Engine whizz Basil Green honoured

Basil Green, the architect of the brutal V8 Ford Capri Perana that captivated South African motor sport fans in the ‘60s and ‘70s, has been inducted into the South African Hall of Fame.

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The SA Hall of Fame serves to tell the stories of extraordinary achievers, recognising their outstanding service and overall contribution to sport. In motor sport circles, South Africa has produced numerous famous names that have excelled locally and internationally, including the likes of Sarel van der Merwe, Ian Scheckter, Wayne Taylor and multiple Formula 1 championship-winning designer Rory Byrne – such that they have been honoured by the SA Hall of Fame alongside golfing icon Gary Player, and the country’s most famous and admired citizen, Nelson Mandela.

For 82-year-old Basil Green, the nomination and subsequent formal induction to the Hall of Fame, which took place conjunction with the fourth annual Concours South Africa event, it was a fitting tribute to his decades of dedication and excellence in motorsport and the motor industry in general.

Speaking about his induction into the SA Hall of Fame, Green says: “It is a great honour to receive such an accolade. It’s difficult to put into words what this means to me, particularly when one considers previous recipients such as former President Nelson Mandela. I am truly humbled and grateful to everyone who made this possible, and also to the many people that played a role in our success over the years.”

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Image: classiccarsinrhodesia.co.za

“Basil Green created the era-defining fast Fords that were unbeatable on the track and unmatched on the road, combined with such engineering excellence and dedication to detail that various evolutions of the Perana Cortina, Capri, Escort and Granada were not only approved by Ford, but were officially sold through the countrywide dealer network,” says Neale Hill, MD of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “Many of his modifications to standard cars were world-firsts, and Ford even incorporated some of his developments in the production model local line-up.

“Along with the road cars, Basil Green’s exploits in the motorsport arena were truly exceptional and came to define the period, with his multiple championship-winning Capri Perana V8 being the most memorable.”

Such was the dominance of the mighty Capri Perana V8 that its famous Group 5-specification car, number Z181 with its distinctive orange Gunston livery and driven by Bobby Olthoff, won 13 of the 14 races in the 1970 season. It was capable of over 270 km/h on the old Kyalami circuit’s long main straight, and topped the saloon car lap records at every one of South Africa’s circuits, using a highly tuned V8 with a high performance Weber carburettor for each cylinder.

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Image: gomotors.net

With the rules changing from Group 5 rules to the more production-based Group 2 formula in 1971 in an effort to level the playing field, the Capri Perana remained the class of the field, with car number A2 taking the title. Fortunately both cars have been carefully restored and remain part of prized collections in SA, and are used on selected outings at historic racing events.

The road-going Capri Perana V8, on which the race cars were based, was immensely successful, with estimates of around 500 having been built by the Basil Green Motors team. It soon developed a cult following, and the handful of original cars that remain are highly prized locally and internationally, and are extremely valuable.

“When the Capri was introduced by Ford in 1969, we fitted a V6 engine as they were all four-cylinder models at the time, with the V4 being the top of the range,” Green recalls.

“We sent one of our Capri V6 models to Ford for evaluation and engineering approval, and they liked it so much that they started building their own 3,0-litre V6 model based on our car, which was a first for Ford in South Africa, and globally.

“We then looked at what else we could do with the Capri, and ended up with the lightweight V8 engine from the Mustang, sourced from Windsor Export Supply in the US, which was specially built to our requirements,” he adds. “We also changed the gearbox, suspension, brakes, wheels and tyres. The bodies were produced at Ford’s Port Elizabeth plant and shipped to us, where we did the rest of the work.”

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Image: https://fordcapriperanalkl.wordpress.com/

Tested by Car Magazine in January 1971, the Capri Perana was the only Ford-sanctioned Capri V8 in the world, and was the fastest locally produced car in South Africa. It was capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in a mere 6.7 seconds, and reached an impressive top speed of 228.4km/h. New, it sold for R4 450 through Ford dealers with a full factory warranty.

