VW Challenge enters the final stretch

Stiaan Kriel
Overall and Class B Championship leader Stiaan Kriel

With two-thirds of the season behind them, the drivers in the MotorMart VW Challenge make their way down to Port Elizabeth where the seventh round of the 2019 championship takes place at the Aldo Scribante Racetrack on Saturday, 21 September. Stiaan Kriel (MotorMart/Kalex Polo) claimed the lead in the overall championship standings last time out, but that lead is just a single point over Rory Atkinson (BHIT Polo). After a slow start to the season, where mechanical problems spoilt his chances of a good points haul, Lyle Ramsay (Monroe Racing/Fuchs Lubricants Polo) has bounced back, claiming four wins in the last six heats to move to third in the overall standings, 31 points behind Kriel. Jacques Smith (Liability Matters Polo) is next up, 11 points adrift of Ramsay with Bevin Masters (The CPS Warehouse Polo) and Waldie Meintjes (Allwagen Parts Polo) in joint fifth place three points further back. Dawie Van der Merwe (Lee Thompson Racing Polo) occupies seventh, a point behind Masters and Meintjes while Deon Holliday Jnr (Monitor Net Polo), despite mechanical problems in the last two rounds, remains eighth another eight points back.

Lyle Ramsay leads Rory Atkinson and the rest of the Class A pack
Lyle Ramsay leads Rory Atkinson and the rest of the Class A pack

Atkinson looked like he was going to have a comfortable route to the Class A title but Ramsay has other ideas and has narrowed the gap, although at 31 points his lead is still substantial. Masters and Meintjes are next up, 14 points behind Ramsay with Mohammed Dangor (MotorMart Polo) and JP van der Walt (Platinum Wheels Polo) rounding out the top six. A 14-car entry in Class A means that the top six are unlikely to have things all their own way. Gavin Ross (Norbrake/Metal Used Spares Polo) had his best out in a while at Zwartkops in the last round and will be looking to continue that form. Others who will be out to add to their points tally in Port Elizabeth include Chris Dale (Blue Belt/Pozidrive Polo), Ronaldo Verolini (Polo), Mike Barbaglia (Litemart Polo), Banie van Dyk (SA Milling Polo) and Derick Smalberger (Sabertek Polo). Newcomers, Pierluigi Muzzulli (Polo) and Simon Need (Photronics Polo) will also be on the grid.

Kriel continued his dominance of Class B at Zwartkops in the last round, taking another two comfortable wins to bring his tally to ten for the season. On current form, it is difficult to see anyone stopping him from taking the 2019 title as he now has a 43-point advantage over his closest rival Smith. He, in turn, leads Holliday Jnr by 12 points with Stuart Mack (Race Technology Polo)  a further 14 points back in fourth. Deon Holliday Snr (Centparts Centurion Polo) and Richie Napier (SA Pool Liners/Bodyline Polo) round out the top six although that is likely to change with Napier not making the trip to the Eastern Cape. Elna Croeser (Race Technology SA Polo) had her best race weekend in quite some time at the last round, claiming two second places to move into seventh place in the standings, just a single point ahead of Charisse van der Merwe (GTR Performance Polo). After a great result at Red Star, mechanical difficulties with his MotorMart Polo put paid to Robbie da Silva’s chances of adding to his points tally at Zwartkops and he will be looking to rectify that in Port Elizabeth. Sohel Patel (Patel Hardware Polo), Nicholas Cleery (Sovereign Foods Polo), Francois van Zyl (Jesus Saves Polo), Piet Potgieter (Nathan’s Motorsport Polo) and Lindsay Clur (Mirage Leisure Polo) should all be hunting for points as well.

Dawie van der Merwe and Farhaan Basha fight for position
Dawie van der Merwe and Farhaan Basha fight for position

Despite only finishing second in both heats at Zwartkops, Dawie Van der Merwe (Lee Thompson Racing Polo) has grown his lead at the top of the Class C standings to 17points. Farhaan Basha (Motronix Polo) and Andy Gossman (Allwagen Parts Polo) are tied in second place and will be making the trip to Adlo Scribante to gather as many points as they can.

As usual, there will be three practice session on Friday to allow the competitors to set their cars up for the track that most of them last visited back in 2015. Qualifying, split into two 10 minute sessions, gets underway at 08h20 on Saturday morning with the first of the two 10-lap races scheduled for 11h30. Race 2 should start at 15h15.