Ferrari may have had an unhappy season with their 3-litre prototype but at least it finished on a high note when, on running a two-car 312P team for the first time, they scored an excellent one-two victory In the Kyalami 9 Hours on November 6th. It was not ail plain sailing however, for both cars lost time which delayed them and enabled a couple of the 2-litre cars to briefly take the lead.
The eventual winners were Clay Regazzoni and Brian Redman who led most of the way in the older car but were delayed first by damaged bodywork and were then docked two laps for having more than the allowed number of mechanics working on the car. The Jacky Ickx/Mario Andretti car was brand new and built to conform to the new FIA regulations regarding width and also had early problems. Andretti, who of course won the Grand Prix on this circuit back in March, lost time at the start when he knocked the fuel pump switch off and then the car was delayed for almost 45 minutes when it stopped out on the circuit due to the battery coming loose. After that it pulled rapidly up the field and snatched second place near the end from the David Piper Porsche 917 driven by American Tony Adamowicz and Italian Mario Casoni, which had gone off tune. The only other 5-litre car was an older Porsche 917 also from Piper’s stable which was driven by local Formula One Champion Dave Charlton and Dick Attwood but had troubles throughout and finally retired with a blown engine. Incidentally, it was only Brian Redman’s second drive for Ferrari, his first was in an F2 car at the Eifelrennen in 1968.
However, there was tremendous interest in the 2-litre category and only these cars will continue for the rest of the Springbok Series. Making its racing debut was a brand new 2-litre engine from Cosworth Engineering which is based on the aluminium linerless Chevrolet Vega block. Apparently the engine was giving 270 b.h.p. and helped the works Chevron B19 of Mike Hailwood and Chris Craft to a front row grid position along with the two Ferraris. They even managed to work the car into the lead but the engine only lasted two hours before it lost compression and oil pressure and the car retired. Hailwood, who is out to win the championship, then transferred to the Chevron B19 of Howden Ganley and Paddy Driver replacing the South African driver. It was largely due to his efforts that the car finished an excellent third. Fourth was Adamowicz/Casoni then the Lola T212 of John Love/Helmut Marko (which had led briefly) with the Chevron B19 of John Hine/Peter de Klerk sixth ahead of the Ford Germany Capri of Jochen Mass and Dieter Glemser which collected the Index of Performance award.