Sarel van der Merwe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sarel van der Merwe
Nationality  South Africa
Born (1946-12-05) 5 December 1946 (age 67)
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Retired 2002
Championship titles
1975, 1977-1985, 1988
1994

1994, 2001
South African Rally Drivers Championship
South African Saloon Car Championship
South African Modified Saloon Car Championship
Awards
1976
1997
2002
Springbok Colours
South African National Colours
MSA Lifetime Achievement Award
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
1 race(s) run over 1 year(s)
Best finish 78th (1990)
First race 1990 Budweiser at the Glen (Watkins Glen)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0

Sarel Daniel van der Merwe (born 5 December 1946) is a former rally and racing driver, who was a multiple South African Rally Drivers Champion. He is referred to by his nickname "Supervan".[1]

Van der Merwe won the South African Rally Drivers Championship a record eleven times in 1975, from 1977 to 1985 and in 1988. Van Der Merwe also drove one NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen for Hendrick Motorsports #17 Tide Chevrolet Lumina team in 1990 while the team's regular driver, Darrell Waltrip, was recuperating from a severe leg injury a month earlier,[2] where he finished 24th;[3] van der Merwe had attempted to qualify for the 1988 Daytona 500 in a Hendrick-owned car, but failed to make the race.[4] He also held the SA Saloon Car Championship (1994), SA Modified Saloon Car Championship (1994 & 2001), and won the 1996 Castrol International Rally ending in Swaziland. He received his Springbok Colours in 1976 and his South African National Colours in 1997. In 2002, van der Merwe was awarded the Motorsport South African (MSA) Lifetime Achievement award.[5]

Van der Merwe began his racing career in 1967 racing saloon cars. His international career took off in 1983 in the IMSA series in the USA, with his most notable win in the 1984 24 Hours of Daytona race driving for Kreepy Krauly Racing, an all-South African team in a March 83G-Porsche. He shared the win with Graham Duxbury and Tony Martin. Van der Merwe did exceptionally well in the 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans where he finished 3rd on debut. In the 1986 Le Mans race, Sarel pulled in a lap early and Jo Gartner took over. A lap later the suspension broke and the car veered off the Mulsanne Straight in the middle of the night and Gartner was killed.

His South African rallying days were extensive and colourfull, and he displayed spectacular driving skills even under severe weather conditions. He started off with a private D.K.W. around 1965, a motor car that had the reputation of being unbreakable, even so by Van. He then moved up the ranks to sport a works-Ford Escort Mk II BDA (Belt Driven Assembly), the state-of-the-art machine around 1975−1979. The yellow car was jointly sponsored by the Ford Motor Company and Southern Suns hotel group, and later in the blue colours of Kreepy Krauly (South Africa). After leaving Ford because of a disagreement, Supervan had a short stint in the Datsun 160Y and Datsun Stanza, teamed up with U.K. rally ace Tony Pond around 1980. But van der Merwe always complained that his lanky body did not fit into the smaller Japanese cars. His final rally successes were in a factory team Audi Sport Quattro (1981−1986) with his rally swan song in the Volkswagen Golf front wheel drive hatchback in 1988. His co-driver/navigator was the ever-faithful Franz Boshoff, also a crowned Springbok, through all the years rallying with Ford, Datsun, Audi and Volkswagen.

He retired from competitive motor racing on 23 November 2002 after Round 12 of the Vodacom Power Tour at Kyalami,[6]but he is still seen around some motorsport events, organising a few events and raising publicity for the sponsors of these events.

Motorsports career results[edit]

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Winston Cup Series[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McGeorge, Lee (30 July 2009). "Supervan and Wyndham on track at Killarney". Motoring.co.za. Motoring & Independent Online. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  2. ^ Rhodes, Beth (August 2, 1990). "Waltrip's Sub: van der Merwe - Road-Racing Star to Debut in Budweiser At The Glen". Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, FL). p. C6. Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  3. ^ Sarel van der Merwe - NASCAR Sprint Cup Results. Racing-Reference. USA Today Sports Media Group. Accessed 2013-03-27
  4. ^ "Allison, Waltrip Easily Win 125-Mile Races at Daytona". The State (Columbia, SC). February 12, 1988. Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  5. ^ "MSA Handbook 2007". MOTORSPORT SOUTH AFRICA. Retrieved 2008-10-22. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Sarel van der Merwe". HISTORIC RACING. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Herman Fekken
SA Rally Drivers Championship
1975
Succeeded by
Jan Hettema
Preceded by
None
SA Group 1 / Group A Championship
1977
Succeeded by
Giovanni Piazzo-Musso
Preceded by
Jan Hettema
SA Rally Drivers Championship
1977 to 1985
Succeeded by
Hannes Grobler
Preceded by
Geoff Mortimer
SA Rally Drivers Championship
1988
Succeeded by
Serge Damseaux
Preceded by
Terry Moss
SA Saloon Car Championship
1994
Succeeded by
Michael Briggs
Preceded by
None
SA Modified Saloon Car Championship
1994
Succeeded by
Charl Wilken
Preceded by
R du Plessis
SA Modified Saloon Car Championship
2001
Succeeded by
Johan Fourie

External links[edit]