The Dezzi Racetrack in KwaZulu-Natal is infamous for its bends, in particular, the dramatic changes in elevation that challenge traction. And that’s where round three of the series took place last weekend.
The layout goes like this. Drivers climb a hill to the first right-hander, prompting a blind initiation into a long double right-hander before cresting the hill and making their way down through a corkscrew, into the bowl. Exiting out of a right-left combination, the drivers face another blind right-hand corner, taking them back onto the straight and into a long left before the finish line.
It’s fast, it’s demanding, the circuit separates those that can from those who are too scared.
A total of 32 drivers went in front of the panel of judges for qualifying, hoping that one of their allotted two passes would be worth a placement in the Top 16.
A myriad of straight line errors and spins would end the day for some while others would impress. Most noteworthy was the drive from GT Logistics’ Brendan Puren in his Toyota 2JZ-GTE-powered E46 BMW who managed to secure a well-deserved sixth spot.
This was also enough to see him claim the Driver Of The Day award later on for a stand-out performance.
In the semifinals, Shane Gutzeit found himself paired with George Myburgh in the LS-powered Silvia S14A. Myburgh touched the first rear clipping point, rendering him a zero score for the pass, plus he was unable to make repairs within the allotted time, and Gutzeit found himself in the finals after only one pass.
Zein Hussein was paired against Jim McFarlane, who took the tussle in a close one.
The final turned out the way a final should with pin-point precision from both drivers and an angry charge.
Of the best runs of the day transpired and McFarlane and Gutzeit fought it out clean and fair.
While tight and devoid of mistakes, it was easy enough to call a winner with McFarlane demonstrating a more controlled aggression and desire to win with closer proximity to Gutzeit.
If drifting were ever to come down to a photo finish, this run would be the prime example. McFarlane was awarded the win and Gutzeit would have to settle for second spot at his home venue. Third was taken by Zein Hussein.