Charl Arangies (Stradale Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage) had to work hard at the Killarney International Raceway to claim victory in all three heats that made up the second round of the 2019 G&H Transport Extreme Supercars championship on Saturday, 9 February. In the first two heats he was followed home by Franco Scribante (Porsche 997 Turbo) and Marcel Angel (Autohaus Angel Ferrari 458). In the final
Friday afternoon’s qualifying session was barely a lap old when the red flags came out after Derek Hitchcock’s Lotus Exige burst into flames on the pit straight. Hitchcock did manage to extricate himself from the car, but suffered burns to his face and was taken to hospital for treatment This provided the second example on the day of how quickly things can go wrong in motorsport. A shock absorber on Dawie Olivier’s G&H Transport Baby Beemer failed at the end of the back straight, severing the brake lines in the process. Olivier was a passenger as the car flew through the kitty litter and tyre barrier, coming to a sudden halt against a tree. He was also taken to hospital for further treatment after being stabilized at the on-site medical facility and is expected to make a full recovery.
Once the session was restarted, it was Arangies that was the quickest of the bunch, setting a time just over three-quarters of a second quicker than Scribante. Angel was next up and although his car broke a spring in its gearbox while on his out lap, Craig Jarvis (Panacea Ferrari F430) occupied fourth on the grid. Nieyaaz Modack (NSI Motors BMW 135) was the leading class A car, slotting into fifth place on the grid with the leading class B competitor, Gary Kieswetter (Porsche GT3), alongside him. Elwyn Steenkamp (JEYS Consultants BMW M3) and Ricky Giannoccaro (G&H Transport Lamborghini) filled the fourth row with Gianni Giannoccaro (G&H Transport Lamborghini) and Andre Brink (SSB Transport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup) rounding out the top ten. Maarten Prins (Clubsport Porsche GT3 Cup) was the leading class C contender while Kishoor Pitamber (Ferrari 360) claimed the class D bragging rights.
With three races on Saturday and all of them offering championship points scoring opportunities, there were sure to be battles all the way through the field and so it proved. Arangies and Scribante were involved in a titanic struggle at the head of the field and although Scribante set the quickest lap time, Arangies managed to stay in front to draw first blood. A superb drive by Angel gave him third place and victory in the GT3 class ahead of Jarvis. Kieswetter used his local knowledge to keep Steenkamp behind him and claim fifth overall and the class B win with Steenkamp settling for sixth and the class A win. A fighting drive, from 11th on the grid, saw Greg Parton (Drizit Environmental Lamborghini Huracan) take seventh ahead of Gianni Giannoccaro with Jonathan du Toit (Trans African Racing Ferrari F430) and Thouca Mechanicos (ETL AMG 55) rounding out the top ten. Prins claimed class C from Faizel Coetzee (A&M Plumbing BMW M3) and Jimmy Giannoccaro (G&H Transport F430) while class D went to Pitamber from Anmaar Coetzee (A&M Plumbers BMW M3) and Roy Obery (Haval Edenvale Porsche 996 GT3 Cup).
Race 2 provided more of the same although this time, with Scribante starting on pole by virtue of setting the fastest lap time in the opening heat, it was the Aston Martin doing the chasing. The pair were never separated by more than a couple of car lengths until the final corner on the last lap when Scribante left half a gap which Arangies pounced on. The duo went into the final kink side-by-side with contact between the two resulting in a right rear puncture for the Porsche. As a result, Arangies was able to eke out an advantage, crossing the line just 0.077 seconds in front. Angel and Jarvis again brought their Ferraris home in third and fourth with Steenkamp getting the better of Parton and Kieswetter to take fifth. Modack, whose can let him down in the opening heat, bounced back to take eighth ahead of the class B pair of Brink and Mechanicos. Class C went to Jimmy Giannoccaro from Prins with Pitamber, Anmaar Coetzee and Obery again filling the class D podium.
The rules of the G&H Transport Extreme Supercars series penalize the A+ cars for setting lap times that are too fast. Both Scribante and Arangies fell foul of this and had to start behind the GT3 and class A cars in the third race. Scribante had an easier passage through the traffic and had a couple of seconds in hand by the time Arangies was able to start closing the gap. The chase came to a premature end when Faizel Coetzee hit the wall at the kink after the G-Energy corner and his badly damaged BMW ended up stranded on the racing line. With Hitchcock’s Friday fire still fresh in everybody’s minds, it was not surprizing that crews and marshals were a bit nervous when Scribante’s Porsche started smoking on the grid where the drivers were waiting after the red flag. While it turned out to be only grass collected when he left the track to avoid Coetzee’s BMW, the clerk of the course decided that Scribante’s crew were in breach of the rules and disqualified him.
When the race re-started Arangies had no competition and pulled away at about two seconds a lap to take the five-lap sprint by just over ten seconds from Angel and Jarvis. Du Toit turned in his best performance of the day, coming home in fourth place and winning class A ahead of Steenkamp with Modack, the third of the class A cars, claiming sixth. Kieswetter took his third class B win of the day, finishing seventh overall ahead of Parton and Gianni Gaiannoccaro with Brink completing the top ten. Prins took class C from Jimmy Giannoccaro while Obery turned things around in class D, taking the win from Pitamber.
In the day’s overall standings Arangies took class A+ from Scribante with Angel taking GT3 from Jarvis. Steenkamp emerged on top of class A with Parton and Gianni Giannoccaro joining him on the podium while Kieswetter had a comfortable win in class B, Brink and Mechanicos filling the minor placings. Prins took class C from Jimmy Giannoccaro and Faizel Coatzee with Obery’s final heat win enough to give him class D ahead of Pitamber and Anmaar Coetzee.
After two rounds in the space of a week at opposite ends of the country, the G&H Transport Extreme Supercars now have a bit of a break before they return to action at Zwartkops Raceway on 6 April for the third round of the 2019 championship.