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Daniel Pienaar Technical High school in the small town of Kariega, made history last year, not only for being home to the oldest technical school in South Africa with motorsport as an official school sport, but also significantly, for Motorsport South Africa scooping the prestigious international FIA President’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Award for the work being done at the school.

This year the Tigers at Daniel Pienaar are making headlines again, this time with the announcement of their 2024 Rally season drivers. “For many young people this is the start of their F1 dream or the stepping stone into the exciting world of motorsport,” says Francois Vermaak who heads up motorsport at the school. He says motorsport at school level definitely has an impact as three of DP’s former learners are now navigating at professional level.

Vermaak says DP Motorsport started their testing season in earnest this month with three hopeful candidates testing their skills on the windy dirt roads of the infamous Jachtvlakte on Friday 8 March. The three students had to complete a short
rally stage to test the drivers on certain criteria. Vermaak says it is not always who is the fastest driver, but rather which driver demonstrates the best driving style, who has the better feel for the car, communicates well with his/her navigator and reacts well under pressure.

The testing went well with all three candidates taking the cars through its paces and at the end of the day it was Grade 12 senior, Winley Martin, who was chosen to pilot the flagship VW Polo 1.2tsi with a brand new navigator, DP teacher, Miss Kaylin Kapp who only started at the school last year. Winley, an avid spinner in Kariega in his spare time, and Kapp, an avid motorcycle enthusiast, hit it off immediately and should make an excellent team. “Fortunately Winley is also old enough to have his Learners Licence so that bodes well for training,” says Vermaak.

The second hotly contested driving spot went to less experienced 16-year-old Tashné Wait who will be piloting the VW Citi Golf 1.4i with the highly experienced teacher navigator, Mr Wesley Schultz. Vermaak says he was really impressed with Tashné’s ability. “We were so impressed with her calm and collected driving style and her ability to catch on so quickly to concepts. She also has a good feel for the car,” he says.

Both of these talented young drivers will have a jam-packed year of racing and will compete in their first rally on 6 April at Scribante.

Vermaak himself, who is passionate about the sport and is always looking for ways to get more involved so he can bring back value to the learners, will once again be running the DP Teacher’s team with navigator and ex student, Handré van Schalkwyk.

Motorsport South Africa’s (MSA) Chairman of the Safety and Technical Panel, Sparky Bright, says he is so proud of the progress the school continues to make in the field of motorsport. Both Bright and Vermaak share the same philosophy that it is never just about the racing – but more about the other world of opportunities that become available like marshalling, timekeeping, engineering, motor mechanic and other exciting careers. The school is also doing a great job in empowering women in motorsport. “We would like to see more schools like Daniel Pienaar making such a significant difference and we applaud the new 2024 Rally drivers and navigators and wish them a successful and safe season further,” concludes Bright.


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