While the year may be partially done, the South African National SupaDrift Series is only gathering momentum now. With only two rounds under the belt, the series made its first stop in KZN for 2016 this past weekend, once again visiting the picturesque landscape and the scenery that is Dezzi Raceway.
Utilizing the notorious Rollercoaster section of the circuit, drivers climbed the hill to the first right hander, prompting a blind initiation into a long double right hander before cresting the hill and making their way down through the corkscrew, into the bowl. Exiting out of the right-left combination, the drivers would face another blind right hand corner, taking them back onto the straight and into a long left before the finish line. Fast and demanding, the circuit would separate those that could, from those that were too scared to.
A total of 32 drivers went in front of the panel of judges for qualifying, hoping that one of their allotted two passes would be worth of a placement in the Top 16.
A myriad of straight line errors and spins would end the day prematurely for some while others would impress suitably. Most noteworthy was the drive from GT Logistics’ Brendan Puren in his Toyota 2JZ-GTE-powered E46 BMW who managed to secure a well-deserved 6th spot. This was also enough to see him claim the Driver Of The Day award later on for a stand-out performance.
- Shane Gutzeit – Dezzi Dunlop Nissan S15
- Wade van Zummeren – Border Towing Nissan R33
- Jim McFarlane – Achilles Tyres Nissan Z33
- George Myburgh – GT Radial Nissan S14A
- Zanil Satar (MOZ) – Gutzeit Clark Nissan R34
- Brendan Puren -GT Logistics BMW E46
- Paolo Gouveia – Prepsol Nissan RS13
- Richat Kahn (MOZ) – Fullboost Perf Nissan S14A
- Mathy Naude – Blessed CC BMW E36
- Zein Hussein – Kingsway Racing Nissan R33
- Gavin Puren – GT Logistics Toyota JZZ30
- Faheem Salie – Mikes Place Toyota A80
- Sean February – Dent Expert Nissan RS13
- JP vd Spuy – Dragon Energy Nissan Z32
- Joey Govender – Autozone Nissan RS13
- Vic Pardal – Southside Crew BMW E36
While some Top 16 battles were easily decided with severe straight line errors and spins, a handful of the tussles would come down to a single point.
Such was the case with the battle between brothers Brendan and Gavin Puren, with Brendan emerging victorious. It was a similar story with Paolo Gouveia’s first round battle against Zein Hussein. It was Hussein that narrowly pipped Gouveia to secure a spot in the final 8.
Mathys Naude and Richat Kahn were sent back to the start line twice. A strong conviction from Kahn in their final battle had him claim the win and a spot in the final 8, where he would face top qualifier, Shane Gutzeit.
Unfortunately, Kahn was unable to rejoin after his struggle with Naude and this gave Gutzeit an easy passage into the final 4.
Hussein and van Zummeren held each other to a tight result with the judges calling for an OMT (One More Time) but a damaged Skyline for van Zummeren ended his day in the quarter finals. Hussein was thus awarded the semifinals spot by way of retirement.
In the semifinals, Gutzeit found himself paired with Myburgh in the LS-powered Silvia S14A. The first pass saw Myburgh run wide and clip the first rear clipping point, rendering him a zero score for the pass. Myburgh called for a 5-min time out to effect repairs on the Silvia but was unable to do so within the allotted time. Gutzeit would find himself in the finals after only one pass.
Hussein would be paired against Jim McFarlane who, admittedly, had more than just a rough day. After a coming together with Gavin Puren in practice, McFarlane’s team worked furiously to rebuild the steering system on the LS-powered Nissan 350Z in time for qualifying. Success was had as Hussein would spin out in their first pass, placing McFarlane in a good position for the battle win.
McFarlane’s luck changed and was able to defeat Hussein, securing himself a spot in the finals alongside Gutzeit.
The final turned out the way a final should with pin-point precision from both drivers and an angry charge. Of the best runs of the day transpired and in a graceful display of car control, the two drivers fought it out clean and fair.
While tight and devoid of mistakes, it was easy enough to call a winner with McFarlane demonstrating a more controlled aggression and desire to win with closer proximity to Gutzeit. If drifting were ever to come down to a photo finish, this run would be the prime example. McFarlane was awarded the win and Gutzeit would have to settle for second spot at his home venue. Third was taken by Zein Hussein and Driver Of The Day by Brendan Puren.
The SupaDrift Series is proudly supported by Achilles Tyres, Turn 1 Wheels, Greensky.co.za, Speed and Sound Magazine, Chevrolet, Liqui-Moly, Red Bull, GoPro, Jonnesway tools and Lyoness.