Although the Capri Perana is the most iconic model, it was preceded by several years of top-notch performance modifications for various cars during the 1960s, resulting in the company’s extremely popular, high-quality aftermarket kits being sold locally and exported to the UK. Interestingly, another of SA’s motorsport legends, Willie Hepburn, formed part of the Basil Green Motors team during the founding years and the subsequent Perana era.

The Perana brand was formally introduced with the Ford Cortina Perana in 1967. The name was actually chosen by Basil’s wife, Paddy, and derived from the ferocious South American piranha fish species.

Based on the Cortina Mk2 2000 GT, it was fitted with the renowned Essex V6 engine and drivetrain from the Ford Zephyr, along with upgrades to the suspension, brakes and use of what was then sporty 175×13 radial tyres on distinctive alloy rims. It cost R2 850 out the box, and established an outstanding racing pedigree for the Perana brand, claiming several SA Saloon Car Championship titles. This was followed by the Cortina Mk3 Perana V6 in 1972, which predated Ford’s popular Cortina ‘Big Six’.

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Image: zahistorics.com

Other noteworthy Perana models were the 1969 Escort Mk1 Perana, based on the Escort RS1600, to which Basil Green Motors fitted Ford’s venerable 2,0-litre OHC engine in place of the complicated original 1,6-litre unit used in European markets. It proved an inspired choice, powering its way to numerous local race and rally titles.

A later effort in 1993, based on the front-wheel drive 1,6-litre Escort XR3, proved exemplary once again, with the hot Perana version boasting almost identical acceleration times and a higher top speed than the Ford Cortina XR6 of the same period. The company also offered tuned 3,0-litre and 3,4-litre versions of the Ford Sapphire in the early 1990s.

Besides the outstanding performance of his fast Fords, Basil Green’s association with the company was firmly entrenched when he was appointed a Ford dealer in 1974. Green and his team won numerous Dealer of the Year awards over the years for his landmark operation in Edenvale, which still proudly carries his name today as part of the SuperGroup conglomerate.

The story behind Green becoming a Ford dealer is an intriguing one, as it involved Ford Motor Company’s global president at the time, Lee Iacocca, who heard of the local team installing the Ford Mustang-derived 5,0-litre V8, as used in the Capri Perana, in the upmarket Granada Mk1 launched in 1972.

“One day Lee Iacocca phoned me and said that he wanted one of the Granada V8s we were building, so one was sent over, only for him to call me back and say the steering wheel is on the wrong side,” Green reminisces. “So it was arranged for a left-hand drive Granada to be sent to us from Germany. We managed to do the modifications in about a week, and it was then flown to America.

“Lee, as he insisted I call him, phoned me a couple of days later saying the car is fantastic and that Ford doesn’t have anything like it in the US,” Green proudly adds.

With the Basil Green Motors team churning out Peranas as fast they could, it all came crashing down when the international fuel crisis hit in 1973-74, bringing an abrupt end to what was a booming business.

“Motor sport was banned and we weren’t allowed to sell high performance cars,” Green muses. “We finished off the remaining cars we had in stock, but we didn’t have a business after that.

“Lee Iacocca contacted the chairman of Ford South Africa and told him to make me a Ford dealer, and we were given the Edenvale and Bedfordview sales areas,” Green adds. “We opened the first dealership in our workshop, put a new car on one of the ramps and added a shop window so we could drive the car out the front. I think we won Dealer of the Year from Ford the following year.

“I then built a beautiful Ford dealership in the main street of Edenvale, called Basil Green Ford, and that is where my long and proud relationship with Ford began.”

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The gloves are off in WRX

If ever the expression ‘the gloves are off’ had meaning, it will this weekend in Latvia when the penultimate round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy takes centre stage at the Neste World RX.

The three main characters are separated by just two points, so there is all to play for in the Bikernieki forest on the outskirts of the Latvian capital of Riga.

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Monster Energy RX Cartel’s Andreas Bakkerud rose to the top of the standings at the previous round in Loheac, France. The Norwegian has 160 points and holds a two-point cushion over the Hansen brothers Timmy and Kevin, who are tied on 158.

The 2019 championship as proven to be one of the most closely-fought seasons ever with six different winners from the eight rounds to date. Only Timmy, with three victories, is a multiple winner this year.

