The Hankook Formula Vee Series took to the Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria for the third round of the 2016 season on Saturday 21 May. Qualifying couldn’t have been closer with the top eight all within the same second of each other. Peter Hills (Rhema 2) claimed pole position by 0.059 of a second ahead of Symm Grobler (Rhema).
Jaco Schriks (Rhema 2) would start from the second row with series rookie Lendl Jansen (Rhema 2) putting in an impressive performance to line up alongside his more experienced opponent. Series stalwart Anthony Taylor (Rhema) would start from fifth position with Greg Wilson (Forza) rounding out the top six.
Conditions for the first race were less than ideal with numerous oil spills in the preceding events making the track surface less than ideal to race on.
When the red lights went out it was Grobler who grabbed the lead ahead of Hills, Schriks and Taylor. The anticipated drama struck early when Lushen Ramchander (Rhema 2) launched himself over the back wheel of Wilson’s car in turn two – luckily with both being able to continue with the race.
Hills had taken the lead by the end of the first lap with the rest of the leading pack in tow. Jansen slotted into fifth position with Gert van den Berg (Rhema 2), and a recovered Wilson and Ramchander in hot pursuit.
Grobler regained the lead a lap later and took on a defensive role ahead of the chasing pack. Van den Berg and Ramchander were also on a move with both of them getting past Jansen and Wilson respectively.
The battle for the lead continued with Hills trying everything he could to get past Grobler in the slippery conditions. Ramchander was on a charge as he passed van den Berg on the seventh lap and set about closing in on the top four.
The battle would go down to the wire with Grobler taking a narrow victory ahead of the hard charging Hills – 0.146 of a second separating the pair across the line. Schriks was right on their tail in third position with the next three cars less than a second behind the leading trio as well.
Top 6 Results
- Symm Grobler – Best lap: 1:11.602
- Peter Hills – Best lap: 1:11.579
- Jaco Schriks – Best lap: 1:11.351
- Anthony Taylor – Best lap: 1:11.499
- Lushen Ramchander – Best lap: 1:11.007
- Gert van den Berg – Best lap: 1:11.193
The second race promised even more action and certainly did not disappoint. Once again Grobler took the lead ahead of Hills, Schriks and Taylor. Hills grabbed the lead through turn four but this was short lived when Taylor tangled with him on the next lap.
A double hit from Taylor through turn five saw him launched over the cockpit of Hills car narrowly missing the latter’s helmet. Hills continued with his damaged vehicle while Taylor retired to the pits.
Grobler inherited the lead with Schriks and Wilson hot on his heels. The battle between van den Berg and Ramchander resumed behind the leading trio as well. Travas Rugenheimer (Rhema 2) slotted into sixth position with Brandon Hills (Rhema 2) and Geoff Tugwell (VMAX) chasing him down. Tugwell’s race didn’t last much longer when his engine blew through turn four a lap later.
A determined Schriks got past Grobler to take the lead on lap three, with Wilson losing third position to van den Berg in the process. Ramchander managed to squeeze past Wilson as well but didn’t have it all his own way. Wilson came back at him almost immediately with the pair running side by side for the next few corners until Wilson regained the position through the “Tabletop”.
The safety car came out on lap seven when Barry du Plessis (Rhema 1) spun out through turn two and managed to beach himself on the inside curbing. The battle resumed a lap later with Schriks holding onto the lead ahead of Grobler and the rest of the chasing pack. When the chequered flag came out on lap ten it was Schriks who held on for the win ahead of Grobler, with van den Berg only just holding on to third place.
Top 6 Results
- Jaco Schriks – Best lap: 1:10.000
- Symm Grobler – Best lap: 1:10.198
- Gert van den Berg – Best lap: 1:09.998
- Greg Wilson – Best lap: 1:10.914
- Lushen Ramchander – Best lap: 1:10.834
Lendl Jansen – Best lap: 1:10.863