After the scheduled third round of the 2019 MotorMart VW Challenge championship was postponed, the drivers have had an extended break to prepare for their next outing, which will take place at Phakisa Freeway, just outside the Free State mining town of Welkom, on Saturday, 8 June. With four wins from four starts, defending champion Rory Atkinson (BHIT Polo) has had the perfect start to his season and leads the way in the overall championship standings by 13 points from Stiaan Kriel (MotorMart/Kalex Polo) with Deon Holliday Jnr (Monitor Net Polo) just a single point further back. Waldie Meintjes (Allwagen Parts Polo) and Jacques Smith (Dirt Nurse Polo) are tied in fourth place, five points behind Holliday with Bevin Masters (The CPS Warehouse Polo) and Dawie van der Merwe (Lee Thompson Racing Polo) in joint sixth place another four points adrift.
Atkinson’s four wins have given him a substantial lead at the top of the Class A standings, but there are a host of drivers who will be looking to close the gap at Phakisa. Meintjes and Masters are his closest rivals but Jean-Pierre van der Walt (Platinum Wheels Polo) and Mohamed Dangor (MotorMart Polo) are not far behind. Lyle Ramsay (Monroe Racing/Fuchs Lubricants Polo) has had a difficult start to the season, with mechanical gremlins preventing him from showing his true potential. He will be looking to bounce back in the Free State. Mike Barbaglia (Litemart Polo) and Eric Gander (My DNA Choices Polo) will also be among the Class A runners while an interesting addition could be Keegan Masters who has indicated he intends making a one-off appearance in his Performance Masters Polo.
Class B has been fiercely competitive this season and will almost certainly be so again. Kriel leads the way in the championship, but only by a single point, from Holliday Jnr with Smith close behind in third. Stuart Mack (Race Technology Polo) and Deon Holliday Snr (Centparts Centurion Polo) have both led races this season and will be looking to convert that pace into wins. Chris Dale (Blue Belt Pozidrive Polo) has had a subdued start to his season and will be out to claim as many points as possible as will Charisse van der Merwe (M&M Auto Clinic Polo). Others who will be fighting for Class B points include Pet Potgieter (Nathan’s Motorsport Polo), Craig Napier (SA Pool Liners/Bodyline Polo), Robbie da Silva (MotorMart Polo) and Lindsay Clur (Mirage Leisure Polo).
Van der Merwe has put his Lee Thompson Racing Polo on the Class C podium in all four of the races this season to lead the class championship by four points from Andy Gossman (Allwagen Parts Polo). Despite missing the last round at Zwartkops, Reno van Heerden (Taurus Polo) still occupies third place on the log and will be aiming to close the gap to the leaders. Farhaan Basha (Motronix Polo) tasted victory at Zwartkops and will be looking for more of the same Zaeem Goolam (Praga Karts Polo) will also be out to bag as many points as possible. Elna Croeser will be joining the Class C brigade in the ATE Polo normally piloted by husband Philip.
In a break with the normal running order, qualifying to determine grid positions for the first of Saturday’s two races will take place at 16h50 on Friday afternoon. The first of the round’s two 8-lap races is scheduled to get underway at 11h30 on Saturday morning with the second on the card at 14h45.
In addition to title sponsor MotorMart, the VW Challenge acknowledges the support from Norbrake Distributors, ATE, Dicktator Engine Management Systems, BPM Engineering, Pozi Drive, Yaskawa and Digital Forensics.