For the second year in succession, the Minardi F1x2 Team staged a pair of thrilling demonstration races in front of an enthusiastic, sell-out crowd at today’s Altech South African Grand Prix. In near-perfect weather conditions, the drivers and their passengers contested two 10-lap events as part of Sunday’s programme at the famous Kyalami circuit, near Johannesburg.
It was Belgian drivers to the fore in the first race, with Bas Leinders and passenger, Robert Wray, taking the chequered flag in front of fellow countyryman, David Saelens, and Graham Johnson, with Johnny Herbert and Sasha Martinengo taking the final podium spot. The only casualty of the race was Gianni Morbidelli, who spun at Sunset Corner, thus ensuring his passenger, Gary Formato, a never-to-be forgotten moment.
The second race saw Florida’s Ryan Hunter-Reay lead impressively from start to finish, but the Champ Car driver was penalised at the end of the race for not making his mandatory pit stop. This elevated the irrepressible Herbert and passenger, Fred Coetzer, into first place. Alan van der Merwe and Sarah Jane Trutter claimed second, with Patrick Friesacher and Nick Williamson taking the final podium spot. There were two retirements, the car of David Saelens and Linda Bam pulling out on the third lap with an electronics problem, and Zsolt Baumgartner and passenger, Claudio Piazza Musso, spinning out of the race at Tabletop Corner.
“We had a great start and were up to third by the end of the first lap, and then we overtook Matteo (Bobbi) and pushed hard to the pit stop. David (Saelens) was ahead of us after the stop, but we managed to pass him before the chequered flag and score a great victory here in South Africa. It’s been a lot of fun, but best of all, it’s been for a good cause.”
“We mustn’t forget that, first and foremost, all the F1x2 drivers are here this week to support the charities that benefit from this event. From my perspective, the nice thing about today is that my passengers in both races had good runs. We overtook several cars, so they had an opportunity to get a real sense of what it’s like when you’re racing. I had fun today, and I’m sure they did as well, so you’d have to say it’s been another successful weekend for F1x2.”
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