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What PABAR VW Challenge Round 8 Report
Where Red Star Raceway, Delmas
When Saturday 21 October 2023
Community Gauteng Regional

Atkinson, Nousias take Pabar VW Class titles at Red Star

The Pabar VW Challenge visited Red Star Raceway near Delmas for its penultimate round at the Gauteng Regional Festival races on Saturday. The upshot of which is that Rory Atkinson and Yotti Nousias have respectively been crowned Class A and Class C champions, while the overall and Class B will go down to the final round at Zwartkops in November.

Class A champion elect Rory Atkinson made his intentions patently clear by by qualifying his BHIT Industrial Transport Polo a full second faster than his championship rival brothers, Bevin Masters’ CPS Warehouse machine and Performance Master Wayne, another half second back. He lined up alongside Charl Smalberger’s Sabertek Polo on row 2 on the all 6R grid.

Polo Cup refugee Dawie van der Merwe returned to Pabar VW Challenge on the inside of the third row, with Waldie Meintjes for company, followed by Dean Ross’s Norbrake Distributors entry, and Mike Barbaglia’s Pabar car. His old rivals, Chris Dale’s Pozidrive Blue Belt entry and Eco Simply Solar man Luigi Ferro were next up ahead of PSA Africa lass Nicole Lombard.

Running behind the Class A pack, all but Class C champion Yotti Nousias’ We Fix Cars Vivo had brother Stelio’s We Buy & Sell Cars version running protection alongside him on the front row of the brat pack grid, with his only real title rival, Philip Croeser’s ATE Brakes car third. Ian Walker was back in Class C alongside him in his Mellow Veio car, with Andy Gossman Goosmotorsport Vivo, Insurisk brothers Michael and Dimitri Zapheriou, Tyron Pillay’s VMS Pain car and Dino Smit closing off the grid.

Class B qualified and raced alone, with Stuart Mack’s Himoinsa Class X prototype 1 litre turbo for company and on pole position. The big news was however alongside Mack on the grid as Superbike convert Anthony Lessing put his Csol RM Realtors Polo onto Class B pole position on his Pabar VW Challenge debut. The last man to do such a thing, reigning champion Hannes Scheepers started second in his Dainfern Dental Studio.

Dubcorp lad Shiren Rajpaul continued to impress in third ahead of Pierluigi Muzzulini’s FSS International car and Class B leader Ethan Coetzee’s JRT Racing Experience entry, Mo Karodia’s Fast 5 car, Eco Simply Solar lad Tinahe Ncube and Jacques Hayes’ Platinum Wheels entry. Francois van Zyl’s Jesus Saves car, Adriaan de Beer Ukwazi entry, Elio Muzzulini’s FSS Polo, Manotella man Martin de Beer and JRT lad Milan Emslie closed off the grid.

After a lengthy delay to clean the circuit after another category car laid oil along most of it, the first Pabar VW Challenge A and C races got underway and ran pretty much as expected as Atkinson roared into the distance with Bevin Masters in pursuit while brother Wayne dealt with Smalberger. Behind them, Barbaglia had a great start, while Dawie van der Merwe went the other way and it took a few laps for the order to return to the expected.

Just as it all seemed settled however, Rory Atkinson somehow managed to out brake himself, letting Masters brothers Bevin and Wayne through to an unexpected bonus family 1-2. Atkinson held on to third from Smalberger and van der Merwe, who drove a strong race from the back, Meintjes and Ross. Barbaglia won his private battle with Ferro as Nicole Lombard came home tenth after Chris Dale stopped mid-distance.

Back in Class C meanwhile, comeback kid Stelio initially led log leader Yotti before a little brotherly spat that was finally resolved Yotti’s way. Behind them, Philip Croeser enjoyed an untroubled run to third ahead of Andy Gossman after Ian Walker’s car expired. Dimitri Zapheriou ended fifth after brother Michael was also rendered hors de combat, with Tyron Pillay and Dino Smit next.

