After an outing down in the Eastern Cape, the MotorMart VW Challenge drivers return to familiar territory for the eighth round of their 2019 championship which takes place at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 19 October. Just two points separate Rory Atkinson (BHIT Polo) and Stiaan Kriel (MotorMart/Kalex Polo) at the top of the overall championship standings in a battle that has raged all season long. The pair has a comfortable lead over Lyle Ramsay (Monroe Racing/Fuchs Lubricants Polo), who is 41 points behind Kriel. Jacques Smith (Liability Matters Polo) occupies fourth, seven points further back. Bevin Masters (The CPS Warehouse Polo) is just two points adrift of Ramsay while Deon Holliday Jnr (Monitor Net Polo) occupies sixth another nine points back. Despite gearbox problems in Port Elizabeth, Waldie Meintjes (Allwagen Parts Polo) is in joint seventh place with Dawie Van der Merwe (Lee Thompson Racing Polo) just three points behind Holliday Jnr.

Lyle Ramsay leads Rory Atkinson
Lyle Ramsay is on a winning streak at Zwartkops

While Ramsay didn’t get the results he wanted at Aldo Scribante, based on recent form, he is the one most likely to challenge Atkinson at the front of the Class A field. The Monroe Racing driver has won all four heats in the last two visits the series has made to Zwartkops and will be looking to extend that run. In all four of those races, Atkinson had to settle for second. Masters claimed two second places in Port Elizabeth to move clear of Meintjes in the class standings, occupying third place nine points behind Ramsay. JP van der Walt (Platinum Wheels Polo) and Mohammed Dangor (MotorMart Polo) are in a battle for fifth with just two points separating them. With 14 cars on the Class A entry list, there is sure to be plenty of action near the head of the field. Gavin Ross (Norbrake/Metal Used Spares Polo) had a great result the last time the series visited Zwartkops, and will be out to regain that form while Chris Dale (Blue Belt/Pozidrive Polo), Ronaldo Verolini (Polo), Mike Barbaglia (Litemart Polo), Banie van Dyk (SA Milling Polo), Pierluigi Muzzulli (Polo) and Andrea Furci (Polo) will also be hunting for as many points as possible. Almero van Eck returns to the MotorMart VW Challenge grid after missing most of the season, this time in a Class A car.

Stiaan Kriel
It is hard to see anyone preventing Stiaan Kriel from taking the Class B crown

Mechanical gremlins spoilt Kriel’s second race at the coast, but he was still able to nurse his car home in second place to ensure that he will almost certainly claim the 2019 Class B title. He has a 48-point advantage over his closest rival Smith, but the fact that the worst event scores are dropped from the championship scoring mean that Smith still has a slim mathematical chance of taking the championship. After a disappointing middle of the season, Holliday Jnr bounced back in Port Elizabeth, taking two podium finishes to extend his grip on third in the standings. He now leads Stuart Mack (Race Technology Polo) by 20 points. Deon Holliday Snr (Centparts Centurion Polo) and Elna Croeser (Race Technology SA Polo), who are separated by just four points, round out the top six. Charisse van der Merwe (GTR Performance Polo) has had mixed fortunes this season, but still occupies seventh on the log. Francois van Zyl (Jesus Saves Polo), Sohel Patel (Patel Hardware Polo), Piet Potgieter (Nathan’s Motorsport Polo) and Lindsay Clur (Mirage Leisure Polo) will all be hunting for points as will Robbie da Silva (MotorMart/SKR Polo) and Reno van Heerden (Polo). Andre Needham is also scheduled to make a return to the grid in an Allwagen Parts Polo.

Dawie van der Merwe
Dawie van der Merwe leads the way in Class C

Dawie Van der Merwe (Lee Thompson Racing Polo) has lead the way in Class C since the opening round at Red Star Raceway back in February and will be looking to consolidate his lead at Zwartkops. His closest rival is Andy Gossman (Allwagen Parts Polo) who is 12 points adrift. Farhaan Basha (Motronix Polo) occupies third but could miss the round after damaging his car in Port Elizabeth. Philip Croeser (ATE Polo) has missed a large part of the season but is scheduled to return to the track at Zwartkops and will be joined by Greg Gossman (Action Images Polo) and Adriaan de Beer (Polo) on the Class C grid.

As usual, Friday will be dedicated to practise sessions before the more serious business gets underway on Saturday. Qualifying, split into two 10 minute sessions, will take place at just after 10 on Saturday morning with the opening 10-lap race scheduled for 12h35. Race 2, also a 10-lap affair, should start at 15h35.

In addition to title sponsor MotorMart, the VW Challenge acknowledges the support received from Norbrake Distributors, ATE, Dicktator Engine Management Systems, BPM Engineering, Pozi Drive, Yaskawa and Digital Forensics.

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