2023 SHC King of the Hill – Qualifying 1

Single Seaters and Sports Prototypes:

The competitors went straight into the first qualifying session after lunch. Andre Bezuidenhout proved why he is the five-time King of the Hill and outright Simola Hillclimb record holder by once again dominating the proceedings, posting a time of 35.347 seconds – just 0.1 sec off his fastest practice run, but it’s a hefty 1.2 sec slower than his 2022 record (34.161 sec).

Robert Wolk was second yet again on 37.259 sec, 0.3 sec slower than his best practice time. Rui Campos slotted into third place with his fastest time of the day (40.745 sec), ahead of the Formula VW entries of Andrew Rackstraw (40.760 sec) and Byron Mitchell (41.197 sec). Devin Robertson didn’t compete in Q1 due to a broken sideshaft.

Modified Saloon Cars:

The Q1 times were also slower than the practice sessions for the tin-top racers, with Petter Solberg claiming the early advantage on 40.612 seconds in the VW Polo WRX car – 0.8 sec slower than his P3 time. However, he was quicker than Reghard Roets in this crucial session, as the Nissan driver recorded his slowest run of the day on 41.375 seconds with a wild slide coming out of turn 3, ending nearly 2.5 seconds off his fastest practice time.

Franco Scribante’s team was still busy replacing the rear propshaft on his GT-R so he didn’t go out. Pieter Zeelie also remained in the pits for Q1, giving his crew time to try sort out the balance of the car, with its extensive aerodynamic enhancements for this year causing issues with the suspension set-up. The trio of radical Van Zummeren GT-R’s were also absent from Q1.

Road-going Saloon Cars & Supercars:

JP van der Walt remains in a class of his own in the standard car category, posting an almost identical qualifying time to his fastest practice run on 44.666 sec – a difference of less than four-hundredths of a second.

Garth Mackintosh gained one up on Clint Weston for Q1, posting his fastest time yet on 45.029 sec in the McLaren 720s, 1.5 seconds quicker than the Mercedes-AMG driver. Gordon Nicholson was fourth in the Audi R8 V10 Plus (47.202 sec), followed by a trio of official BMW entries – Robert Gearing (BMW M2), Ashley Oldfield (BMW XM) and Thomas Falkiner (BMW i4 M50).

In the battle of the VW Motorsport crews in the eighth-generation Golf R entries, Daniel Rowe was fastest in eighth place overall, 0.2 sec ahead of Jonathan Mogotsi and Henning Solberg 2.2 seconds adrift – with local ace Deon Joubert separating the latter two in the latest-gen Honda Civic Type R.

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