ILamuna Eezi 9 Hour proves another Dunlop racing point

Dunlop’s new FM800 SP Sport control tyres were the toast of a drenched ILamuna Series Eezi 9 Hour Endurance Race at the Red Star raceway near Delmas on Saturday. The series that sees crews of four drivers each sharing racing ‘lemons’ in a series of Red Star endurance races topped by an annual 24 Hour, has now also switched to Dunlop tyres.

“Dunlop is a new sponsor to the ILamuna Endurance Series,” Dunlop PR and Events manager Joanne de Freitas confirmed. “It appears that we had some very happy drivers on who were raced our FM800 control rubber for the first time on Saturday. “We’re delighted that 47 of the 52 cars that started, safely finished the race in spite of treacherous conditions.”

The conditions failed to dampen spirits as the race commenced under controlled start before a busy day of yellow flags and safety cars. The ILamuna driver universally praised their new tyres throughout a wet, wet, wet Highveld afternoon, which delivered surprises at the top of the time sheets after nine hours of ruthless racing in the toughest of conditions.

The Boetfighters’ little red and white Citi Golf may have only started eleventh and twice dropped out of the top twenty in the early running, but it was the fourth car home. The team however kept its nose clean throughout the race and avoided penalties. That paid huge dividends as the they took a shock Eezi 9 Hour victory.

Among the more fancied teams, Seat Leon crew Assiento Rapido was the easy winner on the road. But they were penalised five laps for unsafe refuelling to drop to second, a lap behind the Boetfighters. Third overall, a little yellow original ‘60s Mini called LeMini, started well down in 32nd, but a clean run saw them home third. A sanction for overtaking under the yellow flag however also cost them thew chance of a possible win.

Citi Golf number 19, Liewe Heksie started seventh, led most of the way and was either first or second throughout to come home second on the road and fourth in the final classification. Team Queen AssTina IV ‘s colourful Mazda Astina may have started 25th, but a clean run saw them up to tenth in the general classification, only to be promoted to fifth on other penalties applied. Audi A3 crew Sax & Violins Racing PTY (Ltd.) also kept out of trouble en route to eighth, which became sixth when other crews’ misdemeanours attracted penalties.

Polesitters, Blitzpatrol‘s BMW 330i was third home. But they too were slapped with a five-lap penalty for refuelling while one of the team’s drivers still sat in the car. They ended up seventh among many other tales of woe and great comebacks in the treacherous conditions. Team Kaka for instance fought for the lead, but dwindled to 17th.

Team GNT started 27th, fought into the lead at three hours, but hit trouble almost immediately. They raced gamely on to finish the race in 35th. The Monday Club endured a similar fate en route to 38th, while Petril Racing hit trouble early on but set the fastest lap pf the race en route to 27th.

In the end, 47 of the 52 cars that started, crossed the finish line in a soaked but finally drying, yet epic, fireworks charged finish. The Eezi 9 Hour ILamuna race tested teams, drivers, marshals, and officials alike and to a team, drivers seemed delighted with the series’ new Dunlop FM800 tyres that shone in spite of the most atrocious conditions.

The ILamuna endurance series is the latest arrow in Dunlop’s now comprehensive South African circuit racing bow. The series joins Dunlop’s National hierarchy of GTC, SupaCup and CompCare Polo Cup, as well as national endurance and a broad selection of top regional racing classes exclusively racing on Dunlop tyres.

“There’s no better way to prove our tyres the man in the street buys for his car on Monday, than by winning races on the Saturday,” Joanne de Freitas concludes. “The ILamuna Series is the latest to switch to our SP Sport tyres, and the weekend’s super-challenging Eezi 9 Hour race is just the latest of so many Dunlop racing successes that so well prove our racing point.”