The challenge for the Investchem Formula 1600 field when arriving at Port Elizabeth was to master the short race track which doesn’t offer much opportunity for overtaking while still being a rather technical challenge, demanding concentration from the drivers.
Continuing the trend of the 2017 season, Julian van der Watt (42 – Race Driver SA), topped the timesheets from the start of the weekend. Qualifying, race one, race two and the overall results all had his name in the lead position.
Considering his performance to date, it was not a particularly surprising outcome as, including this latest round, Van der Watt has won 10 races – out of the 10 races that have taken place.
Just behind the championship leader, Stuart White (8 – Fantastic Racing) was doing his thing to keep Van der Watt on his toes. White has kept the pressure on this season but has missed a round of the championship due to racing commitments in Europe. This has allowed Van der Watt a bit more breathing room than he would otherwise enjoy, but White was in good form in Port Elizabeth, second to the championship leader in every session – and second overall for the day.
At Scribante it was the fight for third place where the action took place – between Cameron O’Connor (93 – Repro Supplies / Racing Factors) and Alex Gillespie (50 – ERP Trucking Components). O’Connor started the event strong, claiming third place in qualifying and following that up with another third place – this time in race one.
In race one, the final lap saw O’Connor pull off an overtaking manoeuvre on Gillespie around the outside of turn one – the tight right-hander is not a location known for successfully bravery of this nature, but O’Connor managed this minor miracle on race day.
Gillespie stepped up in race two to take third place ahead of O’Connor – and also finish in third place overall for the day, thanks to a quicker overall time for the day.
The Class B category saw Donny Lamola (24 – Investchem / First Race) take honours for the Scribante race day. Lamola finished second to Ian Schofield (10 – Investchem) in race one, but when Schofield was unable to complete the second race, Lamola claimed the race win ahead of Allen Meyer (15 – Investchem) and taking honours for the for the day as well.
Scribante was the venue for Lamola’s first ever race finish ahead of Meyer, after the two had been involved in a tough tussle throughout the 12 lap race. For Schofield the second race DNF (did not finish) was due to contact between himself and Liam Pienaar (67 – Phoenix Manufacturing Jewellers). This contact affected Schofield’s brakes and one corner later he went off the track.
The outcome is unlikely to hurt Schofield in terms of his championship standings in Class B going forward, but it will serve as a boost for Lamola, encouraging her to push harder the rest of the season.
The Investchem Formula 1600 field will return to Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria for round six of their eight round championship this year. This race meeting will see them compete on Saturday, August 12.
Zwartkops is a circuit these single-seater competitors know very well and always provides the right environment for really tough competition. This should ensure a very competitive race day for anyone wanting to gather as many points as possible in the few remaining rounds.