Durban – 15 / 16th June

The team arrived on Thursday afternoon and after last years hair raising experience were determined to make sure they knew what they were in for this time round. The best way to access the track is a track walk. By walking the track the tricky sections are easily identifiable and you can also be aware of the parts where Michael was able to push the Chevrolet Cruze. The team was very impressed with the circuit, especially how well prepared it was compared to the previous year.

Durban Topgear stadium

The Williams Hunt pits in Durban

The Williams Hunt pits in Durban

 

The weekend’s racing started on Friday with the first practice round in the morning. The Williams Hunt Chevrolet Cruze was third quickest. Michael commented that he took it easy just made sure that he kept the car in one piece because the grip on the circuit was unknown. In practice two Michael was starting to get use to the circuit and again finished with the third quickest time. The competitors were starting to get used to the track and the times were getting quicker, the two Mini’s were still quite a lot faster than the rest of the field. In the final practice for the day, the tyres were quite worn because Michael had completed a number of laps in the previous practice session so the car was not quite as quick as earlier, it was a good practice but four other cars bettered the Williams Hunt Chevy Cruze’s time towards the end of the practice, giving the team the 5th quickest time in the final practice.

The Williams Hunt chevy cruze machine in qualifying

The Williams Hunt chevy cruze machine in qualifying

The Williams Hunt chevy cruze machine in qualifying

 

Saturday morning dawned with an eager Williams Hunt racing team. The qualifying round was first up in the morning. Class A headed out first but on the second lap there was a huge accident in which one of the cars brake system failed and it ended up flying into the barriers on a corner. Fortunately the driver was okay escaping with a badly fractured leg. The accident and the cleaning of the track unfortunately took up all the time available for the qualifying rounds. Class T never had a chance to get out on the track. Unable to run the qualifying round the race Stewards decided instead to use the third practice times from the previous day to determine the grid positions for race one, this meant the Chevrolet Cruze was to start from fifth position. The eight lap race came and went without any drama or very much action. Michael finished the race in exactly the same position as he started, fifth. The team was happy to have finished fairly close to the current series leader, a Golf, not having to really push too hard. With passing opportunities being very few and difficult and the fact that no one made any mistakes made it certainly look tough to get on to the podium.

The Williams Hunt chevrolet cruze machine

The Williams Hunt chevrolet cruze machine

The Williams Hunt chevrolet cruze machine

 

Sunday being “Fathers day” the teams father, “Oom Naas”, informed Michael he expected a podium finish as his fathers day gift. The final race of the weekend rolled on to the start line with the grid positions determined by fastest lap set in race one, unfortunately the Cruze did not post a very fast lap and had to start from sixth. Within the first four laps two incidents occurred resulting in the safety cars being deployed. When the race finally got properly underway the Chevrolet Cruze was able to put some pressure on the two cars in front of him, a Ford and a Golf. The race was on and as the three cars entered the hairpin at the pits the Ford and the Golf touched and both cars went wide into the turn allowing Michael to sneak passed. Unfortunately by then the Mini’s and an other Golf had built up a substantial a lead. The one Mini slowed with an engine problem and the Williams Hunt Chevrolet Cruze was able to take third where he stayed, finishing behind a Mini and a Golf. Fortunately getting Oom Naas his podium finish.

The Williams Hunt Chevrolet Cruze machine

The Williams Hunt Chevrolet Cruze machine

Michael with the Topgear Trophy

 

The series now heads to Phakisa, Welkom on the 3rd of August.
See you there!