South Africa’s largest playground, Carnival City, played to host to the sixth round of the SupaDrift National series this past weekend. Famous for having the largest playing floor in the Southern Hemisphere, Carnival City is used to high rollers coming to play the odds and the penultimate round of the 2016 season was no different.
The addition of RedBull Mazda’s Mad Mike Whiddett to the program of events brought out drifters from all the corners of South Africa, resulting in one of the largest fields we’ve seen this season.
It proved to be a high-pressure day that saw a definite shake-up in the usual running order, and in much the same way that diamonds are created, putting the drivers under pressure made for some beautiful results.
Running with the now widely accepted SuperPole system, qualifying was taken care of in no time and it yielded some surprising results. Everyone agreed that the judges had the scoring on point. Once the smoke had cleared it was revealed that we had in fact created our first Top 32 ladder this season.
- George Myburgh – GT Radial Nissan S14A
- Eric van Eyssen – The Viking Nissan S14
- Richat Kahn – Full Boost Nissan S14A
- Jim McFarlane – Achilles Tyres Nissan Z33
- Paolo Gouveia Jnr – Prepsol / Vehicle Ink Nissan RS13
- Shane Gutzeit – Dunlop / Dezzi Nissan S15
- Gavin Puren – GT Logictics Toyota JZZ30
- Adam Shefer – Nissan S14
- Fayaaz Albhai – Kingsway Racing Nissan R33
- Sean February – Dent Expert Nissan RS13
- Riaan Stokes – Dragon Energy Nissan RS13
- Rudi van den Berg – Falken Tyre Mazda FC3S
- Dez Gutzeit – Dezzi / Dunlop Nissas R34
- Mike Skelton – Rockford Fosgate Nissan Z33
- Zanil Satar – Drift Devil Nissan S15
- Fred Cooper Jnr – Cooper Drifting Nissan R33
- Clare Vale – General Tyre Ford SN95
- Zein Hussein – Kenda Tyres Nissan S14
- Brendan Puren – GT Logistics BMW E46
- Azy Raidan – Kingsway Racing Nissan S15
- JP van Der Spuy – Dragon Energy Nissan Z32
- Duriel Olsen – Olsens BMW E30
- Joey Govender – Rising Sun Nissan S15
- Chris Landsberg – C&L Race Nissan S14
- Matthew Cooper – Cooper Drifting Nissan R33
- David Rae – Nissan RS13
- Mohammed Yussuf – Cambees Midas Nissan R33
- Issufo Ussuman – Cambees Midas Nissan R33
- Fred Cooper Snr. – Cooper Drifting Nissan R33
- Theo de Wet – Cooper Drifting Nissan RS13
- Dennis Palm – Cooper Drifting / Hi Tech Mag Nissan R30
- Don Dauth – CVP Liquid Wraps Nissan RS13
After Mad Mike had completed his demo runs he joined the drivers at the post qualifying briefing and joined in the cheers as George Myburgh was announced top qualifier, but it was Eric van Eyssen who was celebrating; after two outstanding performance runs he had clinched a well deserved second place qualifier.
Returning after almost an 18 month hiatus, Falken Tyres’ Rudi van den Berg, in the only rotary powered machine on the grid, qualified in 12th proving that drifting is like riding a bicycle, you can get rusty but you don’t forget. Being the only other rotary on site, Mad Mike was naturally drawn to Rudi’s machine and left his indelible mark on Rudi’s dashboard, with a signature and message that will hopefully keep Rudi within the ranks next year.
Another driver who had a standout performance was Kingsway Racing’s Fayaaz Alibhai, qualifying in 9th,. Alibhai has progressed well this season and drove like a man possessed, wringing every ounce of horsepower out of his R33 Skyline.
The Top 32 and Top 16 tandems went by in a haze of heat, wind and smoke but as we entered the Top 8 the pressure of a long day of competition began to show with errors from the drivers creeping in, resulting in a number of OMTs.
The drivers that had made it through began making critical errors that would see their opponents progress. George Myburgh put his GT Radial LS powered S14 into the wall behind teammate Adam Shefer, while a small straight line error would see Achilles Tyres’ Jim McFarlane relegated to the pits after his bout with Paolo Gouveia.
Eric van Eyssen was on top form as he slashed his way through the field and surviving a few OMTs. He eventually beat out Dent Expert’s Sean February and then took an automatic 3rd after Adam Shefer’s clutch gave up the ghost.
Shane Gutzeit was the ninja of the day qualifying in 6th and then seeing off Mohammed Yussuf, Riaan Stokes and then Brendan Puren. He would defeat van Eyssen and find himself in the final with Paolo Gouveia.
The stage had been set for the final match up, with the highveld sun just dipping behind the Big Top Arena at Carnival City, Paolo Gouveia and Shane Gutzeit rolled into their final tandem and left it all out on track with super close quarters racing. In the end it would be Shane Gutzeit that would take the top step of the podium with Gouveia accepting a hard-earned 2nd.
1st. Shane Gutzeit – Dunlop / Dezzi Nissan Silvia S15
2nd. Paolo Gouveia – Prepsol / Vehicle Ink Nissan RS13
3rd. Eric van Eyssen – The Viking – Nissan Silvia S14
Driver of the day – Eric van Eyssen
The location of the final round, next month, will be announced soon.
Keep up to date with all the news at SADrift.co.za or Supadrift.co.za
Supadrift wishes to thank the sponsors – Achilles Tyres, Turn1 Wheels, RedBull, GoPro, Chevrolet, F1-x, Rockford Fosgate, Jonnesway Tools, Speed and Sound, Lyoness and Sun International for providing us with such an amazing venue at Carnival City.