The Swedish siblings had been trading the lead of the drivers’ championship standings prior to Loheac where Bakkerud ascended the summit despite a win for Timmy and third place for Kevin in the French final.

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With just two rounds remaining, all three of the leading protagonists could claim the title – a point not lost on Bakkerud who has called up reinforcements in the shape of Mattias Ekstrom, the 2016 World RX champion.

“I’ve brought Mattias (Ekstrom) with me to be my personal coach to help me go faster,” he says. “Hopefully that can make a difference. The start line in Riga is very slippery which makes it very tough to hit the right revs and make consistently good starts so we’ll focus on that.”

Bakkerud admits he will have his work cut out this weekend against the duel threat of the Hansens.

“Riga has never been my strongest World RX event on the calendar, but I’ve always been a huge fan of going there. It’s been cool to witness the popularity of the sport growing there and also to see all their fans. This year I hope I can go faster at the racetrack itself.”

As for Timmy, Riga is a favourite venue and the Swede believes his Peugeot 208 will be suited to the layout.

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“I like the circuit and the car has a good record there. I hope we have a good chance this weekend,” he says.

“It’s a great track for our car. Seb (Loeb) won here back in 2016 and we have always been fast here. Of course I hope to win again this weekend. I will focus on finding a good rhythm on the track to get 100% out of myself all the way from Q1 to the final.”

As for the championship, Timmy is not looking beyond Riga.

“The championship is very close, so it will take a great weekend to stay in the fight. That’s really all I’m thinking about right now, to drive a good race in Riga.”

Kevin, meanwhile, sees the technical character of the circuit as a major challenge and is mindful of the forecast for rain this weekend.

“Riga is a tight and technical track, which is quite fun and complex: you could call it our Monaco Grand Prix,” he says.

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“It’s important to take a very precise line and look after the tyres carefully: in other words not too much sliding with the throttle wide open. The main thing is to make sure that you are spending more time moving forwards than moving sideways.

“What’s going to make it particularly complicated this weekend is that we’re expecting quite a lot of rain, so it’s going to be even more important than usual to keep everything clean and tidy. It’s a nice day today, so it seems quite hard to believe, but it’s fairly common in Riga to have mixed conditions, so we need to be prepared for everything.”

Local hopes at World RX level rest with Team STARD’s Janis Baumanis and Reinis Nitiss, who drives one of three Hyundai i20s for GRX Taneco alongside the Niclas Gronholm and Timur Timerzyanov.

Baumanis’s consistent performances this season have propelled him to fifth in the standings on 120 points. He has appeared in five finals and reached the podium twice – third in Norway and second in Canada.

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For Baumanis, who has a best finish of fifth in 2017 in Riga, adulation and expectation comes in equal measure. “After a year we are back in Riga, one of the most important – and the most stressful events on the calendar for me,” he said.

“The atmosphere is fantastic and makes it very special for me and my fans. This will be the fourth year in Riga so obviously everyone knows the track by now. I hope to do my best for the home fans. I can’t wait for Saturday morning to get going.”

Nitiss, who makes his third appearance of the year after featuring in the opening round in Abu Dhabi and finishing second in Sweden despite rolling his Hyundai i20 in Q1 on Saturday, is also looking forward to his home race.

He has fond memories of clinching the Euro RX title at this venue last year.

“Home events are always more challenging – you have all your friends and fans in grandstands cheering for you, so naturally the pressure grows,” he says.

“Bikernieki is an iconic, old-school motor sport complex with so much racing history. For me the relatively new rallycross track has a special meaning – I have been involved in the making of the circuit and was one of the very first drivers to try it out even before it was fully completed.

“It is hard to describe the feelings that hit you when you see all the people in the grandstands standing up and cheering for you.

“With a limited racing programme this year, the stakes are high – but I know that together with the GRX team I have the speed. It’s proven by the fastest lap in Abu Dhabi and the podium finish in Sweden.

“To succeed in my home race, I will need to focus even more, prepare even more and be calmer than ever, not to overdo it, but to keep my head straight and aim for the best result.”

