Stiaan Kriel (Pozidrive/Kalex Polo) and Rory Atkinson (BHIT Polo) head into the final round of the 2018 MotorMart VW Challenge, which will be held at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 10 November, separated by just a single point at the top of the championship log.
While the 2018 title is almost certain to go to one of the two, the fact that only the highest seven points scoring rounds count in determining a competitor’s final points tally, means that the Class B trio of Jacques Smith (BPM Engineering Polo), Deon Holliday Jnr (Monitor Net Polo) and Chris Dale (Blue Belt/Pozidrive Polo) still have a mathematical chance, albeit a slim one, of lifting the trophy.
In addition to fighting it out for the overall championship, Kriel and Atkinson are also locked in battle for the Class A title. Here the title will definitely go to one of them as they are out of reach of their challengers. At the last round, held at Zwartkops in October, a huge accident during qualifying eliminated a number of competitors. Lyle Ramsay was one of those but a supreme effort by his team will see him back on track in a new Monroe Racing RSA/Fuchs Lubricants Polo. He is currently third in the Class A standings, six points ahead of Waldie Meintjes (Technikon Auto Spares Polo), another who was involved in the qualifying carnage last time out. Wayne Masters (Performance Masters Polo) is just a point behind Meintjes and third place in the Class A championship will almost certainly go to one of these three. While the top five in the championship standings are almost certain to be at the head of the field on Saturday, there are many more who are capable of running close to the front of the pack. They include Bevin Masters (The CPS Warehouse Polo), Quinton Needham (MotorMart Polo) JP van der Walt (Platinum Wheels Polo) and Gavin Ross (Norbrake Polo) with Wayne Crous (Delway Trading Polo) also slated to make his first appearance in a VW Challenge car for a while.
Smith holds the advantage in Class B but, in addition to the challenge he will face from Holliday Jnr and Dale, his closest rivals in the Class B championship, he will also have to deal with Stuart Mack who has charged up the points log since getting his new Race Technology Polo and now occupies fourth place, just a single point ahead of Roberto Joaquim (Cool Freeze/Auto Aircon Polo). Deon Holliday Snr (Centparts Centurion Polo) and Mohamed Dangor (MotorMart Polo) are in sixth and seventh in the standings, with one point between them. Francois van Zyl (Jesus Saves Polo), Elna Croeser (Race Technology Polo), Giles Darroch (GRD Motorsport/EV Dynamics Golf) and Robbie da Silva (Creative Ink Polo) will also be fighting for points. Jody Robertson (JRT Racing Polo), who won both Class B races at Phakisa, will also be on the grid although, as he only joined the series in the last three races of the season, he won’t be eligible to score championship points. Another who won’t be in the hunt for points, but who could well be near the front of the field is Gianni Bellandi Carati. The Italian is no stranger to South African racing, having raced a Shelby CanAm back in 2006. He will be out in the Polo race by Greg Gossman at the last round.
Philip Croeser (ATE Polo) will miss the final event of the season after his car was destroyed in the qualifying accident at the last round, leaving the Class C battle to newcomers Farhaan Basha (Motronix Polo) and Reeza Goolam.
As usual, Friday will be dedicated to practice sessions with the qualifying session getting underway at 08h45 on Saturday morning. The first of the two 10-lap races should get underway at 12h10, with the second race scheduled for 15h25.
Published by: Paul Bedford
Picture Caption: Stiaan Kriel has a single point advantage over Rory Atkinson
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