The opening round of the 2021 Extreme Festival national racing series, run at Killarney on Saturday 20 March, delivered superb racing, spiced with all the drama the fans could wish for.

In the premier Global Touring Cars category, Michael van Rooyen and Julian van der Watt shared the first two race victories of the season while Brad Liebenberg continued to dominate the SupaCup class.

Race 1 produced a four-way battle for the lead as Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla), starting from pole, held off Michael van Rooyen (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Corolla) in the opening stages in a side-by-side battle, with Wolk’s team-mate Scott Temple and class debutant Lee Thompson (Universal Racing BMW) in hot pursuit.

Van Rooyen took the lead in mid-race to take a career first win at Killarney with Wolk a close second, while Thompson posted his maiden podium finish with Temple fourth. Further back, Julian van der Watt (Euro Performance Ford Focus) and Mandla Mdakane (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Corolla) made contact, causing the Ford driver to spin. Mdakane was fifth across the line, but a penalty applied after the race saw the pair change places.

Originally planned as a 30-minute plus one lap enduro, Race 2 was shortened to 20 minutes following delays in the programme. Van der Watt rapidly moved to the front of the field and built up a comfortable margin to take his first GTC race win.

Wolk made it two podiums for the day by finishing second while Mdakane held off Temple in a race-long tussle to take his first podium finish since joining the class in 2020. They were closely pursued over the line by Thompson while Van Rooyen completed the field.

Reigning champion Brad Liebenberg (Sparco Nathan’s Motorsport) dominated the first GTC SupaCup race to open his 2021 account with a win ahead of Volkswagen Motorsport SA works driver Jonathan Mogotsi, while Saood Variawa (SV Safaris/Varia/Mariner) held off Jason Campos (Turn 1 Insurance Campos Racing) to take a podium finish on his SupaCup debut.

They were closely followed over the line by 2020 series runner-up Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Racing), with Michael Pitamber (Toys R Us) sixth ahead of the more experienced Andre Bezuidenhout (Motul Team Perfect Circle) and Manogh Maharaj (SMD Exotics), while series debutants Nick Davidson (Stu Davidson & Sons), Dawie Joubert (Wild Rose Gin Rembrandt Racing) and Johan de Bruyn (OdorCure) completed the field.

Liebenberg completed a perfect weekend with a win in Race 2 after a race-long dice with runners-up Kruger and Mogotsi for the lead. The podium battle also included Campos who was forced to retire near the end of the race. Variawa continued his impressive debut with fourth while Pitamber held off Bezuidenhout again in the fight for fifth. Joubert, De Bruyn and Davidson all improved on their positions from Race 1 ahead of Maharaj.

The Volkswagen Polo Cup pack delivered the most dramatic moment of the day when Kwanda Mokoena made contact on the Porsche Club Straight on lap four of Race 1 and bounced off the wall back onto the track, just in time to be T-boned by Damian Hammond. The resulting destruction brought out the red flags and the race was restarted after a big clean-up.

Four laps into the restart Farhaan Basha lost it at 220km/h on the back straight, hit the wall and wound up parked sideways across the track, bringing out the red flags again. At that point the Clerk of the Course called time on the carnage and awarded the race to local hero Jurie ‘Umpie’ Swart, ahead of Leyton Fourie, Arnold Neveling and 14-year-old local rookie Tate Bishop.

Bishop led the first two laps of Race 2, but was relegated on the third tour by Swart. A lap later the youngster got it all wrong and dropped to sixth, while Swart, Clinton Bezuidenhout, Neveling, Fourie, and Dawie van der Merwe fought it out for eight cliffhanger laps, finishing in that order, all five covered by 1.264 seconds.

The Mobil 1 V8 Supercar brigade returned to Killarney after a seven-year absence with a win in Race 1 for reigning champion Mackie Adlem (Adlem Auto Jaguar XKR) after a race-long duel with Terry Wilford (Fuchs Lubricants Ford Falcon) – but he had to settle for second in Race 2 behind Thomas Reib’s Mobil 1/Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina.

Despite battling each other for the lead in the opening race, Adlem and Wilford were able to open up a gap ahead of the chasing pack. Wilford tried everything he could to get past the Jaguar in front of him, but Adlem was determined to get his quest for a fifth Mobil 1 V8 Supercars championship title off to the best possible start and held the position to take a narrow win.

Behind them, Franco di Matteo (Deltec Batteries Jaguar XKR) held off Reib to take the final podium position. Warren Lombard (Pepboys Automotive/Pace Car Rentals Ford Falcon) completed a lonely run to fifth with David Coetzee (ELKSA Competition/Adlem Auto Ford Falcon) sixth.

