After the motor in Franco Scribante’s Porsche 997 Turbo cried enough during Friday’s penultimate practice session, Charl Arangies was expected to have an easy road to victory at the fourth round of the 2019 G&H Transport Extreme Supercars championship, held at the East London Grand Prix Circuit on Saturday, 22 June. And so it proved. Arangies piloted his newly acquired McLaren 12C GT3 to pole position and then claimed both race wins, giving the latest addition to the Stradale Motorsport stable a perfect South African debut.
Behind Arangies in Saturday morning’s qualifying session Gianni Giannoccaro (G&H Transport Lamborghini) just managed to get the better of Jonathan du Toit (Trans Africa Racing Ferrari F430) to take the other front row spot on the grid. Elwyn Steenkamp, who suffered damage to the rear of his car when the wheel studs sheared in one of Friday’s practice sessions, was back out thanks to some hard work by his crew overnight. He ended the qualifying session in fourth, despite missing the diffuser and bumper at the back of his JEYS Consultants BMW M3. Jimmy Giannoccaro, out in the G&H Transport Lamborghini normally driven by his son Ricky, headed the third row of the grid with Ant Blunden (SAJCO Porsche 997 GT3) alongside him in sixth. Local man Shaun Gradwell (KWT Motor Engineering BMW) and Roy Obery (Haval Edenvale Porsche 996 GT3) rounded out the top eight.
In the opening race, Arangies opted to start from the back of the grid to give himself more of a challenge but by the end of the second lap, he was already up to fourth behind Gianni Giannoccaro, Steenkamp and du Toit. Just a few laps later, Arangies was well clear and went on to take a comfortable win. Behind him, du Toit got past Steenkamp and had a great dice with Giannoccaro, eventually pressuring the Lamborghini driver into a mistake and putting his Ferrari into second place which he held until the flag with Giannoccaro having to settle for second. Despite losing some top-end speed due to a traction control problem, Steenkamp was able to bring his BMW home in fourth ahead of Darron Gudmanz in his Skyline. Blunden was next up ahead of Len-Henry Gobey (G&H Transport BMW Z4M) with Obery not far behind. Series newcomer Xolile Letlaka brought his Ferrari 360 home in ninth.
Arangies again started at the back of the grid in the second race but, this time, allowed the entire field to open a substantial gap before he started chasing them. It took him a bit longer than in the first race, but he worked his way through the field and into the lead, although a broken rear shock absorber in the latter stages of the race prevented him from opening a huge gap to the rest of the pack. Steenkamp led du Toit at the beginning of the race, but the Ferrari driver got past and went on to take second behind Arangies. Blunden got the better of Jimmy Giannoccaro to take fourth with Obery beating Gobey to the line by a couple of car lengths to claim sixth. Letlaka went one better than the first race, coming home in eighth.
The G&H Transport Extreme Supercars return to Gauteng for their next outing, which takes place at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 27 July.