Mikaeel Pitamber and Michael Stephen put in a stunning drive to claim victory at the opening SA Endurance Championship after starting from the back of the grid, their Creative Ink Porsche 911 winning the exciting and unpredictable 4-Hour race by two laps after both race favorites hit trouble.

Nick Adcock/Michael Jensen (AidCall 24/7 Ligier JS53 Evo) recovered from a back-of the class start after missing qualifying to take second overall, with the Auto Investments Ligier JS 53 Evo of Riaan Botma/Jeffrey Kruger taking third after dropping to the back of the field after early technical issues.

Bucketlist Racing took a commanding one-two in the Index of Performance with Christopher Pretorius/Peter Jenkins (Volkswagen SupaPolo) claiming a remarkable fourth overall and Anthony Pretorius/Rob Clark taking fifth in their Mini.


The Adcock/Jensen Ligier missed qualifying altogether after blowing an engine in free practice, necessitating a nine-hour engine swap, leaving an uncontested pole position to Kruger and the Auto Investments team, 5.9 seconds ahead of Pitamber/Stephen’s Porsche. Tschops Sipuka planted the Into Africa Mining McLaren 650S GT3, shared with Xolile Letlaka in third, ahead of the amazing Compact Robotics/NDT Racing BMW 328i piloted by Martin Bensch/Nian du Toit.

Steve Clark/Brian Martin put their Backdraft Slingshot Lexus in fifth, ahead of the Pretorius/Jenkins Polo.


Kruger took off into the distance while Adcock had his Ligier into second place three corners into the opening lap! Pitamber was no less spectacular, slicing through the pack into third by the end of lap three.

Kruger pitted early with a mysterious loss of power, dropping to 15th place, handing Adcock the lead. After three hours, the AidCall Ligier had a two lap margin over Pitamber with the Botma/Kruger Ligier holding third after several unscheduled stops.

Lady Luck shone brightly on Pitamber and Stephen, for two of their pitstops occurred just as the safety car came out, slowing their chasing competitors.

After the sun set, a car dropped oil on the circuit, catching out both Jensen and Botma, both drivers skating into the grass. Botma got going again with minimal time lost but Jensen wasn’t as lucky as he beached the car on a berm. Four laps, and the lead were lost, opening the way for the consistent Porsche pair to take a two lap lead.

Class B honours went to the Bucketlist Polo and Mini respectively. Anthony Pretorius’s Mini had a coming together with the Barend/Harm Pretorius Backdraft, leading to retirement for the Backdraft.

Greg Thornton/Collin Ellison overcame power steering problems to claim class E honours and sixth overall in their black and gold liveried Titan Historic F1 Racing Backdraft ahead of the elated Morgenrood brothers, Benjamin and Crisjan, who finished their first endurance event in seventh position.

Xolile Letlaka/Tschops Sipuka ended eighth overall and took third in class A after an early pitstop to investigate why smoke was pouring out of the back of the McLaren. It turned out to be a fender liner rubbing on the tyre which fell off as Sipuka entered the pits. The pair drove steadily to save fuel in an attempt to make up for their unscheduled pitstop.

Baphumze Rubuluza/Fikile Holomisa’s Backdraft also developed power steering problems, but the pairing soldiered on to take ninth overall and third in class E. Tenth was the Pinard Motor Works Backdraft driven by Jaco Pienaar and Johan Nel, after Andrew Horne/Nico Roets retired their Xena Chemicals Nash-VW with wheel bearing failure.

Talking to promoter Wayne Riddell – CEO of the SAES series, he said that he was happy to bank the first round as a resounding success. He openly stated “It would be extremely naive of us to assume that nothing went wrong, as teething issues would always creep in when organising events, but I am extremely happy with my team who proudly delivered their first event. Our customers heaped praise on the new look and feel of the tour. They liked the more formal and professional approach towards the series and looked forward to the year ahead. We have our post-mortem meeting scheduled early this coming week with a view of tweaking and tidying up a few items we as a team were not happy with. These will be implemented at the next round in 6 weeks time.” He finished off by thanking the management and staff at Red Star who were extremely friendly and no task nor challenge was to big to achieve and said he looked forward to next year’s visit at the friendly circuit.

The second round of the South African Endurance Championship will be held in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) on 13 and 14 May.

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