Leon Haslam has denied Jonathan Rea a surprise victory in the second World Superbike Championship race of the day at Kyalami, the series leader prevailing at the chequered flag after only snatching the lead on the penultimate lap.
Rea looked on course for a superb win from 11th position on the grid after a good start and a series of eye-catching overtaking manoeuvres saw him charge into the lead on lap two.
However, having fended off several failed passes for the lead throughout the race, Haslam finally made his move stick on the penultimate lap before clinging on for a third victory of the season.
Following a fairly uneventful exchange in the first race, the second encounter proved to be anything but as the riders bullied their way through the opening turns with Haslam emerging out front, ahead of Max Biaggi, Carlos Checa and Rea, the Northern Irishman doing his chances a wealth of good to inch his way into fourth already.
Fourth became second mid-way around the lap when an aggressive pass up the inside of Checa was rewarded further by Biaggi running wide and allowing the Honda through too.
Benefitting from a tweak in the set-up that would allow him to be quicker over the opening few laps, Rea set about chasing down Haslam, but would be immediately gifted the lead when the Suzuki rider failed to get stopped in time for Westbank.
Promoting Rea into an unlikely lead, Haslam and Biaggi quickly regained their momentum to run him close in second and third, while Checa, Michel Fabrizio and Crutchlow as the top six began to break away.
Despite this, it was clear victory was only ever likely to come from the top three riders as they jostled around for position, the trio never once straying more than a couple of bike lengths apart as they concertinaed into the corners and along the straights.
Having re-launched his assault on Rea in his quest to get back the lead, a failed attempt around the outside of Westbank on lap seven would simply allow Biaggi up into second place.