Paul Shepard claims his fifth title PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Bedford   
Sunday, 26 April 2009 18:22

Paul ShepardPaul Shepard claimed his fifth successive South African F1 Powerboat Series title at Bloemhof Dam today when he won the Free State F1 Powerboat Grand Prix. After the adverse weather conditions force the postponement of yesterday’s scheduled activities the Formula 1 boats took to the water early this morning for their practice session and time trials. Shepard served indication of his intentions when he set the fastest time in qualifying, lapping the four-turn course in just 30.03 seconds. Brett Stuart was next in line 1.1 seconds further back with Elzane de Jager in third. Robert Shepard, Steven Zungu and Darren Beattie rounded out the top six.

Brett Stuart harassed Paul Shepard all the way in the first heat and the duo opened a considerable gap at the front of the field. Despite briefly taking the lead, Stuart had to settle for second place. Steven Zungu crossed the line in third place but was penalized for a jump start which dropped him down to fifth. Robert Shepard was classified third ahead of Elzane de Jager. Terri Mitchell and Darren Beattie ended in sixth and seventh respectively.

Paul Shepard had a slightly easier time in the second heat although Stuart was never far behind. Stuart missed one of the turn buoys and was subsequently penalized a lap which dropped him down to fourth place allowing Robert Shepard to claim second place ahead of de Jager when the heat was brought to a premature end after Beattie spun his boat and came to a halt on the racing line. Steven Zungu and Terri Mitchell were fifth and sixth.

Water conditions deteriorated badly before the start of the third heat and the officials abandoned the heat as it was unsafe for the drivers to race. Paul Shepard’s two heat wins gave him overall victory and points he needed to make sure that he cannot be beaten in the 2008/9 title race. Elder brother Robert was second with Brett Stuart third. Elzane de Jager finished in fourth place overall followed by Steven Zungu, Terri Mitchell and Darren Beattie.

The final event of the 2008/9 season will take place in Durban at the end of May.