Dealer team Nissan 350Z second in race one and first overall for the day
It was a day of ups and downs for Nissan Motorsport on Saturday with disappointment in qualifying and race one offset to some extent by a podium finish in race two. The Nissan Dealer Team had another good day with a second and a fourth in the day's two Kyalami races.
Leeroy Poulter qualified second on Friday despite only completing one timed lap before an over-zealous marshal insisted on doing a sound check on the Nissan, preventing the 2006 champion from completing any more laps. He crashed in Saturday's warm-up, managing to spin the car backwards into a tyre wall when a brake caliper bolt broke.
Hard work by his pit crew saw the car ready for race one, but the unfortunate Poulter then pulled off the circuit after the Esses on the warm-up lap when the engine cut out. The battery had become dislodged in the morning's warm-up accident and by the time Poulter had identified and fixed the problem he was already a lap in arrears. He pitted during a safety car period for fresh tyres and eventually finished 11th, but with the consolation of scoring a championship point for fastest lap of the race.
"I was pretty sure I could have got pole position on Friday after our good showing in the three official practice sessions," said Poulter. "We didn't have much luck this weekend, but I have to thank my team for getting my car ready for the first race after this morning's crash."
Team-mate Tschops Sipuka also endured a hard day at the office. He struggled with the set-up of his car all weekend and was disappointed with ninth place in race one after starting from the pit lane (a penalty imposed for his clash in the previous round in East London). "I had a lot of understeer and the car just wasn't as good as it was in EL," said Sipuka.
Marco da Cunha who drove the Nissan Dealer Team's two Tubular-backed 350Zs had a good day, qualifying third on Friday (his best result of the season so far) and finished second in race one. He was in the points again in race two, scoring a well-earned fourth from seventh on the grid. This gave him and his team a memorable first overall for the day.