Gronholm, fourth in the standings on 135 points despite missing two rounds this year through illness, finished fourth in last year’s Riga final, his best result of the season.

“Once again, we showed great pace in Loheac, especially on Sunday when we were really up there, but the final didn’t go our way. Last year here was my best race of the year, so I think we can expect a good race for us,” the Finn said.

“There will be a lot of Finns cheering for me and our team so I want to deliver and show them what we can do.”

Another incentive for GRX is the teams’ title, according to team manager Jussi Pinomaki.

“The fight for P1 in Teams’ championship is still wide open and we will focus on every detail to succeed in this race.”

There is added spice to the weekend with comments by ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport’s Timo Scheider after the previous round in France. At the centre of the German’s ire was Lithuania’s Rokas Baciuska, who reached his first World RX final at Loheac.

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Scheider was aggrieved by the GC Kompetition driver’s aggression in their semi-final, claiming the contact he had with the Renault Megane cost him a place in the final.

“Everything went well, until in the semi-finals once again an over-motivated stupid boy has messed up my clear entry into the final,” was the German’s view on social media.

Scheider was mighty with his launches in Loheac – recording a reaction time off the line of 0,75. He was P3 overnight after day one and P6 overall after Q4 but the contact with Baciuska in the semi-final ended his participation for the weekend.

Doubtless he will look to put that right in Riga in an upgraded Seat Ibiza which he believes is now capable of mixing it with the front-runners.

GC Kompetition’s Anton Marklund, second in Loheac, aims to keep the momentum going for the French squad.

“The Bikernieki track was where I had my first test with the GCK Megane RS RX after the race weekend last year. Hopefully we can bring the good momentum from the last races in to this round. I’m really looking forward to racing in front of the Latvian crowd,” the Swede said.

GCK team boss, Guerlain Chicherit, is seeking a strong all-round performance from the team in Latvia.

“With Latvia RX the last race in Europe of the FIA World Rallycross Championship calendar, I’m really looking forward to bringing the team of five cars and drivers to the Latvian crowd and race in front of all the fans before heading to South Africa,” he said.

“It’ll be an exciting weekend of race action with some awesome fights for sure. We look to continue to up our performance from the last races and bag strong points for GCK.”

GCK Academy’s Cyril Raymond, meanwhile, is focussed on the Bikernieki circuit’s technical challenges.

“Latvia RX is one of the hardest circuits in the calendar for me. The track is really picturesque especially when you are driving in the forest but very technical. Our Clio will be more efficient on this type of track,” he said.

His team-mate Guilaume De Ridder goes in search of a long overdue change of fortune as does Britain’s Oliver Bennett who has completed repairs on the Xite Racing Mini Cooper after an off in Q4 at Loheac.

Sweden’s Robin Larsson, who clinched the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Loheac, joins the World RX grid for Riga.

Larsson will be at the wheel of a JC Raceteknik Audi S1 along with fellow Audi drivers Bakkerud and Monster Energy RX Cartel team-mate Liam Doran and EKS Sport’s Krisztian Szabo.

Larsson, who competed in World RX in 2014 and 2015, said: “I’ve obviously raced in World RX before, but it will be a little special to make this jump when the World RX drivers are in a really tight fight in the championship.

“It will be exciting to see how we stand against the World RX guys now. I think you can raise your own level even more when you are fighting to keep up, so maybe we can close the gap more too. The goal is to at least make the semi-finals, and use this as a good event to check our pace.”

There is another outing for Matvey Furazhkin in the ES Motorsport – Labas GAS Skoda Fabia following his World RX debut at Loheac the previous round.

“The weekend in Loheac was one of the best of my career. The level of racing was impressive. The car felt really competitive and working with such a professional team is very motivating,” the Russian said.

“Now we are preparing for the Riga event and the main goal for this race will be to improve results from the previous race weekend. I can’t wait to be in the car again and push the limits.”

Norway’s Pal Try makes his third start of the season in the second Team STARD Fiesta alongside Baumanis.

Next stop – Cape Town.

Nail-biter for Lichtenburg

With just 23 points difference between the two top teams, the Lichtenburg 400 – round 5 of the 2019 South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS) – is going to be a nail-biter with the added bonus for spectators of being able to see ex-F1 ace Fernando Alonso in action.

