This his coming weekend, Saturday the 15th of September the popular Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series will take to the iconic Phakisa Freeway track in round 6 of their championship. They will be part of a combined Extreme Festival and Inland Championship racing event that will host a multitude of racing categories on the day including the popular Phakisa 200 race at the end of the day. With the championship taking on a new shape after the Zwartkops race it is expected the racing will be as hard as ever.
Antonie Marx (BMW E46 M3), has now emerged as the overall championship leader but three points ahead of Alan Hilligenn (BMW E36 328i). After a spate of bad luck Paulo Loureiro (BMW E36 M3 GTS) slipped down to third spot only a further three points adrift. Fourth placed man, Warren Dodd (BMW E90 330i) might be out of contention for this round after his race two opening lap ordeal at the Zwartkops round which left him with a severely damaged car. That leaves several other competitors within ten points of him fighting for that fourth spot in the overall championship table.
After breaking out of class, David Coetzee (BMW E36 328i Turbo) took the lead in the Class T battle with nearest rival Dino Fameliaris (BMW E36 M3 Turbo) apparently not entered for this round. This means he might be unchallenged to make inroads on the overall championship leaders unless there is a surprise late entry.
Paulo Loureiro is expected to lead the class B battle but can expect a mammoth onslaught from the likes of Oz Biagioni (BMW E46 M3) and Jan Eversteyn (BMW E46 M3) tied on points in second. Just a point behind is Willie Erasmus (BMW E46 M3 GTR) that can simply never be discounted. To complicate matters even further is brother Rick Loureiro (BMW E30 325is) that has proven himself worthy to challenge for the win in a car that is now sorted and reliable.
Marx might be sitting pretty with an eighteen-point lead in class C but can expect a strong challenge from the likes of Len-Henry Gobey (BMW Z4M), father and son duo, Mike (BMW E39 M5) and Shane Grobler (BMW E36 M3) and Jimmy Tsimenoglou (BMW E36 M3). With a handful other competitors there might even be a surprise emerging amongst the podium finishers.
Also delivering some of the closest racing this season is the class D brat pack. Hilligenn will have his hands full defending his lead in class against the likes of season rookie Nek Makris (BMW E46 328i Turbo), Troy Cochran (BMW E46 330ti) and Morgan Long (BMW E46 330i). Making a welcome return with an upgraded car is Jonathan Matos (BMW E36 328i Turbo) very likely to throw a spanner in the works for the podium aspirations of the others.
BMW Car Club Gauteng committee members Varish Ganpath (BMW E46 325i Touring) and Bernard De Gouveia (BMW E36 328i) will have another turn in the Bridgestone Club Car battle this weekend as well. Apart from outings in time trials in the past this will be their first time to race in true fashion on this excitingly fast Grand Prix track.
Championship Table – Top 5 in Class
|Class T||Class B|
|1||David Coetzee||BMW E36 328i Turbo||56||1||Paulo Loureiro||BMW E36 M3 GTS||63|
|2||Dino Fameliaris||BMW E36 M3 Turbo||32||2||Oz Biagioni||BMW E46 M3||54|
|3||Kashen Naicker||BMW E90 335i||20||3||Jan Eversteyn||BMW E46 M3||54|
|4||Julian Fameliaris||BMW E36 328i Turbo||12||4||Willie Erasmus||BMW E46 M3 GTR||53|
|5||Lorenzo Gualtieri||BMW F30 335i||12||5||Rick Loureiro||BMW E30 325is||47|
|Class C||Class D|
|1||Antonie Marx||BMW E46 M3||69||1||Alan Hilligenn||BMW E36 328i||66|
|2||Craig Ball||BMW E36 M3||51||2||Warren Dodd||BMW E90 330i||58|
|3||Neil Reynolds||BMW E36 M3||50||3||Troy Cochran||BMW E46 325ti||44|
|4||Shane Grobler||BMW E36 328i||47||4||Nek Makris||BMW E46 328i Turbo||43|
|5||Renier Smith||BMW E36 M3||45||5||Morgan Long||BMW E46 330i||30|
Qualifying is expected to take place around 09:10 with the first race for the Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series anticipated to be at 12:00. Their second race will be combined with the G&H Transport Extreme Supercars at approximately 14:35. Although it is expected that the super-fast front runners of the Extreme Supercars will be lapping the slower class cars of the BMW Series, in turn the front runners in the club is expected to mix it up with the midfield cars of the supercars. With spectator entry being free on the day Free State crowds are in for a bonus treat!
Source and images: Racepress