Thompson, Lupini & du Toit take titles
What BurlyPro GTi Challenge Final Round 9 Report
Where Killarney International Raceway, Cape Town
When Saturday 30 November 2019
Community Cape Town, Western Province.
The Burly Pro GTi Challenge crowned Class B driver Eden Thompson as a double overall champion at Killarney on Saturday in what ultimately became a thrilling title decider after Thompson's Jetta hit trouble in the season-ending one-hour endurance race, but he somehow managed to limp home to prevent dominant Class C lad Giordano Lupini from stealing a sensational title. Lupini meanwhile cinched the Class C title and Nian du Toit took the Class A championship.
With du Toit sitting the weekend out, Jurie Swart Jr. put his Alpine Autohaus Polo 6R on pole position, 0.2 seconds ahead of the similar cars of Marco Busi (Automan), Colin Nicholas Meder (International Tube Tech) and Chris Roberts (BMT Offshore), while George Schutte (Golf 1 GTi) pipped Eden Thompson (Somerset Refrigeration Jetta II) to the Class B Pole. Jason Coetzee (CK Coachworks) took pole in the all Golf 1 GTi Class C Brat Pack ahead of Calvin Wiltshire, Paul Winter (Duvel/Captain Cane) and Jarred Simpson (Greenz Plumbing) after class title leader Giordano Lupini (Accelerate 102/La Vie de Luc/CIR) hit clutch issues.
Swart however hit trouble from the get-go as his Polo broke its clutch to drop down the order and eventually retire, leaving Busi to make off up front in spite of a wayward handling car as Meder and Roberts enjoyed a splendid duel behind, resolved Meder’s way by all of the tenth of a second. Behind them, Thompson and Schutte initially diced hard over the Class B lead before Eden opened a gap to take the win.
Giordano Lupini put in the drive of the race as he stormed from seventeenth on the grid to sixth overall as he took the Class C win from Jason Coetzee and Jarred Simpson as Giordano wrapped up the class title. Brothers Calvin and Kyle Wiltshire ended fourth and fifth from Class B runner Grant Cloete (Upstream Connect), Paul Winter, Marc Thompson (Somerset Refrigeration B Polo Classic), Carel van der Merwe and Gert du Plessis (cheapercars.co.za).
Class C lads, Alfie van Zyl (GT Graphics), Chase Herholdt, Daniel Munna (Ivor Smith Electrica), Alton Steyn and Wayne Field (Class B Coetzee’s Coachworks Jetta II) were next up, but it proved a tough debut for Class C ladies Zante Otto and Leigh-Ann Smith, both of whom fell prey to a hungry Turn 3 tyre wall, while Mitch Pasqualli also hit trouble in his Class C Golf.
With all three class champions crowned, the one hour endurance race proved to be a true fun event, but it almost delivered a significant sting in the tail too. The novel one hour required each driver to share their car with a co-driver who had not scored any championship points in 2019, with the driver change window open between minutes 25 and 35. The race attracted the who’s who of Burly Pro GTi Challenge stars with a long list of former champions and legends turning out to support the current crop.
It started with a bang too, when young Kyle Wiltshire suffered a significant accident out of Turn 4 on the opening lap to cause a virtual Safety Car and deprive his co-driver Dario Busi of a drive. Racing soon resumed to see GTi veteran Jacques Geldenhuys leading the way in Chris Roberts’ Polo ahead of Jurie Swart and Meder, with Shane du Toit driving Eden Thompson’s Jetta and George Schutte’s Golf dicing for Class B ahead of Giordano Lupini’s Class C-leading Golf.
Swart and Geldenhuys diced for a few laps before Jurie pulled clear, leaving Jacques fending Meder off, while Shane du Toit took over the Class B lead in fourth ahead of Schutte. Class C leaders Jason Coetzee and Giordano Lupini were enjoying a spectacular dice heading up to the driver change window, which delivered its own drama as young Coetzee failed to pit in time and missed the pit window to be excluded and deprive teammate Andrew Thomas a chance to drive. A similar fate befell Daniel Munna, leaving Craig du Toit watching too.
There was more drama shortly after the stops with overall championship leader Eden Thompson back in the pits suffering from an awry left front axle and with Ebrahim Levy well ahead in Class C aboard Lupini’s machine, Eden’s Number 1 plate was suddenly in doubt. If Thompson failed to finish and Lupini won, Lupini would steal the title by a single point…
Up front, versatile Zack Groenewald led the way as he headed for the win aboard Swart’s Polo ahead of the duelling Chris Roberts and Andrew Goslett driving Meder’s car with Jaco Lambert fourth in Schutte’s Class C leading Golf, followed by Levy and former champion Paul Simon pedalling Simpson’s Class C Golf. Lambert’s smoky Golf then slowed to allow Class C leader Levy through to fourth overall.
So all eyes were on Thompson’s limping Jetta and Levy in Lupini’s Class C-leading Golf running like clockwork in fourth overall, but the Jetta somehow struggled through to the finish within the required two-thirds race distance of race winners Swart and Groenewald. The Roberts/Geldenhuys Polo held the similar Meder/Goslett machine off for second ahead of giant-killing Class C Golf GTi pair Lupini and Levy in fourth and the similar car of Simpson and Simon an impressive fifth too.
Behind them, Marc Thompson and GTi legend Peet van der Walt took a surprise Class B win from Class C pair Alfie van Zyl and former double class champion Bryan Morgan and the Class B Jettas of Mario Roux/Divan Lazarus and Wayne Field/Brennan Moore. Paul Winter and Greig Edwards ended tenth overall and fourth in Class C ahead of the delayed Schutte/Lambert B Golf and Class C quartet Chase Herholdt/Ernest Page, Gert du Plessis/Herman Lazarus, Alton Steyn/van Dyk and Carel van der Merwe/van Dyk.
Eden Thompson and Shane du Toit duly struggled home 15th and last, nine laps off the lead to scrounge those five crucial bonus finisher’s points to allow Eden to secure his second overall title on the trot over Class C winner Lupini, while the Zante Otto/Kewyn Snyman and Grant Cloete/Danie van Niekerk Golfs retired.
Overall, a delighted Chis Roberts took the day from Colin Meder with Class C winner Giordano Lupini an amazing third from Jarred Simpson in another Class C machine and another surprise in Class B winner Marc Thompson.
So Eden Thompson is the overall and Class B Burly Pro GTi Challenge champion ahead of Class C winner Giordano Lupini and top Class A man Nian du Toit. Du Toit beat Jurie Swart Jr and Colin Meder to the A title, it was a double for the Thompson family in Class B as dad Marc emerged second behind son Eden who wins his third class B title on the trot, with Zaki Hendricks third, while Giordano Lupini took Class C from Jarred Simpson and the ever-present Alfie Van Zyl.
That ends a most tightly fought Burly Pro GTi Challenge for 2019. What 2020 brings, remains to be seen, but rest assured that the action will remain extreme through the coming season too, when the Western Cape’s most competitive racing series kicks off early in the new year.
Issued on behalf of WP GTi Challenge
Photography by: Heinrich Sauer
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