Brett Garland (autObarn/Torch/Ingco/Sabat Honda Civic) has moved to the top of the 2021 Car Care Clinic SuperHatch championship standings after he took victory both on track and on the Index of Performance standings in the Phakisa 200 held in the Free State on Saturday, 15 May. Garland, who teamed up with Heinz Böse for the event, took the win from Andre Dannhauser (Pro Auto Rubber Opel Corsa) with Jonathan du Toit (Trans Africa Racing Honda Civic) having to settle for third. Despite fighting car problems all week, Mel Spurr managed to do enough to bring the Car Car Clinic Hinda Civic she was piloting home to take Class B while Shane Forget (Pro Auto Rubber Opel Cub) held off Almero van Eck (VW Polo) to take Class C.
In Saturday morning’s qualifying session, du Toit was the quickest of the SuperHatch brigade setting a time that saw him line up ninth on the grid shared with his Car Care Clinic GT and 111 Sports and Saloons colleagues. He was comfortably quicker than the Garland/Böse Honda which lined up alongside him. Wessel Smit and Heath Bent (Africa Mobile Limpopo VW Polo) were the next Class A car in 16th on the combined grid just ahead of Spurr with Dannhauser heading the next row. Francois Henning (VW Polo) had a couple of 111 cars between himself and Dannhauser with van Eck the leading Class C competitor a bit further back. Forget was next up ahead of Hennie Swanepoel (VW Polo) with Lenard Archer at the back of the grid after his fanbelt broke during the session.
The race got underway on a glorious Autumn afternoon and du Toit, aided by some mechanical problems suffered by some of the quicker GT Sports and Saloons cars, soon worked his up the field running as high as third on the road at one stage. Garland opted to play the long game and did not push too hard on the Phakisa circuit which is notoriously hard on tyres. He was second in class when he came into the pits for a tyre change and to hand over to Böse for the second half of the race. Once the leading trio had all made their compulsory pit stops, du Toit led the way from Böse with Dannhauser in third. Archer had worked his way up from the back of the grid to fourth ahead of the Smit/Bent VW Polo with Henning in sixth. It looked like the positions were fairly settled but Phakisa had other ideas. Du Toit had to make a late stop for fresh tyres which allowed both Böse and Dannhauser through. Despite having fresher rubber, he could not make up the deficit and had to settle for third. Garland and Böse took victory a lap ahead of Dannhauser. Archer, despite a late off-track excursion that saw him lose about 5 minutes, was able to hang on to fourth ahead of Smit and Bent with Henning rounding out the Class A field in sixth.
The Car Care Clinic VW Polo that Spurr normally drives decided not to start at a test session during the week and her crew couldn’t trace the problem. A change of car didn’t help much as the Civic she used also developed problems of its own, forcing her to spend a lot of time in the pits during the race. She was, however, able to return to the track before the pit lane closed and crossed the line under her own steam to claim the points for the Class B win.
In Class C, van Eck led the way from Forget until just after both made their pit stops. Forget then took the lead and held on to it until the flag.
In the Index of Performance standings, Garland took Class A from Dannhauser and du Toit. Class B went to Spurr while van Eck took Class C from Forget.
Garland now leads the overall championship standings by just three points from du Toit with Forget, the first of the Class C competitors, in third. Spurr sits in fourth overall and leads the way in Class B.
The SuperHatch competitors make their way to Zwartkops Raceway, west of Pretoria, for the third round of their 2021 championship. It forms part of the Passion for Speed, which takes place on 18 and 19 June.