After a trip down to East London for their annual “away race”, the VW Challenge competitors return to the Highveld for the fourth round of the 2017 championship. Zwartkops Raceway, west of Pretoria, will host over 30 cars as they battle for supremacy and championship points on Saturday, 17 June.
Heading to East London, Stiaan Kriel had won every class A race in 2017. That changed in the Eastern Cape, but the Spanjaard Polo driver has moved to the top of the overall championship log after a second place and another win. He has a slender three-point lead over class C runner Rory Atkinson (Pozi Drive Polo). Adrian Wood (Laserfische Polo), the first of the class B competitors, is a further six points back in third. After a good outing in East London, Shaun Crous (Ancro Building Projects Polo) has moved up to fourth in the overall standings, just a point ahead of Nic Clarke (Pozi Drive Polo) and Lyle Ramsay (Monroe Racing RSA Polo) who round out the top six.
Iain Pepper (Campos Transport Polo) will be hoping the gearbox problems that plagued him in East London have been sorted out so that he can get back to challenging Kriel at the head of the class A field. Devon Piazza Musso (Alliance Polo), who won the opening East London race, and Waldie Meintjes (LTR / Marty’s Body & Spray Polo) will also be looking to grab as many points as possible at Zwartkops.
The closest battles this season have come in class B where Wood, Clarke and Ramsay have been involved in side-by-side racing in almost every race. Wood holds a slight advantage at the moment but that could change very quickly. Jacques Smith (Hydra Arc Polo) leads the chasing pack from Quinton Needham (Tron Polo) and Deon Holliday Jnr (Centworx Polo).
In class C Atkinson set the early season pace but Crous has been making steady progress and will be looking to build on his win in the second heat in East London. Wouter Roos (Strata Drilling Polo) and Chris Dale (Pozi Drive / Dale Automation Polo) are next on the log and will be looking to improve their positions.
With the Extreme Festival spread over three days this time out, practice and race times are slightly different to the normal race schedule. The cars will go out for their first practice session at 15h20 on Friday afternoon with another two practice sessions, at 07h55 and 09h35, on Saturday morning. Qualifying is at 11h25 with the two 10-lap races scheduled to start at 13h25 and 16h15.
The VW Challenge would like to acknowledge the valuable support of their sponsors, ATE Brakes, Dicktator Engine Management Systems, Tron Lubricants, Glasfix Windscreen Repairs and Norbrake, who make the series possible.