Rory Atkinson (BHIT Polo) went to Cape Town with a slender two-point lead in the 2018 MotorMart VW Challenge championship race. A second place, followed by a comfortable win in the second heat, while his main rivals experienced mixed fortunes, sees that advantage extended to eight points after the third round of the championship, held at Killarney International Raceway on Saturday, 21 April. Atkinson’s closest rival in the overall and class A championships, Stiaan Kriel (Pozidrive/Kalex Polo) bounced back after the disappointment of his last outing with a win in the opening race. Jacques Smith (BPM Engineering Polo) and Deon Holliday Jnr (Monitor Net Polo) shared the class B wins while Christiaan de Wet (MotorMart Klerksdorp Polo) ended Philip Croeser’s (ATE Polo) winning streak in class C, taking both race victories.
In the morning qualifying session, Kriel emerged as the quickest of the class A brigade, just three-tenths quicker than Atkinson. They were followed by Waldie Meintjes (Dimension Signs Polo) and Lyle Ramsay (Monroe Racing RSA/Fuchs Polo) with Nic Clarke (Avo Performance Suspension Polo) just behind them. Shaun Crous (Ancro Building Projects Polo) lined up sixth on the grid alongside Clarke with Wayne Masters (Performance Masters Polo) and Quinton Needham (MotorMart Klerksdorp Polo) filling the fourth row.
Smith headed the class B grid from Deon Holliday Snr (Nathan’s Motorsport Polo) with Luan Roos (Nathan’s Motorsport Polo) and Holliday Jnr in third and fourth. Roberto Joaquim (Cool Freeze/Auto Aircon Polo) and Chris Dale (Blue Belt/Pozidrive Polo) were next up with Mohamed Dangor (MotorMart Klerksdorp Polo) and Shane Kroon (EV Dynamics Polo) round out the top eight. In class C, de Wet led the way from Andy Gossman (Dimension Signs Polo) and Croeser.
In the opening race, Kriel grabbed the class A lead from the start and was able to control things from the front to notch up another win. Behind him, contact at the start side-lined Ramsay while Atkinson dropped down the field. Kriel was followed through the first corner by Clarke, Meintjes and Wayne Crous (Toshiba Tech Polo). Atkinson worked his way up and joined Clarke and Meintjes in a battle to join Kriel on the podium. Some close racing saw Atkinson emerge in second ahead of Clarke and Meintjes with Wayne Crous in a somewhat lonely fifth place. Masters just managed to hold off Craig Gammie (GTR Performance Polo) to take sixth with Derick Smalberger (Polo) in eighth.
Although Smith and Holliday Snr spent the whole class B race separated by not much more than two car lengths, Smith was able to keep in front taking another win to follow up on the double victory he earned last time out. Behind them, Dale and Holliday Jnr were involved in a battle for the final podium position until they were caught, and passed, by Roos who then pulled away to take a comfortable third place. Dale and Holliday Jnr continued their duel with Dale in front at the flag. Newcomer Muhammed Suleman (Polo) had a great debut, working his way up from 11th on the class B grid to take sixth place, ahead of Gareth Lyke (GTR Racing Polo) and Dangor. In class C, de Wet had a lights-to-flag win over Croeser.
In the early stages of race 2 it looked like Kriel was going to take another easy win, but transmission problems slowed him, and he slowly dropped down the field, eventually having to settle for sixth place. His misfortune handed the lead to Atkinson, who was never challenged on his way to the flag. Ramsay, who started the race at the back of the class A grid due to not setting a lap time in the opening heat, slowly worked his way up through the field, joining the battle for the podium positions around the half-distance mark. He moved into second place on the drag to the line coming out of the final corner relegating Meintjes to third. Clarke held off Masters for fourth. Smalberger and Gammie rounded out the top eight.
Holliday Snr led the second class B race until the final tour when he was passed by his son, who went on to take the win. Roos, who had spent most of the race in second place, came to a halt with a couple of laps to go, allowing Joaquim through into third. He had Dale on his bumper as they crossed the line. First race winner Smith’s car wasn’t developing full power, but he did manage to bring it home in fifth, adding to his points tally. Rookie Suleman had another good race, again finishing in sixth ahead of Lyke and Kroon. Class C again went to de Wet, this time ahead of Gossman with Croeser completing the podium.
In the day’s overall standings Atkinson took the class A silverware from Meintjes and Clarke. Holliday Snr won class B with Smith and Holliday Jnr joining him on the podium. Two wins gave de Wet overall victory in class C from Croeser and Gossman.
In the overall championship Atkinson now leads Kriel by eight points with Smith moving up to third, just two points further back. Meintjes remains in fourth while Joaquim drops to fifth, tied with Dale, Clarke and Holliday Jnr round out the top eight.
The next outing for the MotorMart VW Challenge takes place at the Midvaal Raceway on Saturday, 2 June 2018.
The VW Challenge would like to acknowledge the valuable support of their sponsors, MotorMart, ATE Brakes, Dicktator Engine Management Systems, Yaskawa, BPM Engineering. Pozi Drive and Norbrake who make the series possible.