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Van der Merwe, Visser win opening CompCare Polo Cup races

What    CompCare Polo Cup 2023 Round1 Report
Where    Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit
When    24-25 February 2023
Community    South Africa National

The CompCare Polo Cup racing season got off to a thoroughly entertaining start as curtain raiser to the Kyalami 9 Hour over the weekend. A fresh and colourful field bristling with rookies and new talent turned up at Kyalami, but it was the experienced drivers who turned up trumps around the daunting Grand Prix Circuit as Dawie van der Merwe and Charl Visser took the race wins.

With no Superpole session due to the tight schedule, Visser took an easy pole position in his Universal Motorsport Polo ahead of former teammate van der Merwe now driving for Nathan’s Motorsport. Rookie Anthony Pretorius slotted in an impressive third in his Bucket List Racing OMP car, ahead of fellow first full season Polo Cup lad, Cape Town driver Nathan Victor’s Summit Racing machine. The experienced Dean Venter’s VDN Auto M Town Polo rounded off the top six.

Another Polo Cup regular, Karah Hill’s Kalex car lined up seventh from Bryce Pillay’s Techtisa Polo, the returning Farhaan Basha’s QVWI Polo, Jagger Robertson’s Liqui Moly Rowan Tree car and JRT lad Ethan Coetzee in tenth on his return following his East London crash last year. Universal driver Jason Loosemore, Reaobaka Komane Nathan’s car, Steaming Bean lad Shivesh Bissoon, Mo Karodia’s Fast 5 Polo, AF Fans lass Tyler Robinson followed on her main circuit debut. Fellow rookies, Jeandre Marais’ Syrabix and Roshaan Goodman Upward Spiral Polos rounded off the grid.

Charl Visser got the jump off pole position in the hot midday Friday Kyalami sunshine but missed a gear to second. That allowed Dawie van der Merwe, Nathan Victor and Anthony Pretorius to power past. Visser was quickly back past Pretorius, but pandemonium erupted in the Esses, rendering Karah Hill hors de combat and seeing the safety car dispatched. The marshals managed to bury the recovery vehicle in the sand trap and it took four laps to return to racing.

Van der Merwe opened a reasonable gap off the restart as Visser fought his way back past Victor and then set about closing down the gap. Sadly the four wasted laps and the race running to time robbed eager Friday afternoon Kyalami race fans of a door to door battle, as van der Merwe edged the frustrated Visser for the win. Behind them, Anthony Pretorius disposed of Victor to end third.

Jagger Robertson muscled his way through the chaos to end up fourth ahead of Victor and Farhaan Basha, who put in a great drive to sixth. Dean Venter was next from Jason Loosemore, Bryce Pillay, Reaobaka Komane, Shivvy Bissoon, Jeandre Marais, Mo Karodia, Tyler Robinson, Roshaan Goodman and Ethan Coetzee. Charl Visser made a little recompense by adding the fastest lap point to his pole position bonus.

Charl Visser made no mistakes in race 2 on an already warm Saturday morning to lead Dawie van der Merwe and Jagger Robertson away. There was drama early in the first lap when Reaobaka Komane lost the rear in Sunset. Bryce Pillay and Nathan Victor went off with him and the trio ended in the gravel, but all three managed to re-join further back. Karah Hill, who had made a good start after major repairs early on, stopped just as quickly with an issue.

Visser escaped early on, but Robertson found his way past van der Merwe and closed back down on his teammate, bringing van der Merwe with to deliver what proved to be an intriguing game of push to pass tactics. Behind them, Anthony Pretorius led Farhaan Basha, a happier Jason Loosemore, and Dean Venter. Basha passed Pretorius for fourth as Loosemeore’s day and a difficult weekend came to an early end.

Up front Visser resisted his teammate’s pressure, keeping a push to pass in hand to edge away on the penultimate lap. Van der Merwe did the same, closing right up on Robertson and pounced with an outside to undercut move in the final turn to gather just enough extra momentum to pip Jagger in a photo finish at the line. So Visser took the win from race 1 winner van der Merwe, an on form, Basha, Pretorius and Dean Venter who scored an extra point for fastest lap of the race.

Ethan Coetzee was seventh from Nathan Victor, Mo Karodia, Tyler Robinson, Jeandre Marais, Bryce Pillay, who was given a place back over Reaobaka Komane over their opening lap tete-a-tete, Roshaan Goodman and a misfiring Shivesh Bissoon. Race 2 winner Charl Visser took the day overall over race 1 winner Dawie van der Merwe, thanks to a larger winning margin in race 2, from Jagger Robertson, Anthony Pretorius, Farhaan Basha and Dean Venter.

Visser’s two bonus points also give him a slender early CompCare Polo championship lead over van der Merwe, Robertson, Pretorius, Venter and Basha leading up to the second round. That’s at Killarney’s Cape Town Extreme Festival in three weeks, on Saturday 18 March.

Volkswagen Motorsport thanks its partners CompCare Medical Scheme, Dunlop, Ferodo, Motul and VW Genuine Parts.

Issued on behalf of Volkswagen Motorsport

(Photography by:  Andre Laubscher)

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