Although the nine rounds that made up the 2019 MotorMart VW Challenge Championship are a thing of the past, the drivers have one last outing to look forward to. After a two-year absence, they will return to the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit where they will line up with their Polo Cup counterparts in two races that will be the supporting act to the Kyalami 9 Hour, which takes place from 21 to 23 November.
At the head of the Class A field, the battle is likely to be between the top three in the championship. Rory Atkinson (BHIT Polo) claimed the title but in the latter half of the year face some stiff competition from Lyle Ramsay (Monroe Racing/Fuchs Lubricants Polo) and Bevin Masters (The CPS Warehouse Polo). The top three will, however, not have things all their own way with another dozen Class A drivers all fighting for the final win of the year. Newly crowned Class C champion Dawie van der Merwe ( Lee Thompson Racing Polo) had mixed fortunes in his first Class A outing at Zwartkops a couple of weeks ago but did come home in the points in the second race. He, together with JP van der Walt (Platinum Wheels Polo), Mohamed Dangor (MotorMart Polo) and Chris Dale (Blue Belt/Pozidrive Polo) should be able to challenge for podium positions. Wayne Masters (Performance Masters Polo) will be making his first appearance in the series this season and, based on past performance, cannot be discounted. Gavin Ross (Norbrake Polo), Derick Smalberger (Sabertek Polo), Mike Barbaglia (Litemart Polo) and Eric Gander (MyDNAMyChoises Polo) will also be aiming to finish 2019 on a high with Andy Gossman joining the fray in a VW Beetle. Pierluigi Muzzulini is getting used to his Polo and improving each outing. International interest will be provided by Mauritian Simon Need (Polo) and Italian Andrea Furci (Polo).
2019 Overall and Class B Champion Stiaan Kriel won’t be in his VW Challenge MotorMart/Kalex Polo, he will be in his Polo Cup car, the car will be on the grid piloted by his wife Robyn. She faces some stiff competition as she prepares for a full season of VW Challenge racing in 2020. Jacques Smith (Liability Matters/Dirt Nurse Polo) ended the season as runner up in Class B and is among the favourites to perform well at Kyalami. His strongest competition is likely to come from Graeme Nathan (Nathan’s Motorsport Polo), Stuart Mack (Race Technology Polo) and Deon Holliday Jnr (MotorMart Polo) although Devon Piazza Musso (Leader Tread Polo), who is making a return to the series, could also be in that pack. Charisse van der Merwe (GTR Performance Polo), Francois van Zyl (Jesus Saves Polo) and Andre Needham (Allwagen Spares Polo) have all shown they can run close to the front this season while Farhaan Basha (Motronix Polo) will be having his second outing in Class B after spending most of the season in Class C. Others who could come into contention include Lindsay Clur (Mirage Leisure Polo), Piet Potgieter (Nathan’s Motorsport Polo), Nicholas Cleary (Polo) and Sohel Patel (Patel Hardware).
The Kyalami event will also give the drivers their first taste of the new tyres that will be used in the series next year. A new deal has been inked with ATS Motorsport who will supply Dunlop semi-slick rubber to the VW Challenge for 2020.
After a couple of practice sessions on Friday morning, the drivers will tackle a qualifying session at 14h15 before the first race at 17h20. Race 2 will get underway at 10h40 on Saturday morning. For those that can’t make it to the circuit, both races will be broadcast live on SuperSport Channel 212.
In addition to the support received from regular partners Norbrake Distributors, ATE, Dicktator Engine Management Systems, BPM Engineering, Yaskawa and Digital Forensics, the VW Challenge would like to acknowledge the additional support from Blue Belt/ Pozzidrive which has made participation in this event possible.