Victory on last month’s Bronkhorstspruit 400 moved Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Henk Lategan and navigator Brett Cummings to within a hair of winning the 2019 title. There is still some work to be done for the Toyota Hilux crew over the remainder of the season, and a good result in this weekend’s Lichtenburg 400 will be crucial to the pair’s success.

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Lategan/Cummings are 23 points ahead in the overall championship, with Ford’s Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable in second place. Toyota Gazoo Racing teammates, Shameer Variawa and Juan Möhr have moved up into third place, after recording consistent results in the four previous rounds.

However, with 30 points on offer for victory, Lategan/Cummings are not assured of the title just yet, and scoring maximum points in Lichtenburg will be their main aim this weekend.

Defending champions, Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy, driving an identical Toyota Hilux, find themselves in fourth place on the log, after disappointing results in the last three rounds. Their hopes of securing the 2019 title faded after the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, and were dashed after failing to score meaningful points in Round 4. A good result in Lichtenburg, however, could still elevate them in the overall standings.

“It will be an interesting weekend for the team,” says Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall. “Henk and Brett could potentially secure the championship; Giniel and Dennis need to push for maximum points; and Shameer and Juan could, with a bit of luck, move up to second place in the overall standings. So, there’s a lot going on for us this round.”

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Add to that the team’s preparations for the upcoming Rally of Morocco, where De Villiers will be competing alongside new navigator; as well as the overall preparation and testing of components for the 2020 Dakar Rally, and it is clear that the Lichtenburg 400 will be a busy round for the team.

As if the SACCS title chase, Dakar testing and Morocco preparations aren’t enough, the team will also facilitate a further training session for two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, reigning FIA World Endurance Championship title holder, two-time Formula 1 World Champion, and winner of the 24-Hours of Daytona, Fernando Alonso.

As such, Alonso and his navigator will be taking part in the Lichtenburg 400 as a non-competitive entry, in order to experience more varied terrain, as well as the pressure of a race.

Harrismith was originally scheduled for this fifth round, but exceptionally dry conditions and a high risk of fire in the area resulted in the organisers having to move the race to the North West town at short notice.

There has been a common thread running through the Class T championship this season, as the Castrol Ford Cross Country Team’s Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable have made the top step of the podium their own with a clean sweep of five victories (including the two separate races that made up the Botswana Desert Race in June).

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As the reigning champions, the crew has been untouchable in the Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) built and run Ford Ranger (T34), putting them on the brink of a second consecutive title this year. A finish in the points in either of the two closing rounds will hand them the Class T crown.

“We’ve had an amazing year so far, with Lance and Ward performing faultlessly throughout the season,” says NWM team principal Neil Woolridge. “The hard work that has been put into developing the Ranger this season has certainly paid off, and it reflects the long hours and dedication of the team as a whole.

“It’s a pity that we won’t be racing in Harrismith, as it is much closer to our home base and our many supporters from KwaZulu-Natal who normally come to the race, but the change in venue is completely understandable following an exceptionally dry winter.

“The sport relies on the support of local farmers for us to race on their land, and the potential of a fire would be devastating for their livelihoods.”

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Lance Woolridge

The race weekend will start with a qualifying race on September 13, from the Lichtenburg showgrounds, which also serves as the Designated Service Park (DSP) and race HQ. The main event will get under way at 8 am on Saturday morning. Fans can follow the race via the RallySafe application, which is available for both iOS and Android devices.

Emerald Speed Fest postponed

Travel safety concerns amidst the looting and ransacking in the Gauteng region coupled with date clashes with other motor sport events have prompted the organisers to cancel the Emerald Speed Fest for 2019 and move it to a new date next year.

Originally scheduled for the September 28/29 the motor sport and motoring lifestyle at the Emerald Resort and Casino in Vanderbijlpark will now take place on February 7/9.

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“A date in early 2020 has proven to be a more desirable option for this exciting new motor sport event. The safety of competitors and spectators is a prime concern and the new date will also ensure all competitors in local motor sport will get an opportunity to participate in this unique event,” says Shaun Swart, Head of Business Development for show organizers Messe Frankfurt South Africa.

