The 2016 Mopar African Endurance championship heads towards the final stretch when it visits Port Elizabeth for its penultimate round at what is sure to be a most intriguing Three Hours of the Eastern Cape at Aldo Scribante. Despite Simon Murray having won three of the first four races in the Rico Barlow Racing/Aid Call 24/7 Ligier JS49, the championship remains very much up for grabs.
Murray is the only driver to have driven the ultra-reliable Ligier in all three races so far, having shared the 2-litre sports racer with both Nick Adcock in three of the races and with Gavin Cronje in two. But while Cape Town duo Francis Carruthers and Johan Engelbrecht have played second fiddle in most of the rounds except East London, which they won, the Harp Motorsport Malta No. 1 Juno SS3 pair remains very much in the title chase, with Francis and Johan just 7 points adrift of Murray in the championship log.
Ligier regular Nick Adcock is fourth in the championship race, just three points behind the Juno pair, so there’s double motivation for he and Murray to win a fourth race of the season at Aldo Scribante and see its lead drivers on top of the title chase, but there’s a significant championship wildcard at play in the Ecurie Zoo Vos brothers, Duncan and Graham’s Juno ready, willing and most able to sock it to both its championship leading rivals.
Don’t discount the Vos boys in the title chase either – they may have been forced to sit half of the series out, but they have scored well enough in the two races they did compete in to remain mathematically within reach of the overall title and a plausible threat for second overall, so there’s another intriguing African Endurance championship curve ball.
The overall African Endurance Championship Index of Performance championship is another close-fought affair, which albeit led by Ligier pilot Murray by ten points from teammate Adccock, that chase remains wide open too, with BMW M3 duo Wayne Lotter and Steve Truter just a point adrift of Murray, They in turn sit just one point clear of giant-killing VW Golf duo Dewald Brummer and Bevan Williams, with Gavin Cronje next up in the Index log, just clear of Juno duo Carruthers and Engelbrecht.
The Port Elizabeth 3 Hour should also progress the various African Endurance class battles, where Ligier trio Murray, Adcock and Cronje are out front in the 2-litre sports racing car class S, Juno duo Carruthers and Engelbrecht head the Vos brothers and Porsche 910 pair Mike Altona and Steve Pickering in the 3-litre class R. Elf trio Gavin Gorman, Eric Salamon, and Dave Sinclair lead the baby 1600cc Class T.
In the GT classes, Panoz duo Dave Alhardeff and Arnold Lambert lead the open Class U, Charl and Harry Aranges’ Ferrari heads Porsche trio Freddie de Kock, Justin Mathie and Gary Sheratt in the 5-litre Class V and Stef Puschavez and Peter Jenkins’ Porsche controls the 3-litre Class W. Rod Schafer’s Lotus 7 leads the 2-litre Class X, while Birkin Seven pair Andreas Letnick and Neil McLeod are ahead in the 1600cc Class Y.
Things are close in the tin-top championships too, with BMW crews Wayne Lotter/Steve Truter and Ian Howden/Richard Robinson tied on top of the 5-litre Class I, VW Golf trio Dewald Brummer/Bevan Williams and Adrian Dalton tussling over the 2-litre Class G, Mike Schmidt and Bruce Avern-Taplin’s Toyota in charge of the 1.6-litre Class F and Renault pair Neil Hagerman and Gary Schultz ahead in the 1300cc Class E.
Either way, if you are in the Bay or anywhere near Port Elizabeth Saturday 15 October, why not diarise Aldo Scribante’s Mopar African Endurance Series Three Hour now and head to the track for three hours of intrigue starting 17h00, following a good day of racing including Sports and GT and local regional car and bike classes.