South Coast drifters starred in the second round of the SupaDrift Series in Polokwane on Saturday.
The Limpopo air was covered in a smoke trail – not from the usual pollutants, nor from the jetwash of a passing plane but this time from the ground up, as South Africa’s best drifters took to the Polokwane Short Circuit Raceway and ‘slayed em’ tyres good.
When the smoke cleared, South Coast stars Gavin Puren (pictured) and Shane Gutzeit found themselves on the podium in second and third respectively, with Jason Webb making it back-to-back wins to start the national drifting championship.
Puren’s brother Brendan placed in the top eight, while his father Trevor secured the Pro 1 Class silverware.
The day started out as any normal Saturday morning but soon the silence was interrupted by the ensuing growls of V8 and screams of turbo-charged engines.
The drifters had arrived and soon took to the track to show off their sideways antics. Drivers practiced in the morning and in the early afternoon, the SupaDrift event qualifying started.
International drivers, like Zanil Satar, from Mozambique, showcased tenacious and stylish drifting which led him to top the qualifying standings.
Gutzeit, the 2016 South African champion, rose to the occasion in his Dunlop Nissan S15 and spelt out his ambitions for the day to qualify in second place.
Drivers then proceeded into the tandem battles; whereas, they are given a chance to lead and chase down their opponents…a Top 16 roster ensued, and drivers were attacking the technical track and leaving the crowd astonished with their skill level and all-out entertainment package – sensory overload!
Drivers battling their way into the Top 8 were the formidable Series championship contestants who all stamped down on the track to gain that little bit extra speed, angle and style in making the drift exciting and impress the local drift judges.
Satar advanced through to the great 8s (as drifters call it) with ease with a bye run; whilst Gutzeit and the likes of the championship leader, Webb, disposed of their opponents relatively quickly and with ease.
Zain Raidon, Komatipoort drifter, had to go up against local competitor Fred Cooper in the 16s and won convincingly, but was found wanting when he came up against on form and in tune Gavin Puren from Margate in the 8s.
Chris Long from the Western Cape made it difficult for Satar but failed to initiate inside of the box and gave the win to his challenger whilst Gutzeit had his hands full with Jim McFarlane but managed to sneak into the Top 4 alongside Webb and Puren.
The semi-finals was an equally brilliant showdown, with Puren going up against Satar and Gutzeit against Webb.
Puren and Satar battled hard but when Satar passed Puren in chase (against the rules) and managed to collide with the front part of Puren’s Lil Rich Toyota Soara dismantling his bumper, which stuck underneath his car, and caused him to straightline, the judges deemed Puren the winner.
Oslo Beach-based Gutzeit, similarly, hit a clipping point and knocked it over in his lead run to hand the finals spot to Webb.
The final was a testable skirmish for both Puren and Webb. Webb, though, having the upper hand and power in his car, and managing to pull a gap on Puren in the final tandem, would see him take to the top spot on the podium.
Onboard footage from Puren vs Webb:
Webb, representing Monster Energy, Ford Roush Performance, Motul and Smoke Em Garage amongst others was elated at his performance and thanked his crew and sponsors for supporting him to another win.
Runner-up Puren, who finished eighth in the opening round, told eHowzit, “The event was awesome; it was on a new track, which was pretty tricky as it was very narrow.
“It was a great feeling being on the podium again, especially with the amazing support from our fantastic sponsors, who made all of this possible for us: Lil Rich Transport, Tyremart Shelly Beach, Vano’s Parts Centre, East Coast Scratch and Dent, Sharpline Graphics, Wild Coast Sun, Durban Used Spares, Auto Collision, No Sweat Racing, Renegade Racing and William Hunt Fourways”
Gutzeit, who qualified second in the first round only to be eliminated in the top 16 due to a diff implosion, said, “We qualified second and had great battles all the way through the semi-final.
“We came up just too short on the front clip against Jason, which put me on the back foot, ultimately handing over the win…end result being third place with plenty of points in the bag!
“Lots to look forward to and all credit to my team and the hard-working sponsors who make this possible: Dunlop Tyres SA, Dezzi, Sharpline Graphics and Expand a Sign. We’re hungrier than ever and ready to chase. Time for some ‘Shaneanigans!’ See you on the 30th at Dezzi Raceway.”
The South Coast drivers will indeed look to continue their good form when Dezzi South Coast Raceway hosts the third round of the SupaDrift Series on 29-30 June.
Catch up on all the action from Polokwane at the weekend via http://www.supadrift.co.za/watch-live.html
1 Jason Webb – Monster/Roush Ford Mustang
2 Gavin Puren – Lil Rich Toyota Soara
3 Shane Gutzeit – Dunlop S15 Nissan
PRO 1 Class (beginners)
1 Trevor Puren – Puren Plant Hire, Lil Rich S14 Nissan
2 Tinashe Bundo – S13 Nissan
3 Melanie van der Merwe – Centerco S13 Nissan
Photos by Darren Townsley