“Messe Frankfurt South Africa is fully committed to deliver a safe and successful event and the new date provides a better platform to achieve this objective. We would also like to thank our event partners and the venue for the overwhelming support of the exciting new motorsport event,” added Messe Frankfurt South Africa CEO Joshua Low.

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High-performance race cars, modern road-cars, historic race cars and supercars will compete in a time challenge along a 1,6 km strip of tar at the Vaal Resort. The event will offer competitors a challenging high-speed run competing, in classes, for a variety of prizes totaling close to half a million rand in value.

Spectators will witness these high-performance road and race cars in action as well as also enjoy a variety of displays and refreshments. The pit area will be open to the public. Classic Car displays as well as motoring and motor sport related exhibitors will add to the excitement of the event. Visitors will also benefit from the family orientated features and attractions Emerald Resort has to offer.

Concert stage at Kyalami 9-Hour

The ‘full Monty’ is coming to Kyalami for the 9-Hour race in November in the tradition of the great endurance races of Europe – a full-on pop concert on both the Friday and Saturday – and the only thing missing at this point is the giant Ferris Wheel.

Eighteen of South Africa’s biggest DJs, bands and artists will perform during the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli season finale.

Leading the pack is internationally renowned guru of the decks, Black Coffee, who takes to the stage on Saturday. This powerhouse DJ continues to churn out record-breaking tunes, which include the mega-hit ‘Drive’ in collaboration with David Guetta and featuring Delilah Montagu.

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The Kyalami 9 Hour is also thrilled to launch the ‘Africa Is Not A Jungle’ stage, Black Coffee’s vision aimed at amplifying international appreciation of African music. Joining him on the Kyalami stage and then on his drive to greater international recognition are the best in dance adrenaline fuelled artists Transmicsoul, Culoe De Song, Lemon & Herb, Julian Gomes and Kid Fonque echoing the sentiment ‘Africa Is Not A Jungle’ – it is the ancient birthplace of the human race and a continent characterised by its colourful mix of cultures, nature, art and musical fusion.

On Friday the grooves will blast off at 14:00 with a dazzling line-up of artists. Internationally acclaimed rock royalty Prime Circle will get hearts racing with their chart-topping hits such as ‘She Always Gets What She Wants’ and ‘Consider Me’.

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Sun El Musician, the artist who has captured the heart of the nation and rose to fame with his smash hit ‘Akanamali’ promises to be a showstopper whilst the soulful three-piece House group Mi Casa will pump the gas with their ‘Jika’ vibes.

Pushing the pace with Black Coffee on the Saturday and kicking off at 16:00, one of South Africa’s most loved female acts will take to the stage: sensational smash-hit singer Shekhinah. Young, entrancing and overflowing with fresh vibes, the ‘Golden Rose’ Shekhinah is no stranger to the stage, possessing all the sass and blissful vocals to wrap the crowd around her finger. Her track record guarantees a powerful performance.

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Tom Pearson-Adams, CEO of the Kyalami 9 Hour: “With the addition of a star studded line-up to this groundbreaking event, we truly feel that we have catered for fans from all walks of life. This will be entertainment at its best. Speed and sound, family and fun.

It is an event for everyone and we feel privileged and honoured to not only host the top racing drivers in the world, but to also provide a platform for some of South Africa’s top performing artists that truly know how to entertain.”

Brabham back to the track

With 26 Formula 1 Grand Prix victories to their name, the partnership between Goodyear and Brabham was a good one – and being rekindled as the two companies collaborate on a road and race car project that sees the Brabham BT62 make its racing debut at Brands Hatch on the November 9 in the Britcar ‘Into the Night’ race.

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Brands Hatch is the very circuit where Jack Brabham took his Brabham-Repco BT19 to British Grand Prix glory 53 years earlier.

Jack Brabham won the 1966 F1 World Championship in a Goodyear shod Brabham-Repco, the iconic BT19 – a historic moment as it marked the first, and never to be repeated, title for a driver in a car of his own construction and bearing his own name.