Bevan Schwarz (Alco Trucks Chevrolet Corvette) and Finnish driver Sam Dahl (Ford Falcon) came home seventh and eighth respectively while Julian Fameliaris (Net-Lube Chevrolet Corvette) who struggled with gearbox and clutch issues throughout the weekend, Roelf du Plessis (Chevrolet Corvette) and Andre de Lange (Roofsure Jaguar XKR) suffered mechanical maladies early on.

The reverse grid start for the second race often throws up some interesting action in the first couple of corners as the quicker cars try to make their way through the pack. This was again the case on Saturday, with the need to get through to the front made even more urgent by the fact that the race distance had been shortened from the scheduled 12 laps to just eight.

A chaotic opening lap ended with pole man Dahl relegated to the back of the field and Reib out front with spinning cars and contact between a couple of competitors in the mid-pack spreading the field. Both Lombard and Wilford went out early while Adlem set off after Reib at the front.

Despite posting the fastest lap of the weekend in his efforts he couldn’t find a way past the wily Reib and they came home in that order just half a second apart. Di Matteo recovered from the opening mayhem to work his way back up the field into third but was too far back to get into contention for the win.

Behind him, Coetzee finished fourth ahead of Schwarz, who inherited fifth after De Lange’s Jaguar destroyed its diff and burst into flames on the main straight. Luckily he was able to stop close to the Killarney marshals who soon extinguished the flames,

preventing severe damage to the car. Dahl completed the field in sixth.

Charl Arangies won two of the three G&H Transport Extreme Supercar races in his Stradale/Info Africa Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and was gifted the third when local hotshot Dayne Angel (Autohaus Angel Porsche GT ZR), who beat him by just 1.188sec in Race 3, was handed a 30 second penalty for jumping the start.

Arangies romped away from pole to win the first race by nearly 20 seconds, while Dayne

Angel overtook his father Marcel’s Autohaus Angel Ferrari 488 GT3 on lap three to finish second. Scuderia Scribante brothers Silvio and Aldo Scribante, each in a Huracan GT3, came home fourth and fifth respectively.

Local driver Nieyaaz Modack headed Class B in his MIM Carriers/NSI Motors BMW M3 in 10th overall, while Marius Jackson (Megafibre Audi R8) took Class C honours and Imaad Modack in the second MIM Carriers/NSI Motors M3, won Class D.

Race 2 was a lot closer, as Dayne Angel came home only 2.295sec behind Arangies and Silvio Scribante beat Marcel Angel for third by just 0.771sec. Ant Blunden (Sajco/GSP CV Joints Porsche 997) took

Class B honours in seventh overall, Jackson won Class C again and Imaad Modack was the only Class D finisher in 15th overall.

Dayne Angel jumped into the lead at the start of Race 3 with Arangies in hot pursuit, until the Stradale driver made a rare mistake on lap three and dropped back to fourth behind Silvio Scribante and Marcel Angel. Three laps later he was back up to third, but it took him until two laps from the flag to pass Scribante for second and he came home just a couple of lengths behind the Autohaus Angel Porsche.

Scribante finished third on the road, with Marcel Angel fourth and Aldo Scribante fifth – each of whom moved up a place when Dayne Angel’s penalty dropped him down to sixth.

Blunden took Class B in ninth overall, less than a second ahead of Nieyaaz Modack, Ammaar Coetzee won Class C by an even smaller margin from Jackson and Imaad Modack was again the only Class D runner.

Another local entry, Andrew Rackstraw in the Investchem/RDSA Mygale SJ 1600, led both Investchem F1600 races from lights to flag. Nicholas van Weely (Magnificant Paints & Hardware Van Diemen RF6) kept him honest for seven laps in Race 1 but got it all wrong on lap eight, dropping back to sixth while Jarrod Waberski (Mygale F1600) chased Rackstraw all the way to the line with Ewan Holtzhausen in the Total Plasics Mygale SJ and Josh le Roux (Formula 1600) in close formation – all four were covered by less than seven seconds at the line.

Van Weely made no mistakes in Race 2, passing Waberski on lap two for second and finishing less than four seconds adrift of Rackstraw, despite a strong fightback from Waberski in the closing stages. Alex Vos (Ecurie Zoo Van Diemen RF04 passed Le Roux on the final lap to take fourth by just 0.103sec, with Andrew Schofield fifth, less than 10 seconds behind the leader.