Lady Luck helps Van Rooyen bring home a victory at the last round!
The heat was definitely going to play a major role in the set up of the Cruze. This was plain to see as the sessions started on the Friday, when the majority of the teams only allowed their drivers a few laps per session in order to preserve the rubber for the times when its was actually needed. Van Rooyen topped the charts along with newly crowned champion; Graeme Nathan with the others battling in the heat.
In the warm up on Saturday only cars with issues went out and tried something new, the rest waited patiently for Qualifying. As per the whole of the season, Van Rooyen decided to take the Chevrolet Cruze out last and put in two very hot laps, pun intended, to set pole position for race one. Race two as we have seen is decided before hand and on championship points standings coming into the round and then reversed on the grid.
With his first pole in a long time Van Rooyen was ecstatic. The team was confident he would be able to convert it into a win. Lady luck also arrived, his beautiful wife Salome arrived, to surprise Michael just before the first race. It was not going to be easy and never is but at least things had taken a turn for the better on race day.
Race one’s started at 12h25, right smack bang in the most intense heat of the day, with 10 laps of action, all the strategy spoken about earlier was certainly going to be needed to fend off rivals and help the cars survive the conditions. 36 Degree ambient temperatures and track temps of 45 Degrees was not easy on any of the parts especially the tyres.
Van Rooyen got off to a great start fending off the challenges but eventually let Nathan through for the lead. A big incident early on in Class A saw outgoing champion, Michael Stephen sidelined and upon his return through the field and arriving at the battle for class T he created a situation where the new Class T champion Graeme Nathan made a small mistake allowing Van Rooyen to take the lead and Formato, Thompson and Smallberger to get ahead of him.
This is how they stayed until the flag came out giving Van Rooyen his first taste of victory in a long time. Formato did challenge a few times but was happy to settle for second as this would also give him enough points to secure second place in the championship.
So lady luck had eventually smiled on the Williams Hunt Racing team who have done so much throughout the year, this was one of the only times the entire class had completed the full race distance and with times being a full second slower than qualifying it was indicative of the conditions.
Race One Result:
1. Michael van Rooyen
2. Gary Formato
3. Lee Thompson
4. Charl Smalberger
5. Graeme Nathan
6. Mandla Mdakane
7. Shaun Duminy
Race two saw the customary grid reversal and Van Rooyen starting from fourth on the grid. It would also see an additional 5 laps added to the 10 laps from race one meaning even more conservative driving to get the machinery to the end. “Conservative Driving” in BPCC, We don’t think so; however a small mistake from the officials brought the race to its initial first restart as a problem with start line lights made the COC call for a full restart.
Mdakane lead things for the first part of the race, but was eventually demoted to the mid pack where he fought hard with Van Rooyen, Duminy and Nathan. Formato waisted no time in getting into the lead followed closely by Smallberger, who was driving for one of his best races of the season. The battle between Duminy and Nathan assisted Van Rooyen in not having to push too hard – not a bad option in order to finish the season with as little damage as possible. Despite putting in his fastest laps mid way though race 2 to try to catch Formato, Van Rooyen eventually settled for 3rd. Securing 3rd overall for the day and for the Season championship
Race 2 Result:
1. Gary Formato
2. Charl Smalberger
3. Michael van Rooyen
4. Graeme Nathan
5. Shaun Duminy
6. Mandla Mdakane
7. Lee Thompson
Even though we were fought hard for the Class T championship, despite all the bad luck the team had, it was an awesome season of racing and we would just like to thank everyone for the incredible input in 2014. To all our fans for their undying love for the brand and support for the team, we love the BOW TIE ARMY!