Interprovincial battle lines drawn for second Mopar African Endurance round

Cape Town’s 14 May Mopar African Endurance 3 Hour is set to deliver an interprovincial war like never before as teams from across the country converge on Cape Town to do battle in the shadow of Table Mountain.

And while they will no doubt keep an eye on their upcountry rivals, the tightest battle of all is likely be among local favourites as the current championship leading Nick Adcock/Simon Murray Rico Barlow Racing/Aid Call 24/7 Ligier JS49 fights it out with Adcock’s former teammates Francis Carruthers and Johan Engelbrecht in last year’s championship winning Harp Motorsport Malta No. 1 Juno SS3.

Adcock and Carruthers drove the Juno to double victories at last year’s Cape 3-hour and together with Engelbrecht in the Killarney 9-hour to wrap up the title, but Adcock has since defected to the rival Cape-based Ligier equipe, so local rivalry will be intense. Those two teams will however have far more than just each other to worry about, with a scintillating field of prototypes headed to the Cape from across South Africa and all of them fully intent to unseat the locals at their home circuit.

Heading down from Durban are super-quick Scribante siblings Franco and Silvio and their immaculate Scuderia Scribante Chevron B26 V8, while another team of brothers looking for Killarney redemption are Jason and Keegan Campos and their Shelby Can Am V8. The Campos boys turned in a staggering lap to put the Shelby on pole for the 9-hour and they will be keen to convert that into a race win this time around, while the Scribantes will want to turn their race-leading Mopar Free State 6-hour speed into a Killarney race win.

Several other notable prototype entries can be expected to to do battle at the sharp end of the grid including Colin Plit’s Tricera Investments Juno SS3 and a trio of Fantastic Racing Shelby Can-Am Nissans including an AidCall 24/7 entry for Mopar Endurance regular Mike Verrier and Wayne Jardine and two others in the hands of Mike Jensen, Mark Lauth and Johan Steenberg.

Former Porsche pilot Stefan Puschavez and Peter Jenkins step up to an MJ Equipment Nardini GT, Eric Salomon and John Amm share the Lotus 23-like Salomon Elf S06 and a trio of Lotus 7s are entered for Schafer Racing’s Rod Schafer and Colin Thorne, a Heidelberg Propshaft version for Hennie Trollip and Dave Sinclair and Neil McLeod and Andreas Letnik’s Just Racing machine should and all be up to good results.

There will also be a most interesting duel for GT honours with local Cape duo Craig Jarvis and Marcel Angel keen on home glory in the monster Panacea Dodge Viper GT3, but they will first have to overcome the likes of Jo’burg visitors Charl and Harry Aranges’ Stradale Lamborghini Gallardo GT3; Keith and Gary Fourie and William D Luzmore’s Porsche 911 GT3; Tato Carello and Rui Campos’ most interesting BMW M3 GT, local rivals Dave Alhadeff and Arnold Lambert in a PP Racing Panoz Esparante and the Mike Altona/Steve Pickering Porsche 910.

Last and certainly not least are the saloon car entries, where a tin-topped battle can be expected for honours between Jozi crew Theo van Vuuren, Bradley Scorer and Chad Wentzel aboard the Mopar Alfa Romeo GT; Ian Howden, Richard Robertson and Rowan Whyte who also travel down from Johannesburg with their ex-production car champion Bucket List BMW 335i and Durbanites Steve Truter and Wayne Lotter’s Sasolburg Autobody BMW M3.

One thing the Mopar African Endurance Series has always proven is that one should least ignore the slowest entries — they tend to run reliably and quickly and are almost guaranteed to be right there the end. On that note, take heed of local crews Peet van Der Walt and Gavin Cerff’s giant-killing PSW Sport VW Golf 1, the Ford Escorts of Lambert Racing trio Dewalt Lambert, Martin Wentzel and Jonathan Gunn and Jaco Lambert, Vance Kearney and Pat Gromley’s UKP entry and Divan Wentzel, Jason Thornton and Barry Williams’ Claude’s Auto Opel Corsa.

“We are delighted with the highest quality entry received for the Mopar Cape 3-hour,” Mopar African Endurance chief Roger Pearce confirmed. “We expect a fierce battle up front — some of the quicker cars have been less than reliable in recent races leaving the old foxes to win — let’s see if that can change this weekend.

“There’s also the most interesting prospect of a varied and competitive GT field, while the tin-tops can be expected to surprise — it’s going to be a great race, whatever the result.”

The second of six 2016 Mopar African Endurance series races, the Mopar Cape 3 Hour runs at the end of Killarney’s regular spectacular 14 May Wingfield Power Series meeting featuring GTI Challenge, Sport Clubmans, Historic and motorcycle races in a full and varied program for a complete day’s racing entertainment.

Long-term weather forecasts promise a perfect Cape Autumn’s day, so with a tentative start time 17h00 start time and three hours of interprovincial racing warfare through a splendid sunset toward an 8pm finish in the dark, Killarney may well be the best way to spend your Saturday evening. See you there!

Foto – Car 3: The championship-leading Ligier team wants another win in the Mopar Cape 3-hour 14 May. Image – Heinrich Sauer