Father and son duo Marcel and Dayne Angel powered their Autohaus Angel Ferrari 458 GT3 to a convincing victory at the final round of the 2018 South African Endurance Series on Saturday, 27 October. At the end of four hours of racing around the spectacular East London Grand Prix Circuit, the Capetonians had a 6-lap advantage over James Forbes and Fritz Kleynhans (Comenius Ligier-Honda JS53 EVO) with Nick Adcock and Michael Jensen (AidCall247 with Rico Barlow Racing Ligier-Honda JS53 Evo) coming home in third place, three laps further back, which was enough to give them the 2018 South African National Endurance Series title.
Friday afternoon’s qualifying session threw up a few surprises with the Angels taking pole position from Charl Arangies and Kishoor Pitamber (Stradale Motorsport Lamborghini) with Adcock and Jensen in third. James Forbes and Fritz Kleynhans (Comenius Ligier-Honda JS53 EVO) occupied fourth on the grid ahead of Craig Jarvis and Stuart White who could only manage fifth in their Maui Motorhomes Ginetta G57 after battling with braking issues all day. Bradley Scorer and Theo van Vuuren were the quickest of the saloon car brigade, putting their Arnold Chatz Cars Racing Alfa Romeo Giulietta in sixth place on the grid. Simon Murray and Gavin Cronje, who were expected to be at the at the head of the field, suffered a wheel bearing failure early in the day which brought a premature end to their race weekend.
Dayne Angel led the way in the early stages of the race until an off-track excursion forced him into the pits to have the grass that was blocking the cooling ducts at the front of the car removed. This dropped him down to second behind Jarvis in the Ginetta, but still just ahead of Adcock who was at the wheel of the AidCall247 Ligier.
Charl Arangies, who had to start from pit lane in the Stradale Motorsport BMW Z4 after the Lamborghini he used in qualifying broke an engine mount, worked his way into the top five before problems with the left front brake calliper brought an early end to his race and any chance of remaining in third place in the championship standings. Shortly after the 30-minute mark, Adcock moved into second ahead of Angel, to make the top five Jarvis, Adcock, Angel, Kleynhans and Trevor Frost who was at the wheel of the Strocam Mining Ligier-Honda JS49 he was sharing with Shannon Frost. Jarvis was the first of the leaders to pit, handing over to White just over an hour into the race with Adcock coming into the pits for a quick refuel stop while the circuit was under a yellow flag situation as White re-joined the circuit.
White then built up a substantial lead, setting a series of fastest laps, before having to pit shortly before the two-hour mark when the gearbox oil started boiling. By the time he made it back out, he had dropped to fourth behind Adcock, Marcel Angel who had taken over the driving duties from Dayne and Forbes who was now behind the wheel of the Comenius Ligier. Bruce Avern-Taplin was the leading GT5 contender in the Bataleur Motorsport Backdraft BDR4000. He was running in fifth ahead of Scorer who was leading the saloon car challenge before he pitted. Unfortunately for White, his return to the track was short lived and he brought the car back into the pits and retirement.
When Adcock handed over to Jensen, the Ligier emerged in the lead but only a few seconds ahead of the Angel’s Ferrari. Marcel Angel slowly hunted him down, closing the gap and then moving into the lead with an hour and 45 minutes left to run. After two-and-a-half hours Angel had completed a hundred laps around the 3.9km circuit and still led the way from Jensen and Forbes with Avern-Taplin, Dave Sinclair (Team Lessons Elf S06) and Scorer completing the top six.
With an hour to go Angel was just over a lap ahead of Jensen with Forbes 6 laps further back, although Angel didn’t have enough fuel onboard to make it to the end and pitted shortly afterwards while the Ligier also had to pit to repair the brackets on the front splitter, which allowed Forbes through into second. Forty minutes later Angel had a six-lap lead over Forbes with Jensen three laps further back in third. Avern-Taplin remained in fourth with Scorer moving up to fifth ahead of Brian Martin (Backdraft Racing BDR4000) after Dave Sinclair retired his Elf with a seized front wheel bearing. A late drive-through penalty for Forbes didn’t affect the overall results and that is how they finished 20 minutes later.
In the overall championship standings, Adcock and Jensen claimed the 2018 title by just two points from Marcel and Dayne Angel. Forbes and Kleynhans were next up ahead of Scorer and van Vuuren with Graham and Martin 10 points further back. Despite not being able to start the race after their Lamborghini broke an engine mounting, Charl Arangies and Kishoor Pitamber remained in the top twelve in the overall standings behind Graham and Martin.
Scorer and van Vuuren again topped the Index of Performance results, their fourth victory of the season. Schmidt and Avern-Taplin finished in second with the Angels joining them on the podium. With four wins in five races, Scorer and van Vuuren scooped the Index of Performance championship with Adcock and Jensen, and Marcel and Dayne Angel in a four-way tie 13 points behind them.