Denny Hulme made it a back-to-back championship success for Brabham and Goodyear in 1967, before Brabham stars such as Carlos Reutemann, Niki Lauda and Carlos Pace wore the iconic Goodyear cap on the top step of the podium in the seventies. In 1981, Nelson Piquet clinched the World Championship at the final round in Las Vegas after switching his Brabham to Goodyear mid-season.

David Brabham, son of Sir Jack Brabham and Director of Brabham Automotive says: “Goodyear and Brabham’s combined successes in motor sport are iconic. The partnership historically brought an incredible amount of success in Formula 1 and Endurance Racing and we look to continue this winning legacy through Brabham Automotive, the BT62 and future car variants. The continued commitment shown by Goodyear globally in motorsport means it is perfect timing for the two marques to join forces as we continue our road to Le Mans.”

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Spearheading the return of the Brabham and Goodyear story is the Brabham BT62. This is an unrestricted, thoroughbred track car that is limited to a production run of just 70 vehicles. Weighing in at 972 kg (dry) and with 522 kW from its 5,4-litre V8 engine it offers performance that has already shattered GT3-class lap records.

With some 1 200 kgs of downforce, a motor sport derived tyre development program is crucial as Brabham continues to have a performance-based approach to their track and road ambitions.

Dan Marks, Commercial Director at Brabham Automotive says: “Goodyear and Brabham enjoyed success together over four decades in F1. To reignite this technical collaboration is exciting. We have chosen to work with Goodyear as they have the tyre technology to support our goal of achieving the highest levels of performance on both the road and track.”

In addition to supplying Goodyear Racing tyres for the track only BT62, the car is also available with Brabham’s road compliant conversion option, which will include tyres from the Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport range that was launched earlier this year.

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It combines Goodyear’s racing experience and award-winning road tyre technology to provide superior grip and handling. It has already been declared an outright test winner, topping the first-ever Ultra Ultra High Performance (UUHP) tyre test conducted by Tyre Reviews.

The Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport range’s performance is enhanced using a high-friction compound, providing exceptional lateral grip and traction. This compound technology is closely related to Goodyear’s FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) tyres that will be used in the 2019/20 season. The track-only version of the BT62 will be fitted with similar Goodyear Racing tyres to the WEC cars.

New leader in WRX series

There is a new name atop the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy after the title chase was emphatically put through the equivalent of a meat grinder during the World RX of France at the weekend – and Andreas Bakkerud is the new leader.

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Team Hansen MJP’s Timmy Hansen took an emphatic victory in round eight of the series, leading home GC Kompeition’s Anton Marklund with younger brother Kevin Hansen third in the second of the team’s Peugeot 208s.

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The overall results from the weekend meant Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud rose to the top of the drivers’ standings despite a fifth-place finish in the final.

The Monster Energy RX Cartel driver now sits on 160 points with the Hansen brothers tied on 158. Timmy’s victory was his third of a season, which has produced six different event winners with eight of the 10 rounds completed.

In the final, Timmy took advantage of a gap which opened up when Bakkerud’s Audi S1 and the Hyundai i20 of GRX Taneco’s Niclas Gronholm went wide in a squabble for the lead at turn one.

Meanwhile, Kevin and Marklund, who started on the back row of the grid, engaged in battle with GC Kompetition young gun Rokas Baciuska of Lithuania.

After his joker lap, Marklund emerged in second place behind Timmy while Kevin produced a spirited drive to pip Baciuska by inches at the joker lap merge.

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Timmy’s victory was a dramatic response after he missed the semi-finals in the previous round at Trois-Rivieres, Canada. The Swede also left the opening round in Abu Dhabi with a paltry points tally after heavy contact with Bakkerud in qualifying.

 

 

“This weekend has been amazing. From a championship perspective I’ve taken two big hits with nearly no championship points from two races – Abu Dhabi and Canada – so I’m very happy with the result and the position in the championship,” he said.

“Coming here to Loheac where we have so much support from the French fans is special. The Peugeot is very good around this circuit.

“I was feeling very comfortable all weekend. I needed a perfect Q4 to get the pole for the semi-final which I got, then I was all-in for the final where Andreas (Bakkerud) and Niclas (Gronholm) opened the door for me.

