice sessions never allowed for any improvement. Low 18 or 17’s was where we would be aiming for Saturday morning Qualifying. The high probability of rain on Saturday was concerning which would have upset the apple cart.
Saturday morning came around far too quickly as most of the guys, especially the guys from VW challenge who sitting around the braai on Friday evening, was providing free advice in abundance and tips on how to make our cars go quicker …this is an education all on its own for another day.
Fortunately, the rain stayed away in the morning, however it was extremely overcast which isn’t great for optimal track temperature and grip, which saw the lap times climb in class into the 19s and 20s . Unfortunately, I never got to a get a clean lap in and only managed a disappointing 3rd in class which was not what I was hoping for considering the times in practice.
Starting in P13 which was roughly in the middle of the field meant turn 1,2 and 3 were going to be extremely hectic before entering the long back straight. The Delmas circuit normally allows for the Turbo cars to get some spacing before the dreaded turn 4 which is a high-speed tricky corner, especially on cold tyres. Please keep in mind that you need to make turn 1, 2 and 3 for a start.
111 is a rolling start and as we all know (LOL) you win the race on the 1st corner and therefore coming out turn 1 alive in this series can be seen as victory all on its own.
When I opened my eyes again I was heading down the back straight meaning I was alive which was great and in the race which gave me some inspiration to get up the field as fast as possible. Mark Harvey in a Turbo Porsche and Roland Hopkins in his Turbo Golf didn’t make my life easy and I only managed to get past Roland just before the finish line as he ran into a bit of engine trouble in the last 100m, handing me 2nd place on a silver platter.
During Heat 1, I could feel the gear linkage system wasn’t right and after consulting my race engineer, Thabiso, a staunch “Chiefs” supporter, we were able to figure out that all we needed to do was to tighten a nut. Having all 5 gears meant nothing was going to stop us now and off we went to do battle against the boys with boost.
Having had drops of rain just before the 2nd heat meant the track surface was going to be a little more challenging than in Heat 1. Once again in the blink of an eye, I was heading down the back straight and in P2 which meant I had to push really hard to try to catch the Porsche. Tyres are only capable of so much abuse and by lap 8 I had fried them “Booties” chasing Harvey in his Turbo Porsche.
Never give up, gave me new meaning entering the home straight as I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the Porsche slow up and pull to the side of the track handing me the victory and 1st overall in Class for the Day!
The next outing for both the Car Care Clinic 111 Sports and Saloons takes place at Zwartkops Raceway on 3 & 4 April 2020.
All in all a great weekend for the Shield Golf.
Written by: Wayne Lebotschy