Almost six months after their last outing, the Pozidrive VW Challenge drivers returned to action at Zwartkops Raceway for the third round of their 2020 championship on Saturday, 12 September. The Covid-19 enforced break did not affect Rory Atkinson (BHIT VW Polo). He grabbed every Class A point on offer, claiming pole position and then storming to two heat wins, setting the fastest lap time in each on the way, to extend his lead at the top of the overall championship log. Farhaan Basha (Motronix Polo) took both Class B heat wins while Class C was shared between Philip Croeser (ATE Brakes Polo) and Andy Gossman (Bluebelt Pozidrive Polo).
Things were close in Friday afternoon’s qualifying session, with the top six in Class A separated by just eight-tenths of a second. Atkinson led the way from Bevin Masters (The CPS Warehouse Polo) with Waldie Meintjes (Bluebelt Pozidrive Polo) getting the better of Dawie van der Merwe (Universal Racing Polo) to claim third. Chris Dale (Bluebelt Pozidrive Polo) and Mohamed Dangor (T-Rex Racing/Creative Ink Polo) rounded out the top six.
It was just as close at the top of Class B with series newcomer Leyton Fourie (Champion/Monroe Polo) outdoing Basha to take pole position. Deon Holliday Jnr (Monitor Net Polo) was next up, just ahead of Elna Croeser (Nathan’s Motorsport Polo) with Robyn Kriel (T-Rex Racing/Creative Ink Polo) and Stuart Mack (Bluebelt Pozidrive Polo) filling the third row.
Philip Croeser the Class C field from Gossman and Roland Hopkins (Elegant Fuel Polo). Adriaan de Beer (Zante WiFi Polo) was next up ahead of another VW Challenge debutant, Mohammed Karodia (Fast 5 Motorsport Polo), and Eric Gander (Litemart Polo).
In the opening heat, the Class A cars got away but the start lights failed leaving the other classes stranded. Red flags waved and the grid was reset. The next time the entire field got away and Atkinson was quick to open up a gap at the front, which slowly grew until he took the flag 10 laps later. Bevin Masters had Meintjes on his bumper in the early stages of the race with van der Merwe just behind them. Unfortunately for van der Merwe, fuel problems brought his race to a premature end with three laps left to run allowing Bevin Masters and Meintjes to take second and third. Behind them, positions changed regularly with Wayne Masters (Performance Masters Polo) getting up to fourth ahead of Derick Smalberger (Sabertek Polo) and Mike Barbaglia (Litemart Polo). Dale, who had to work his way up from the back of the Class A field after a terrible start, and Dangor rounded out the top eight.
Class B pole-sitter Fourie was eliminated shortly after the start when one of the other competitors missed his brake maker and used the side of the youngster’s car to slow down. Damaged steering meant Fourie was a spectator from there on and Basha led the way. He absorbed all that Holliday could throw at him, taking the win by just over three-tenths of a second. Kriel worked her way past Mack to take third with Mitch Coetzee (JRT Racing Polo) just managing to hold off Leon Odendaal (Bluebelt Pozidrive Polo) and Robbie Da Silva (T-Rex Racing/Creative Ink Polo) to take fifth. Gavin Ross (Norbrake/Metal Used Spares Polo) took the final championship point by finishing eighth.
Croeser was in no mood to be challenged in Class C. He disposed of the challenge from Gossman early on and by the end of the second lap he had opened up a two-second gap to his rivals. This grew as the race progressed and by the time he took the flag he was nearly six seconds ahead of Hopkins with Karodia another two second back in third. Gossman recovered to finish fourth ahead of de Beer and Gander with Charl Anderson (Polo) in seventh.
In the second race, it was again Bevin Masters and Meintjes chasing Atkinson at the front of the field and that is how it stayed for the entire 10 laps. Behind the leading trio, Dale occupied fourth until van der Merwe found a way through on lap four. It didn’t last long though, a mistake saw the youngster drop down to ninth just a lap later leaving Dale in fourth ahead of Barbaglia and Dangor. Van der Merwe wasn’t finished though, just two laps later he was back up to sixth before getting onto Dale’s bumper another couple of laps. That’s how it stayed and he had to settle for fifth ahead of Wayne Masters, Barbaglia and Dangor.
In Class B it was again Basha at the front of the field followed by Holliday, Mack and Kriel at the start. Kriel, however, was on a charge and had moved up to second by the third lap. Her efforts came to nothing though, as despite exerting tremendous pressure on Basha, gearbox failure on the final lap robbed her of a certain podium position and possible win. Kriel’s misfortune promoted Holliday to second behind Basha with Mack in third, Fourie, who had to start at the back of the class after not being able to set a lap time in the opening heat, worked his way through the field to fourth ahead of Bryce Pillay (FK Automotive/Techtisa Polo), Ross, Odendaal and Mitch Coetzee.
Gossman dominated Class C in the second heat, grabbing the lead from the start and slowly extending it as the race progressed. Despite intense pressure from Hopkins, Croeser was able to hang on to second with de Beer in fourth ahead of Karodia, Andersen and Gander.
Two heat wins for Atkinson gave him the overall win in Class A with Bevin Masters and Meintjes joining him on the podium. Basha took Class B from Holliday and Mack while Croeser’s comfortable first race win provided a big enough advantage to take Class C from Gossman and Hopkins.
The Pozidrive VW Challenge competitors now make their way to Phakisa Freeway, just outside Welkom, for the fourth round of the championship on 2 & 3 October 2020.