“It was so nice to come out in front and concentrate on my own driving. I had such a good gap that I was able to take in the incredible atmosphere.

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“As for the championship, it’s exciting to be in the middle of this fight. It’s going to be an interesting end to the year. It is me, Kevin and Andreas all racing for our first world championship. Who grabs it is down to whoever is able to put it all together for the last two rounds and perform best under this pressure.”

Fellow-Swede Marklund, who was third at Silverstone in round four and first to the flag in Hell, Norway in round five, only to be deprived of the win due to a technical infringement, was delighted to reach the podium at the home race of the French GC Kompetition squad.

“I know how much this race means for the team, so it’s great to be able to reward everyone with this second place,” he said. “The Renault Megane was strong all weekend and I had some great pace in the final. Starting from the back row in the final is not easy so I was glad to be able to reach the podium eventually.”

Kevin Hansen, who led the drivers’ championship by five points over Bakkerud ahead of Loheac, had struggled in qualifying and only just scraped through to the final after a brilliant recovery drive.

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“It was a really tough weekend for me. I had a lot of bad luck in the qualifying rounds and I have no idea how I got to the final to be honest,” he said.

“I was sure on the last lap of the semi-final I was not going to make it to the final. In the final I didn’t quite have the pace to keep up with the other two Swedes. I pushed really hard in the joker lap and managed to just get out ahead of Rokas (Baciuska) to finish third. I just had to fight. I am a rallycrosser, I never give up.

“It’s great that the championship fight is so tight. We have to work together as a team to get the edge on Andreas, but realistically I just have to do my own thing and hope it is enough.”

En route to fourth place in the final Baciuska became the first driver from the GC Kompetition team to win a qualifying session with the fastest time in Q2 on day one.

GC Kompetition team boss Guerlain Chicherit was delighted with the team’s overall performance – with both Marklund and Baciuska making the final.

“This was the second time in a row we have put two cars in the final so the team is getting stronger. Rokas (Baciuska) made a very small mistake on the last lap on turn five which cost him just a few tenths and the chance to put his nose in front of Kevin (Hansen).

“We have to acknowledge the Hansens did an amazing job on the strategy by protecting each other. This is something we still need to learn. We are not at that level yet but we are quick learners.

“For me personally the weekend was a bit frustrating. I had the speed but I had some contact in qualifying but that’s motorsport. We have two more races before the end of the season and I really want to be on the podium. I think I have the pace to do it so it is just a question of putting everything together.”

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Guillame De Ridder’s run of back luck continued although he did manage to grab a consolation win in Q4. “

“It’s good for the mind to finish with a victory here in Loheac. Now the focus is on the next round in Riga,” the Belgian said.

Fellow GCK Academy driver Cyril Raymond finished 15th overall much to the disappointment of his countrymen.

ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport’s Timo Scheider narrowly missed the final after a stunning last-ditch effort in semi-final two placed him fourth ahead of Russia’s Timur Timerzyanov and Britain’s Liam Doran in the second Monster Energy RX Cartel Audi S1.

Finland’s Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen, showed an impressive turn of speed on his return to World RX in the GRX Taneco Hyundai i20. He finished third overall in Q1 after day one but had to settle for fourth in semi-final one. EKS Sport’s Krisztian Szabo and Team STARD’s Janis Baumanis were fifth and sixth respectively in the same semi-final.

It was a torrid weekend for Britain’s Oliver Bennett. His Xite Racing Mini Cooper ended in the gravel trap after a spin in Q2 and he suffered a second DNF in Q4 after heavy contact with Chicherit and finished well down the order in the overall standings.

“It all went downhill from Q2 really where we had the initial contact and ended up in the gravel,” he said. “Then in Q4, I thought I was clear into turn one but got a shove from the left side which triggered a catalogue of events and I was a passenger from then on. Luckily, the damage looks worse than it is. Onwards to Latvia now.”

With just Latvia ahead of the last race of the season in Cape Town in November, the Mother City looks set to host an epic final.

Colin Windell is a Brand Ambassador

WRX of South Africa