BMW emerged the dominant force in the final round of the Bridgestone South African Production Car Championship at Kyalami on Saturday with wins in each of the day’s three class A races for the BMW 335i M Performance Parts cars of former champions Etienne van der Linde and Johan Fourie.
It was a fitting season’s finale for the Afrox and Pirtek-sponsored team as it marked the end of a successful six-year partnership between Afrox and BMW that included a class A championship in 2010 and top-three finishes in the last five years.
Van der Linde cemented his second place in the class A championship with convincing wins in races two and three after finishing fifth in the opening six-lap sprint race, taking his total victories for the season to five, and was the overall winner on the day.
Fourie won the first race to take his tally of victories to five in his first season with the team. He was third overall for the day after finishing fifth in the second six-lap sprint race and fifth again in the 12-lap feature race.
“It’s been a good season for the team and we were once again in the running for the championship right down to the last race,” said team principal Donovan van Heerden. “The BMW 335i has been very strong and we have dominated at some circuits, but had to give second best to some of our rivals at others that didn’t suit is so well. We fell just short at the end, but overall we’re satisfied we gave a good account of ourselves.
“Both drivers have done a great job and enjoyed their share of winning and together have scored 20 podium finishes along with their 10 victories.”
Etienne van der Linde: “This was a good way to end the season, particularly with the win in the feature race. Congratulations to Michael Stephen on winning the championship again. We gave it our best shot and kept him honest right to the end.”
Johan Fourie: “It’s been great to be part of such a professional team and I’ve really enjoyed my racing with BMW this year. We showed that we are a winning combination and next year we’ll just have to be more consistent and not miss out on the points like we did on occasion this season.”
In addition to principal sponsor Afrox, the team enjoys backing from Pirtek, BMW M Performance Parts, EPS Courier Services, Castrol, Akrapovic Exhaust Systems and BrakeQuip.