Sunday, 16 August 2009


It was a good day at the races for SAM Racing on Saturday with former national production car champion Leeroy Poulter (Nissan Dealer Team GP Windscreens Nissan 350Z) emerging overall winner for the day in round six of the Bridgestone Production Car Championship and Paulo da Cunha taking fourth overall in the Formula Volkswagen Championship in the Tubular/Exa Motor Group car.

Poulter, who qualified his Nissan fifth on the grid for race one on Saturday morning at the Zwartkops Raceway west of Pretoria, finished fifth overall in a processional race won by Melvill Priest (Audi A4 quattro) from Michael Stephen (Audi Quattro). Team-mate Marco da Cunha in the Tubular-backed Nissan 350Z finished ninth and just out of the points after being relegated to the back of the grid as a result of his incident with Robert Wolk (BMW 330i) in the previous round at Kyalami.

Starting from fourth place on the inverted grid for race two, Poulter pushed championship leader Johan Fourie (Audi Quattro) for second place for 13 of the 15 laps of the 2.4-km Zwartkops circuit, . On the penultimate lap he got a good run on the Audi driver going up the hill to the Table Top and squeezed past between turns five and six, holding on to take a hard-earned second place at the chequered flag behind race winner Anthony Taylor (BMW 330i) and 0.8 sec ahead of Fourie. He scored a valuable bonus point for fastest lap of the race.

Da Cunha again started from the back of the Class A grid and steadily worked his way up to a points-scoring fifth overall at the finish. Considering his disadvantageous grid positions, he did well to take sixth overall for the day.

With three rounds of the championship remaining, there are just 10 points separating first from fourth in the class A title chase, with Taylor regaining the lead from Fourie by just two points (80 to 78) and Poulter – who was the biggest points scorer of the day – closing to within nine points of Taylor. Da Cunha remains in eighth place with 28 points.

Poulter: “I was disappointed with our pace in race one, but it all came right in race two. Johan made it very difficult for me to get past and I had to work really hard to set myself up for the eventual pass. It was a good dice and I’m very pleased to have got an overall first for the day for the team. We put a lot of effort into preparing for today’s races and it paid off.”

Paulo da Cunha, Marco’s younger brother, scored his second podium finish of the year with a fine third in the first 15-lap Formula Volkswagen race from sixth on the grid. He followed this up with sixth in race two after starting seventh in the Tubular FVW. Both races were won by Jayde Kruger, from Jimmy Auby and Da Cunha in race one and Simon Moss and Auby in race two. Kruger leads the championship with 84 points and Da Cunha is eighth on 32 points.

The next rounds are at Phakisa Freeway in the Free State on September 5.

* STORY: Peter Burroughes Communications

* PICTURES: QuickPic