Team Sasol Subaru Targeting Big Points Payday At Zwartkops Raceway
information supplied by: Subaru South Africa
28 October 2011
TEAM SASOL SUBARU TARGETING BIG POINTS PAYDAY AT ZWARTKOPS RACEWAY
Hennie Groenewald heads into the Sasol Raceday at Zwartkops Raceway for the penultimate round of the Bridgestone Production Car Championship in third place on the points log with high hopes of claiming the lion’s share of the 40 points on offer – 10 each for a win in the back-to-back sprint races and a double helping of 20 for the 2-hour endurance race.
Team Sasol Subaru, run by the ultra-successful SP Race Engineering outfit has put countless hours of preparation for this event, the most important of the season in terms of championship aspirations and performing in front of their title sponor Sasol.
Hennie’s co-driver in the two-hour race is Jonathan du Toit, the successful son of Zwartkops Raceway’s owner Peter, while Richard Pinard will have Team Sasol’s rally young gun Jon Williams sharing the driving duties.
“The pressure is off us as we are outsiders for the championship so we can concentrate on the job at hand which is taking as many points away as we can”, explained Hennie. “The biggest issue is to keep out of trouble during the sprint races to make sure the car is battle-ready for the enduro, which is a double points race”.
Hennie continued: “Zwartkops is the best circuit for us to make up lost ground as it suits the Subaru WRX STI’s attributes best. We have done four tests but only when all the cars are on the track on the same day will we really know where we are”.
“The Sasol Race Day is a big day for us and there will be huge commercial pressure on us to do well. The pits will be a busy place while we prepare for the races. Subaru has a strong track record at Zwartkops and Jonathan knows the circuit like the back of his hand so we should be in good shape”, he added.
Richard Pinard arrives at Zwartkops fresh from a three-week working holiday in Australia and is relaxed and ready to supprt Hennie’s championship bid.
“The circuit is tight and twisty which suits the Subaru. My car has been on the dyno and Hennie has kindly done some testing to dial out an underster issue I had in Cape Town. Interestingly, my WRX STI was the quickest car through Malmesbury Corner at Killarney last month so we have a good chance to do well”, said the East Rand businessman.
“The SP Race technicians have been practising their tyre changes and refuelling for the enduro, which features three pit stops; we have upgraded to proper refuelling rigs which helps avoid mishaps. Jon is a capable young racer and I’m really looking forward to driving with him again”, said Richard.
Carel Pienaar, SP Race Engineering Team Principle, added: “The cars feature new fuel tanks that refill from outside to avoid the spillage problem we had at Phakisa. The tyres and brakes are marginal and will be a major issue for the teams; there is only a very short part of the circuit where the brakes have a chance to cool down then it’s corner after corner and if the brake fluid boils,the system will have to be bled which takes a long time”.
“I expect brakes to be the decider in this race”, he added. “It will be critical for the drivers to look after them in the first hour. It’s a bit of a lottery. Another change we have made for this race is using a less aggressive suspension set up and checking the differentials to make sure there isn’t any excessive tyre slipping”, Carel explained.
Hennie has won seven times this season, with 4 podium finishes, set 10 fastest laps and started from pole once in what has been a dramatic year of racing, which is set to continue at the Sasol Race Day.
Team Sasol Subaru is proudly supported by Permatex and associate sponsors Shatterprufe, Protea Hotels and MIR sports clothing.
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