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What Extreme Festival 2023 Final Round Report
Where Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria
When Saturday 14 October 2023
Community South Africa National

Not all champions crowned at crazy Zwartkops

Zwartkops Raceway delivered a seismic day of racing as the 2023 South African National Championship Extreme Festival came to a most dramatic head at the Pretoria circuit on Saturday. Bradley Liebenberg was crowned GTC SupaCup champion, Charl Michael Visser clinched the CompCare Polo Cup title, and Julian Fameliaris took the Mobil 1 V8 Supercar title, but Saood Variawa and Robert Wolk must wait to learn who is Global Touring Car champion…

The premier category failed to crown its 2023 champion following an intense series of events through the day. Championship leader Wolk qualified his BMW on pole, but second on the grid Variawa’s Toyota jumped ahead into turn 2. The two then clashed in turn 4 and both of them, and Variawa’s teammate Michael van Rooyen ended up off track. Nathi Msimanga’s third factory Toyota found himself leading Wolk’s teammate Julian van der Watt’s Corolla and Andrew Rackstraw, and Wolk and Variawa fighting back through the pack.

Msimanga and van der Watt then clashed, leaving Nathi off and Julian leading home from Rackstraw and Wolk. But van der Watt and Wolk were penalised to see Rackstraw win from Variawa and van der Watt. The Toyotas then played the team game in the season finale as Variawa led Msimanga and van Rooyen home ahead of Wolk, van der Watt and overall winner Rackstraw. But with protests flying and some old disputes still unsettled, the series opted to rather not declare a champion at this stage.

There was less bumping and barging in the GTC SupaCup as Bradley Liebenberg wrapped up the 2023 South African Championship, his second in three years, in style with two wins off pole position. Despite a valiant early effort, title rival Jonathan Mogotsi could not do better than deliver two second places in the two races, as his rival sped off, leaving Jono to end second in the championship. Arnold Neveling and Tate Bishop shared out the second places as champion Danie van Niekerk won both Masters races.

Charl Michael Visser wrapped up the 2023 CompCare Polo Cup championship with third in the opening race, as his title rivals, Dawie van der Merwe and Anthony Pretorius won the two races. Pretorius took the first heat off pole position from van der Merwe and Visser, who did what he had to and followed Dawie home to clinch the title. Jason Loosemore was fourth from Nathan Victor and Farhaan Basha. Van der Merwe took a red flag interrupted race 2 from pole position ahead of Basha, Pretorius. Visser and Victor.

Red flags also flew in the opening G+H Extreme Supercar race, but the big news there was Stuart White setting a new 58.1 overall Zwartkops GT lap record despite his Aston Martin retiring in the first heat. Franco Scribante’s Porsche took all three race wins from Jonathan du Toit’s Lamborghini, while Charl Arangies’ Mercedes AMG and Xolile Letlaka’s Lamborghini shared out the thirds.

With Cape lad Troy Dolinschek already declared the 2023 Investchem Formula 1600 champion, the fight was for second. Compatriot Jason Coetzee soon wrapped that up with a maiden race 1 victory from Siyabonga Mankonkwana and pole man Alex Vos, with Dolinschek fourth from Shrien Naidoo and KC Ensor-Smith. Mankonkwana then made it two maiden winners on the day as in race 2 from Vos, Nicholas van Weely, Antwan Geldenhuys and Storm Lanfear. Ian Scofield and Graham Hepburn shared the Formula Ford Kent wins.

The SunBet ZX10 Masters provided splendidly close fought motorcycle action as ever as pole man Trevor Westman beat Damion Purificati and title fighters Jayson Lamb and Graeme van Breda in a splendid first race. Westman beat Purificati and van Breda to the second race win after Lamb crashed and was sent to hospital to check a concussion, to hand van Breda the title advantage with a round left to race.

Taariq Adam took pole position in the Gazoo Toyota Racing Yaris League. But a first lap accident eliminated three cars as Sa’aad Variawa and Karah Hill overhauled Adam for the restarted race win. Champion Variawa did the double in race 2, from Bjorn Bertholdt and Naicker. Pole man Setshaba Mashigo stopped early in the GR86 race to leave Chad Luckhoff to fend Mark Jones and Denis Droppa for the win. Luckhoff did the double in race 2 from Toyota suit Riaan Esterhuysen and the recovered champion Mashigo.

Pole man Julian Fameliaris drove his Corvette to opening Mobil 1 V8 Supercars victory from Jaguar XKR duo Mackie Adlem and Franco di Matteo and Thomas Reib’s Lumina, with the same top three ahead of Warren Lombard’s Falcon in race 2. Outgoing champion
Adlem beat Fameliaris to the third win, but that was not enough to prevent Fameliaris from being crowned champion, as Lombard and Terry Wilford’s Mustang followed them home.

With the majority of South Africa’s 2023 National Circuit Racing Champions crowned after a thrilling day of racing, the local motorsport community now waits with bated breath to learn how MSA decides its Global Touring Car champion, and who that may be…

Issued on behalf of Extreme Festival

Photography by: Andre Laubscher

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