Jonathan du Toit (Trans Africa Racing Honda Civic) got his Car Care Clinic SuperHatch championship quest off to the perfect start when he won Class A in both heats at the opening round of the 2021 season at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 13 March. Werner Pieterse (VW Polo) took Class B in the opening heat but couldn’t repeat the feat in the second race which went to Trevor Stringer (Citrine Designs Peugeot 206). Defending overall champion Shane Forget gave his new sponsors, Pro Auto Rubber, the perfect start to their new partnership when he took both Class C wins in his Opel Cub.
In the morning qualifying session, du Toit wasted no time in signalling his intentions, taking pole position from Brett Garland (autObarn/Torch/Ingco/Sabat Honda Civic) by over nine-tenths of a second. Andre Dannhauser (Pro Auto Rubber Opel Corsa) set a time that was good enough for third place in Class A before breaking the differential while trying to go even quicker. Francois Henning (Select Registrations VW Polo) was next up with series newcomer, Wessel Smit (Africa Mobile Limpopo VW Polo), in fifth. Lenard Archer (ACD Welkom Hyundai Getz) had to line up at the back of the Class A grid after not setting a time in the qualifying session.
Pieterse got the better of Mel Spurr (Car Care Clinic/AKA Signs VW Polo) to head the Class B grid. Ishmael Baloyi (Trans Africa Racing Honda Civic) headed the second row with Karel Stols (Pretoria Noord Toyota Etios) alongside him. Stringer ended the session in fifth.
Forget was comfortably the quickest of the Class C brigade, taking pole position from Almero van Eck (VW Polo) and Craig Priestley (Tactical Fluid Ford Laser).
Garland grabbed the lead from the start of the 8-lap sprint race, but du Toit was all over the back of his car trying to find a way through. Despite fighting for the lead, the pair managed to open a substantial gap over the chasing pack. Just after half-distance, du Toit found a way past Garland and way able to pull away and take the win by almost two-and-a-half seconds. Dannhauser couldn’t get his new gearbox fitted in time to make the start of the race which allowed Henning to take a fairly lonely third place.
Pieterse and Spurr had a race-long duel at the front of Class B, with Pieterse taking the honours by less than eight-tenths of a second. Smit, in his first SuperHatch race, ended in sixth on the road, fourth of the Class A runners. He had Forget, the leading Class C competitor, just behind him with Stringer in eighth and third in Class B. Van Eck was next up, second of the Class C runners while Archer limped home in tenth place in his ailing Hyundai.
In a change from the normal race day action, the SuperHatch competitors were joined by their Car Care Clinic GT and 111 Sports & Saloons counterparts for the second heat of the day, a 45-minute mini enduro. At the front of the field, du Toit had things all his own way, leading from lights to flag barring a couple of laps immediately after his compulsory pit stop. Garland had to settle for second, comfortably ahead of Smit with Dannhauser, despite a couple of off-track excursions caused by oil on the circuit, not far behind in fourth. Brake problems spoilt Henning’s chances of a good result and he had to settle for fifth in Class A.
Electrical problems early on side-lined Spurr and left Pieterse to what looked like it was going to be another Class B win but problems on the penultimate lap let Stringer through to take the win ahead of Baloyi. Forget picked up another easy Class C win from van Eck.
The SuperHatch competitors head to Phakisa Freeway, between Welkom and Odendaalsrus in the Free State for the second round of their 2021 championship on 14 and 15 May.