Just three weeks ago Wouter Roos and Graeme Nathan were trading paint as they fought for victory in the third round of the 2020 Car Care Clinic GT Sports & Saloons championship. On Saturday, 3 October they put that rivalry behind them and combined to take overall victory in the annual Phakisa 200 at the Free State circuit.
In Saturday morning’s qualifying session, Nathan and Roos grabbed pole position in their Car Care Clinic VW Supa Polo), comfortably ahead of Mark du Toit and Ryan Quan Chai (Trans Africa Racing BMW Z4) and Bob Neill (Delmon Mining Ford Focus ST). Phillip Meyer (PPLE Group/Swiss Hotel School Porsche 924 GTR) led the way in Class A of the Car Care Clinic 111 Sports and Saloons category to take fourth on the grid ahead of the Stradale Motorsport Nissan 350Z of Harry Arangies and Johan Hattingh. Gerhard Henning (All Toyota Spares VW Golf) was next up ahead of Piet Potgieter (Nathan’s Motorsport VW Golf) and Adrian Dalton (Xtra Clothing and Shoes VW Golf) who filled the fourth row of the grid. Mohamed Dangor and Stiaan Kriel (Creative Ink VW Polo) and the Elegant Fuels VW Golf piloted by Maritz le Roux and Andy Gossman rounded out the top ten.
Several retirements in the early stages of the race, with Neill not even getting off the line, and the Stradale Motorsport Nissan 350Z, the Golfs of Dalton and Henning and the Dangor/Krial Polo all dropping out with mechanical problems before half distance reduced the competition at the head of the field but Roos and Nathan were running like clockwork out in front. The only time they lost the lead was when they made their compulsory pit stop but du Toit and Quan Chai made their stop just a few laps later, allowing the Car Car Clinic Supa Polo duo to retake the lead, which they held until the flag. Daniel Dodds (TBR Racing Honda Ballade), who started the race just outside the top ten, made early gains to move to within striking distance of the leaders. He was able to hang on to second place, ending the 200km race just a lap behind the leaders. Du Toit and Quan Chai ran out of fuel just a couple of laps before the end but had done enough to take third place ahead of le Roux and Gossman in their Golf and Wayne Lebotschy (Shield VW Golf).
Roland Hopkins (Elegant Fuels VW Polo) came home in sixth ahead of the Piet Potgieter/Dawie van der Merwe Nathan’s Motorsport Golf that completed the race running on the right front rim after its tyre destroyed itself part way round the final lap. Bevin Masters and Heinz Bose (The CPS Warehouse VW Polo) claimed eighth ahead of the leading SuperHatch cars, the first of which was driven by Ishmael Baloyi and Chad ten Doeschate (Trans Africa Racing Honda Civic) with Andre Dannhauser (Pro Auto Rubber Opel Corsa) in tenth.
Overall winners, Roos and Nathan, took the GT Sports and Saloons win from du Toit and Quan Chai with Johan van der Vyver and Richard Hodgson (Devlaw Subaru WRX STi) in third. In the 111 Sports and Saloons, Dodds took Class A from Potgieter and van der Merwe. Meyer, who spent some time in the pits in the middle part of the race, recovered to third. Lebotschy took Class B while Roland Hopkins led the way in Class C. Class D went to Reno van Heerden (Police VW Polo) with Class E going the way of Mark Kingsmill and Mark Gregory (Team Gregory Racing/Creative Patterns VW Golf).
In the Index of Performance standings, Dodds took the honours from van Heerden with Roos and Nathan in third.
In the morning, before the Phakisa 200 got underway, the drivers took part in an eight-lap sprint race. There Roos just held off Neill to take GT Sports & Saloons honours with Quan Chai in third. Meyer took Class A in the 111 Sports and Saloons with Henning and Potgieter in second and third respectively. Lebotschy took Class B with Hopkins on top in Class C ahead of Keagan Pottas (Advanced Integrated Pest Management Alfa GTV) and Johan van Heerden. Class D went to Chris Smit (Captive Porsche 924) from Reno van Heerden and Yorick Smith (Phoenix Auto Spares Mazda MX5). Mark Kinsgmill was a comfortable winner in Class E ahead of Dalton Cohen (Togan Hygiene VW Golf) and Pieter Vermeulen (Universal Healthcare VW Polo).
The final round of both the Car Care Clinic GT Sports and Saloons and 111 Sports and Saloons championships takes place at Zwarkops Raceway on 6 & 7 November.