The 2020 Lotus Challenge championship is set for another final round title-decider after Mackie Adlem and Jeffrey Kruger shared the victories in Class B at Zwartkops Raceway this past weekend (October 9-10) while Andre du Plessis took a double-victory in Class L.
Saturday morning’s Qualifying Session saw Kruger (Universal Healthcare) take pole-position in the all-Birkin Class B after not participating in any of Friday’s Practice Sessions ahead of Thomas Falkiner (Adaptive Resource Engineer). Robyn Kriel (Universal Healthcare) and Rudi Barnard (Adlem Auto Racing / Barney’s Properties) shared the second row while Andre Human (Adlem Auto Racing) qualified in fifth place following an engine-change which kept him out of the action for most of Friday after setting the fastest time in Practice 1. Sean Hewitt (Gavin Hewitt) completed the top-six. Mackie Adlem (Adlem Auto Racing) qualified in seventh-place after setting the pace in Friday’s latter two Practice Sessions with Carel Schaap (Adaptive Resource Engineering) alongside him. Tinus Botes (CSI/ESI) completed the Class B field. Notable absentees were David Coetzee (ELKSA Competition / Adlem Auto) who sportingly provided Human with his spare engine on Friday, before suffering a failure himself in the final session, while Gys van der Walt (Strap King / Adlem Auto) also withdrew following Friday’s final Practice Session.
In the all-Locost Class L, it was Nick Hodges (Singular Systems) who took pole ahead of Wesley Maxwell (Vibro Eco Aggregates / Leet Racing). Andre du Plessis (Leet Racing) who headed up all three of Friday’s Practice Sessions, qualified in third place ahead of Miles Downard (Singular Systems). Pieter van Aardt (Vibro Eco Aggregates / Leet Racing) completed the field.
Kruger got off to a good start and took the early lead, but mechanical problems forced him to retire after two laps. Meanwhile, Adlem worked his way up to second place in the running order at this point and assumed the lead, but with Barnard and Human in close pursuit. While the latter two jostled for second place, this allowed Adlem to build up a comfortable margin at the front of the field. Barnard retired after six laps while Human parked his Birkin 7 on the infield two laps later. This saw Adlem taking the Class B win by just over nine seconds.
Kriel and Hewitt completed the podium following a battle for position that also included fourth-place finisher Falkiner in the early stages. Schaap finished in fifth place while Botes rounded-out the top-six and the competitors to go the full 10 lap distance. Although Human retired, he still completed two-thirds of the race distance and was classified in seventh place.
In Class L, it was Maxwell who made his way into the lead through the opening corners but it was not long before Du Plessis overtook him. Van der Walt was however also busy carving his way through the field and got himself in close-contention for the win. Du Plessis took it, but with Van der Walt following him over a line merely 0.035 of a second later. The podium was completed by Maxwell.
Hodgson finished in fourth place with the fifth-place battle between Van Aardt and Downard completing the field.
Kruger’s Birkin 7 was repaired ahead of the second race and due to him setting the fastest lap in Race 1, he started Race 2 from pole position. He took a lights-to-flag Class B victory in the afternoon’s second 10 lap race with Adlem finishing as runner-up further back. Barnard completed the podium following a fierce battle for the position with Hewitt.
Kriel, Human, Schaap and Botes completed the Class B finishers while Falkiner retired after five laps.
Van der Walt’s charge in the latter stages of Race 1 saw him heading up the Class L grid for Race 2 with Du Plessis alongside him. The latter took the early lead as the pair recommenced their battle, now also joined by Maxwell. On Lap 8, an off-track excursion took Van der Walt out of this battle with Du Plessis taking his second win for the day. Maxwell followed him over the line while Hodges rounded-out the podium.
Van Aardt finished in fourth place while Van der Walt crossed the line in fifth place. Downard completed the top-six.
The final round of the 2020 Lotus Challenge will be held at Red Star Raceway on November 13-14.
Published by: Reynad Gelderblom
Picture Caption: Mackie Adlem won Class B in Race 1.
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