Championship Wide Open as the SAES Moves to Aldo Scribante for Round 3

Ladies and gentlemen, motorsport enthusiasts, and adrenaline junkies, brace yourselves as the Southern African Endurance Series (SAES) Championship returns for Round 3 at the iconic Aldo Scribante circuit in Gqeberha. The Celso Scribante Memorial 5 Hours is set to be a thrilling blend of high-speed action, strategic pit stops, and the kind of drama that only endurance racing can deliver.

With the championship wide open, every point is crucial as teams race through the sunset and into the night on June 1. Current log leaders, the Pple Group/Adapt Signage team of Phillip Meyer, Dean Wolson, and Mark Harvey, have had a nearly flawless run in their Backdraft Roadster V8, amassing 71 points. Hot on their heels with 60 points are Trevor Graham and Dan Hirsch, also in a Backdraft Roadster. The absence of Setshaba Mashego, who sits in second place with 62 points, opens up the field even more.

The SAES is a driver’s championship, meaning each team member scores points overall and in their respective classes. And to add a spicy twist, each driver must drop their worst score from one of the six rounds at the season's end—but only from races they've actually started. Miss a race, and you're stuck with a zero.

Notably, the Promigen Audi team (Paul Hill/Bradley Liebenberg) and the Slingshot Backdraft team (Mike McLoughlin/Steve Clark) have both had their share of bad luck, failing to finish at Zwartkops and Red Star Raceway, respectively. Fortunately, they can drop these poor results, keeping their championship hopes alive.

Last year’s 4-hour race at Aldo Scribante saw a nail-biting finish, with the Into Africa team (Xolile Letlaka/Stuart White) narrowly beating the Stradale Mercedes-Benz duo (Charl Arangies/Arnold Neveling). The fastest lap was a blistering 57:041 by White, setting a high benchmark for this year's 5-hour endurance test.

Phillip Meyer is confident but cautious about the Aldo Scribante challenge, especially with the afternoon sun creating a blinding obstacle at Chevy Corner. However, he expects the well-lit track to offer fewer challenges after dark.

Nick Adcock and Charl Visser will be back in their Mustang-engine Adjust4Sleep/Rico Barlow Racing Nova Proto, with local ace Michael Stephen joining as the third driver. Their rivals, White and Letlaka in the Into Africa Racing Lamborghini, are eager to reclaim victory after their triumph last year.

The BBR Racing Porsche trio of Hein and Henk Lategan with Verrisimo Tavares, currently lying 16th, are desperate for a points haul after missing the last event. The Class A competition gets spicier with a second Audi entry from MJR Motorsport (Marius Jackson/Joseph Ellerine) and the Spheremotorsport Toyota (Sergio Alvares/Paul del Re/Marco da Cunha).

In Class B, the Giannoccaro brothers with Ant Blunden in the G&H Transport/Sajco Audi will face off against the Pitamber duo in their Backdraft. Class C sees a solo run for the Kalex VW Golf of Karah Hill and Jurie Swart, while Class D is uncontested with the Korridas VW Golf from Mozambique.

Backdraft Roadsters dominate Class E, with nine cars set to compete, including Lonika Maartens, who will be partnering with Boeta Aucamp. Watch out for the fierce competition between former teammates and other strong challengers.

The Super Vee series, the official support racing series for SAES, promises close racing with 14 identical single-seaters. Jeandre le Roux aims to dethrone his teammate Lushen Ramchander, but Blane de Meillon and Allen Meyer will have their say.

Racegoers can expect a full day of entertainment with a complete race card of Eastern Cape Regional classes. So, mark your calendars for June 1 and head to Aldo Scribante for a day of high-octane thrills and spills.

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