Gorgeous weather welcomed the SBMRL to Kyalami on race day and the drivers were eager to get going. The field took to the grid as follows:
P1 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P2 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P3 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P4 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
P5 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P6 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P7 – The Stig (SB)
P8 – Whiplash (SR)
The cars lined up, the lights went out, and off they went into the first corner, with Jaap pipping Launch around the outside. Delilah kept pace while the rest of the field followed in a tight pack through Nashua.
As the front runners wound their way through Goodyear Sweep ,there was almost nothing between Jaap, Launch, and Delilah, with the first two forcing the latter around the outside. Jaap, however, got a bit squirrelly and lost his line at Goodyear Corner, giving the Force Ravenswood pair an early 1-2. Behind them, the red liveried Scandinavian Blitz cars had worked their way in front of Bubba and Sheila, with Whiplash making similar progress.
Delilah flew down the straight to Wesbank, leaving Launch and Jaap struggling behind. As predicted, the second sector really spread out the field. Rask and Whiplash fell in line behind Jaap and Launch, with Bubba running a solitary 6th. The Stig and Sheila brought up the rear.
That was pretty much how things stayed through the pit stop cycle. Despite not pitting, Jaap wasn’t able to make up any ground on Delilah or shake Launch, both of whom opted for fresh rubber. Sheila was the only other car not to pit, but again, it didn’t do her much good in the fight with the Stig for avoiding last place.
Jaap finally found some speed around the Goodyear Sweep, catching up with Delilah and passing her in the following corner. Launch was not able to keep up. Through the same stretch, Whiplash shook free of Rask, who was now caught up by Bubba.
The third sector brought drama as the approach to Turn 7 was handled quite differently by Jaap and Delilah. Delilah went in hard, but had to slow down coming out of it. Jaap hit things a bit more smoothly, but was forced to slow down more for the final corner.
Meanwhile, Launch was struggling for grip in the second sector. Bubba was in no such ill form, charging ahead and catching up with Whiplash. The two Sprite Racing drivers battled cleanly through Wesbank, and soon had Launch firmly in their sights.
As Delilah and Jaap rounded the final bend, Delilah was able to maintain just a nose advantage over Jaap, eking out a narrow victory.
Launch was, in turn, struggling mightily in the final sector. The Force Ravenswood driver simply could not find a rhythm through the final two corners. Whiplash and Bubba, were finding the exact opposite to be true. They couldn’t have driven better. With speed aplenty, they rounded the final corner and passed Launch… who could only watch as they flew past for 3rd and 4th place.
It was Rask who took the solitary 6th place, while Sheila and the Stig were neck and neck in turn 7. The promise of a last place battle vanished as the Stig lost pace, and what little drama remained fizzled out in short order.
|Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)||3||1||1|
|Jaap Snellrijder (RM)||2||2||2|
|Bubba McQueen (SR)||4||6||4|
|Launch Bornado (FR)||1||3||5|
|Rask Sjofar (SB)||6||5||6|
|Sheila Dinkum (RM)||5||7||7|
|The Stig (SB)||7||8||8|
Delilah gets her first victory in just her 6th race. She has now stood on all 3 podium steps, meaning that she’s finished on the podium in exactly half of her races. Furthermore, she’s finished ahead of her teammate in each of the past 4 races, moving up to 3rd in the driver standings.
Jaap, who has struggled this season, records his best result of the year. Like Delilah, it’s his 3rd podium in the past 4 races, and move him up to 4th place. He also breaks a tie with the Stig for 2nd place in career podiums, where he’s now two back of Launch.
Whiplash’s recent strong form continues, as he’s now also stood on the podium in 3 of the last 4 races. His 3rd place finish, coupled with the Stig coming in last, puts him at the top of the driver standings.
Elsewhere, Launch’s promising race fell apart in the final two corners, a turn of events that has left the former champ at the back of the standings. Sheila is feeling similarly disappointed after an overall dud of a race. The Stig’s season is a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This year, he’s only finished in the top 2 or the bottom 2, nowhere in between.
At a team level, Sprite Racing now sits ahead of Scandinavian Blitz at the top of the standings. Force Ravenswood who were well back two races ago, are the other team on the move. They’ve made up enough ground to pass Regency Motors by a single point. The three time team champions will have to press strongly over the final three races, or they will finally relinquish the championship to someone else.