team rsa win in rain

Musa Zondi

South Africa, emerging from a week of soccer disappointment, can at least celebrate a racetrack victory - in heavy rain - in Eastern Creek, Australia, yesterday.

The round 6 win by A1GP Vulindlela comes three weeks before the country hosts the World Cup of Motorsport in Durban, on February 22 to 24.

Adrian Zaugg drove a faultless race from sixth place on the grid, a win that will surely boost interest in the Durban race, which was recently voted one of the best hosted events on the sport's calendar.

At the start, Vulindlela powered to third place, behind Robbie Kerr of Team Great Britain and Switzerland's Neel Jani.

When the first round of pit stops came up, Team RSA stayed out for a couple of laps. This allowed Zaugg, driving like a man possessed, to clock up excellent times.

When he eventually came in for a fresh set of rubber, he was still able to maintain his lead, setting the stage for his fine victory.

The drenched race saw a number of cars plough off the side of the track a couple of times - with Lebanon's driver likely to win the award for being off track more than any other competitor.

Zaugg's skill clearly took the wind out of the other main contenders, Kerr and Jani.

This was the Capetonian's second win this season, following a masterful drive in Holland last year. Zaugg drove so well yesterday that at half way he was at least 11 seconds clear of the rest of the field.

In the earlier race, Zaugg finished a distant seventh after being caught out by the track's rainy surface.

"It was one of my best races," admitted an elated Zaugg in the post-race interview with commentator John Watson.

Watson described the South African's performance as "a drive of absolute class under the most difficult of conditions".