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Publish Date : 23/08/2005 18:58:00   Source : www.nissan.co.za


The seventh round of the Sahara Production Car Championship this weekend (August 27) marks the debut appearance of the Sasol Nissan 350Zs of former national champions Duncan Vos and Gary Formato at the Pretoria West circuit.

Nissan Motorsport general manager Glyn Hall says his team has been working hard since the last round of the championship, when Formato won his second race of the season in car number 22.

“We’re reasonably pleased with our progress thus far, but have been putting in a lot of effort to improve and add the all-important wins to our record,” says Hall. “Since the last race meeting in East London in July, the production car management committee has reduced the basic weights for the competing manufacturers and we welcome this, although we still believe we are carrying too much weight to demonstrate the 350Z’s true capability on the race track.

“The brakes, in particular, and the whole balance of the cars is significantly affected and the fact that we are normally the heaviest cars under the present rules is unfortunate.”

“The penalty weights imposed or taken off depending on the results of the qualifying sessions and the races have also been reduced and this has been welcomed by all the competitors.

“Zwartkops is a circuit that provides its own unique challenge, in the form of a very changeable track surface,” says Hall. “Although we have tested our cars there and have some useful information to help us set them up effectively, we haven’t tested in the company of our rivals in class A of the Sahara championship. So we won’t really know where we stand until we start practising together on Thursday.

“The thing with Zwartkops, which is a great circuit to drive on and has excellent spectator points and facilities, is that you can practice in the morning at a certain air and track temperature and repeat the exercise under exactly the same conditions later in the day, and you will get completely different results. This makes it difficult to achieve optimum settings.”

With four rounds of the 10-round series remaining, Formato is the best-placed of the Sasol Nissan drivers. The former V8 saloon car champion is second in the class A championship, 56 points behind reigning champion Anthony Taylor (BMW 333i), with two race wins and five top three placings to his credit.

Team-mate Vos is sixth, eight points behind fifth-placed Morne Jurgens (Alfa Romeo 147 GTA). The former Nissan Primera touring car driver has two podium finishes to his credit so far.

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