Groenewald Takes Championship Lead After Strong Aldo Outing
information supplied by: Subaru South Africa
02 May 2012
GROENEWALD TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AFTER STRONG ALDO OUTING
REVIEW: BRIDGSTONE PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 3, PORT ELIZABETH
Hennie Groenewald snatched a two-point lead in the Bridgestone Production Car Championship after round three in Port Elizabeth this past weekend, and the Team Sasol Racing Subaru WRX STI became the only car to finish every one of the 9 rounds of the series so far this year.
Hennie powered his Sasol-backed Subaru WRX STI to two second place finishes and a third in the three-race encounter in the Eastern Cape, a circuit that suits the car’s All-Wheel Drive system in spite of the coastal conditions. Hennie also set the fastest lap in races 1 and 3, earning two extra championship points.
“We still haven’t qualified on pole or won a race this year but we did earn strong points and I’m happy with the way the races went. But I’m tired of seconds and thirds – I want to win some races as well”, said the multiple champion.
Richard Pinard left the coastal city a disappointed man after struggling with temperature issues in the second Sasol Subaru.
Practice and Qualifying:
Friday’s first practice session got off to a great start with Hennie setting the fastest time. “We lapped faster than we did last year so it was a good sign”. On old tyres, he set the 4th
best time in session 2 and after set-up work to maximize tyre life, set the 2nd
best time in the final session. Hennie qualified 2nd
after Johan Fourie’s Audi was put to the back for running higher boost than allowed. “I’m disappointed to be half a second slower – it’s a lot of time”, said Hennie.
Richard was happy with the set-up of his car, done by Hennie in his absence on an overseas business trip. The car suffered various heating issues, leaving the SP Race Engineering team to change the oil pump and bleed the water system to find a cure. In qualifying, Richard felt the speed just wasn’t there.
Races 1 and 2:
Hennie challenged eventual race winner Michael Stephen (Audi) in the opening laps but as his tyres wore and understeer developed, he dropped back and finished a solid and safe 2nd
. With a top 4 grid inversion for race 2, Hennie lined up 3rd
on the grid, concerned that the BMWs would get the jump on him. It was not to be, for Hennie rocketed the Subaru off the line from the standing start. Keeping in mind that his fastest lap in race two would be his race 3 starting position, he dropped back from vd Linde’s BMW to get some clear air for a fast run but overcooked things in the hairpin, running wide to let Stephen's Audi ahead.
As Stephen passed Anthony Taylor’s BMW, Hennie followed the Audi through, back into 3rd
place which he held to the end.
Richard, meanwhile lost power on lap 4 and to save the engine from damage, eased off the power, losing 21km/h down the straight. In race two, he “trundled around at the back”.
on the grid, Hennie was quickly past vd Linde’s BMW and settled into a steady drive to second. As the race progressed and the tyres faded, he came under threat from Tschops Sipuka (Audi) but was never in danger of losing his place and earned 2nd
overall for the day.
Richard stepped into the T-Car and quickly dispatched Kishoor Pitamber, Niyaaz Modack and John Mayer and steadily caught up to Lee Thompson (BMW) before he too suffered a loss of grip.
Team Principal, Carel Pienaar said of his team’s performance: “The handling side of Aldo Scribante is an advantage to us. It is our best coastal circuit to race on. We were beaten by a gaggle of Audis – they seem to hunt in packs. We’re in the championship not on pure speed, but on consistency. We didn’t have the speed to win so we did what we had to do, which is finish well. Other than a small moment with Michael, the cars are scratch free”.
The next outing for the Team Sasol Racing is at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria on 26th
Fans can follow the Team’s fortunes on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Team-Sasol-Subaru/220187314675725
Team Sasol Racing gratefully acknowledges their partners Subaru, AutoZone, MIR Sports Clothing and Shatterprufe windscreens.
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