2023 SHC King of the Hill – Practice 1

It may have been the opening run for King of the Hill at the 2023 Simola Hillclimb, but the action is already sizzling hot.

Fresh from his win yesterday at Classic Car Friday, reigning King of the Hill champion Andre Bezuidenhout posted the fastest time in Practice 1 (37.250 sec) in his 2007 Gould GR55, just over 3 seconds off his current record of 34.161 sec. Last year’s runner up, Robert Wolk, was second in the Infinity Indycar-engined 1989 Pillbeam MP58 on 39.319 sec with Devin Robertson third quickest in the Single Seater and Sports Protoypes category with a time of 40.828 sec in the Suzuki-powered 1992 Radical 1300 Pro Sport.

In the Modified Saloon Car category, Norwegian ace Petter Solberg proved why he is a WRC and WRX champion by completing his first-ever run up the 1.9 km Simola Hill in an astonishing 40.867 seconds in the 2018 Polo R WRX Supercar, placing him second.

He was pipped by Reghard Roets in the BB Motorsport 2014 Nissan R35 GT-R who went quickest and already smashed the 40-second barrier with a time of 39.565 seconds. This was just 1.4 seconds off Franco Scribante’s winning and record time from last year of 38.129 sec. Scribante was third on 42.691 sec in the wild time-attack inspired 2016 Nissan R35 GT-R.

In the Road-going Saloon Cars category, Clint Weston was fastest on his Simola Hillclimb debut in the 2023 Mercedes-AMG A45S (47.604 sec), ahead of Garth Mackintosh in his 2017 McLaren 720s (48.664 sec) and Gordon Nicholson (48.665 sec) in the 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus.

WRC and WRX driver Henning Solberg had his first run in the 2023 Volkswagen Golf R on 50.963 seconds. Former F1 driver, Finn Mika Salo, had a transponder issue and wasn’t allocated a time on his first run in the second Mercedes-AMG A45S entry.

Castrol Motorpress
Release compiled by Colin Mileman (082-897-6145 colin@milemanmedia.co.za)