Stuart Mack made off on his own in the experimental Class X machine to leave Hannes Scheepers to pass and then fend rookie Anthony Lessing off at the head of the separate, opening Class B race. Behind them, points leader Ethan Coetzee drove a strong race to climb to third and close Scheepers and Lessing down, before taking the discretion route over that of valour to follow his title rival home and minimise the deficit

There was drama behind as Mohammed Karodia exited on the first corner before Shiren Rajpaul stopped a few laps later, with their incident later deemed to be of the racing type. while Pierluigi Muzzulini and Tinahe Ncube swapped a bit of paint at the same spot a few laps later. By the time the dust had settled, it was Muzzulini who ended fourth from Hayes, Adriaan de Beer, van Zyl, a battered Ncube, Martin de Beer and Elio Muzzulini after Milan Emslie’s race came to an early, smoky end.

Rory Atkinson made no mistakes in race 2 to storm to a lights to flag victory from Bevin and Wayne Masters and put enough pints between him and them to secure yet another Class A title. Dawie van der Merwe played a little less catch up second time round, but ended a position up in fourth from, Smalberger, Meintjes, Ross and PMO entry Miguel Dias who endured a tough qualifying and opening race but bounced beck nicely in heat 2. Chris Dale benefited Mike Barbaglia ‘s early demise to take ninth from Luigi Ferro and Nicole Lombard.

Like Atkinson up front, young Yotti Nousias cruised to the Class C title with another typically leisurely lights to flag win. Behind him, Ian Walker took over Stelio Nousias’ car and drove from the back to second, while Andy Gossman got his hands on Philip Croeser and beat him to third from Dimitri Zapheriou, Tyron Pillay and Dino Smit after Michael Zapheriou stopped late in the race.

The second Class B race proved exceptional. While Class X man Mack made off up front, Rajpaul initially led the B race from Scheepers and Coetzee at the head of a wild swarm fighting over third. That became a spat for second after Scheepers went ahead and the bunch soon engulfed Rajpaul, but it was Ethan Coetzee who delivered a really impresive drive.

With his blue Polo clearly down on power, Ethan initially held off the attentions of Pierluigi Muzzulini for second, but he stopped, leaving Jacques Hayes and Anthony Lessing snapping at Coetzee’s heels. Then they fell over each other in pursuit, eliminating Lessing, as Rajpaul retook the chase, closing right down, only to miss a gear to let Karodia into third. But he too could not find a way past the determined Coetzee, who once again minimised the damage.

So Class X man Stuart Mack won the race from B winner Hannes Scheepers and Ethan Coetzee. Karodia was third in B from Rajpaul, Francois van Zyl, Adriaan de Beer, Milan Emslie, and Elio Muzzulini the last runner in tenth. Mack won Class X for the day, while title rivals Scheepers beat Coetzee in Class B with the rest of those overall results subject to official sanction. Coetzee now takes a provisional ten-point advantage to the season finale

Overall, Rory Atkinson recovered to take the day and Class A from Bevin and Wayne Masters, Charl Smalberger, Dawie van der Merwe and Waldie Meintjes in Class A. Yotti Nousias took an easy Class C overall victory of attrition from Andy Gossman, Philip Croeser, Dimitri Zapheriou, Tyron Pillay, and Dino Smit.

In so doing, Rory Atkinson wrapped up the Class A title yet again, while Yotti Nousias clinched his first Challenge title in Class C. The Class B title, and who will carry the illustrious Pabar VW Challenge Number One Plate will be decided when the 2023 championship wraps up at Zwartkops’ Regional Festival Finale on Saturday 18 November. Diarise that one now!

*VW Challenge salutes its partners, Pabar Automotive Pressings, Habot Performance Lubricants, Dunlop tyres, Habot Performance Lubricants, ATS Motorsport Supplies, Platinum Wheels, Habot Synthetic Oils, ATE Brakes, Norbrake, Eco Simply Solar, Insurisk insurance brokers, Pozidrive, Eeziparts, Van der Linde Developments, MDS Consulting Engineers, FSS Logistics, and Bush & Buck.

Issued on behalf of PABAR VW Challenge

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