Cape Town crew Nick Adcock and Simon Murray dominated their second African Endurance race on the trot when they drove the Rico Barlow Racing/Aid Call 24/7 Ligier JS49 team in their home to an emphatic Mopar Cape 3 Hour victory on Saturday evening. Another home crew, Francis Carruthers and Johan Engelbrecht’s Harp Motorsport Malta No. 1 Juno SS3 and Johannesburg crew Theo van Vuuren and Bradley Scorer’s giant-killing and Index of Performance winning Mopar Alfa Romeo GT completed the podium of a tough race for many a crew.

The winning Ligier

Image by Reynard Gelderblom

While conditions in Cape Town were cool and breezy versus the Welkom season opener’s sizzling temperatures, the Mopar Cape 3 Hour proved a race of attrition that claimed many a significant scalp before the race even started. The Campos brothers’ Shelby-Ford V8 suffered an engine failure in practice and leafing GT contenders and the Keith and Gary Fourie and William D Luzmore’s Porsche 911 GT3 was rendered hors de combat in a sizeable Sports & GT race crash earlier in the day.

“The objective of endurance racing is to be in front at the finish,” Adcock responded to questions of the scintillating pace set by the Scribante cousins’ pole-sitting Chevron B26 V8 after qualifying Friday evening. His words proved prophetic when he and Murray played a waiting game for the opening two hours of a race that started into an incredible if fresh evening against the backdrop of Table Mountain as Franco Scribante quickly opened a 30-second gap over the chasing pack in the super-quick Chevron.

Juno duo Colin Plit/Steve Humble (Tricera Investments) and Carruthers and Johan Engelbrecht initially followed with duelling GT contenders Craig Jarvis and Marcel Angel’s spectacular Panacea Dodge Viper GT3 and Tato Carell and Lee Thompson’s Campos Sandton Auto BMW M3 GT next up ahead of the Adcock/Murray Ligier and the Shelby Can Ams of Keegan Campos/Johann Steenberg and Mark Lauth/Mike Jensen.

But Lady Luck was still having none of it, when first the Carello/Thompson BMW was handed a drive-through penalty before succumbing to a clutch failure before the Lauth/Mike Shelby suffered a wheel bearing failure and the leading Chevron took the first of a series of stops to try cure and ultimately terminal gear selection glitch as darkness set in. That left the Plit-Humble Juno to lead the sister car of Carruthers/Engelbrecht and the Viper, with the Mopar Alfa Romeo GT up to an impressive fifth at the half-way mark.

Then the Viper endured a fiery fuel stop only to be eliminated by a gearbox problem at the two hour mark before the Juno procession up began to fade when Engelbrecht was first slowed by a stop to remedy electrical issues and then the Humble ran into throttle sensor issues to see the Ligier into the lead from Humble and the Alfa Romeo, although Engelbrecht managed to claw back to third with ten minutes to run.

That turned into second when a late drama saw the Humble Juno stop after the pit lane had closed to be rendered a non-finisher in spite of completing enough laps to have ended second, had he limped home.

The Mopar Alfa Romeo GT ended third overall and won the Index of Performance

Image by Reynard Gelderblom

All of which meant that Adcock and Murray ultimately drove the Ligier home to a comfortable ten-lap victory over the Carruthers-Engelbrecht Juno, with the Index-winning van Vuuren-Scorer Alfa Romeo just one lap further adrift. Fourth overall in another giant-killing performance were Hennie Trollip and Dave Sinclair in the Heidelberg Propshaft Lotus 7, while Dave Alhadeff and Arnold Lambert rumbled home fifth and first GT car home in the PP Racing Panoz Esparante ahead of Jaco Lambert, Vance Kearney and Pat Gromley in another giant-killing performance aboard their Ford Capri in sixth overall albeit 25 laps behind the winners.

Zimbabwean trio Ian Howden, Richard Robertson and Rowan Whyte ended seventh in the Bucket List BMW 335i ahead of Rod Schafer and Colin Thorne in a Lotus 7, Dewalt Lambert, Martin Wentzel and Jonathan Gunn in a Ford Escort, the Divan Wentzel, Jason Thornton and Barry Williams Claude’s Auto Opel Corsa in tenth, with Neil McLeod and Andreas Letnik’s Just Racing the last car running in eleventh.

Winners Nick Adcock and Simon Murray set out with a plan to finish as beat as possible and that strategy paid huge dividends — not only with a dominant Mopar Cape 6 Hour victory but to make it two wins out of two Mopar African Endurance race starts for 2016.

The Mopar African Endurance Series now heads to the third of six of its 2016 rounds at East London Grand Prix Circuit for the Border 3 Hour 23 June.

1. Nick Adcock/Simon Murray — Ligier JS49 – 103 laps
2. Francis Carruthers/Johan Engelbrecht — Juno SS3 – 10 laps
3. Theo van Vuuren/Bradley Scorer — Alfa Romeo GT – 11 laps
4. Hennie Trollip/Dave Sinclair — Lotus 7- 17 laps
5. Dave Alhadeff/Arnold Lambert — Panoz Esparante – 21 laps
6. Jaco Lambert/Vance Kearney/Pat Gromley — Ford Capri – 25 laps
7. Ian Howden/Richard Robertson/Rowan Whyte — BMW 335i – 26 laps
8. Rod Schafer/Colin Thorne — Lotus 7 – 33 laps
9. Dewalt Lambert/Martin Wentzel/Jonathan Gunn —Ford Escort – 34 laps
10. Divan Wentzel/Jason Thornton/Barry Williams — Opel Corsa – 41 laps