The Alfa Trofeo Racing Series made their way to a cold and windy Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday 25 July for the fifth round of the 2015 championship. With the new sprint race format now well established, the entries continue to grow with every event, and a healthy field of cars lined up on the grid for the first race.
Disaster struck for Paul Griffin (Sud) for the second event in a row however, when a broken oil seal during qualifying put paid to his chances of a decent race day.
Pole man Cuan Helen (Junior) led the field through turn one. Jacques Baartman (GT) slotted into second position with Jose de Carvalho (155 GTA Twin Spark) and Shane Baartman (GTV) hot on his heels. John Hendriks (Sud) wasn’t too far behind but had Ralph Kernes (Alfetta) hassling him all the way.
Shane Baartman grabbed third position on lap two, and then proceeded to claim second a lap later. De Carvalho moved up to third with Kernes slotting in behind him after Hendriks ran wide coming out of turn eight. Hendriks dropped further back a lap later when a jammed throttle saw him take to the kitty litter and lose a number of positions in the process.
Jacques Baartman was fighting his way back through the field after an earlier off and got past Kyle Viljoen (145) and Anthony Theobald (Guilia) to pick up fifth place on lap five. Some last lap heroics saw him scythe past Kernes, de Carvalho and Shane Baartman to pick up second position. Shane was unfortunate to drop back to sixth position on the last lap as well.
When the chequered flag came out it was Helen who claimed the victory ahead of Jacques. De Carvalho was pressured all the way to the finish line by Kernes for third position with 0.00.365 separating the pair across the line.
The second race of the day got off to a dramatic start when leading lady Angelique Griffin (Sud) was forced wide through turn four on the opening lap, sending her into a tank slapper which saw her unceremoniously thrown across the kitty litter and into retirement.
When the dust had settled it was de Carvalho who had grabbed the lead ahead of Jacques Baartman and Kernes. Shane Baartman slotted in behind the leading trio with Hendriks, Viljoen and Theobald Senior in tow. Shane Coetzer (33) had been battling with pace all weekend and his woes came to an end when he retired to the pits with a persistent misfire. Viljoen saw his efforts come to an end as well when the gearbox linkage broke on his car.
Jacques ruined his chances on lap five when he ran wide into turn eight, spinning out in the process before rejoining the race in fifth position.
With the race quickly running out of time it was de Carvalho who crossed the line to claim the victory ahead of Kernes. The third place battle went all the way to the line with Shane beating out Hendriks by 0.00.498 to claim the last podium spot.
The sixth round of the championship will be held at the Phakisa Freeway in Welkom on Saturday 15 August.
The new sprint race format is working well. It is hoped that this will inspire more Alfanatics to get involved with the series once again.