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Formula-K Raceway hosted the penultimate round of the South African Rotax MAX Challenge Kart Championships this past weekend, with Rotax competitors making their first appearance in 2024 at the Benoni circuit. Senior MAX driver Brandon van der Walt concluded his national round with an impressive fifth-overall finish to cap off a strong weekend.

The young Pretoria driver made an impressive start to the weekend by qualifying in sixth place out of a 16-kart grid on Friday. During the opening heat on Saturday, he was involved in a tough battle at the front of the midfield pack but managed to hold his position to finish seventh.

Starting seventh for the second heat, Brandon had a good line into Turn 2 and could make up several positions over the opening lap. A tap from behind while under braking sent him wide and offline to lose several positions and drop to tenth. Slightly annoyed and determined to make up some of the lost ground, Brandon courageously fought his way back up to seventh.

However, Brandon saved his best performance for last with a skilful and mature drive in Heat 3 that would see him battle the nation’s top drivers again. Despite a solid start, he would be demoted to tenth after some frenetic racing. Still, a calm head prevailed, and he fought his way back through the field to finish just off the podium in fourth despite picking up a five-second nose-cone infringement penalty after the race. His combined results saw him awarded fifth overall to cap off a good weekend of results.

“If you asked me if I’d take a top-five finish before the weekend, I would have said yes. But after Friday’s issues with the engine I didn’t think we would even be in the top 10 to be honest. The team managed to sort out the issue in time for qualifying and from there on we had some decent pace. I think a podium was potentially on the cards in the end if it weren’t for all the contact and losing out on all those poistions. The pace up front is hectic and once you lose the leaders it’s really tough to make up ground. But I’ll take fifth today and keep working hard, knowing the breakthrough will come. Once again, a big thank you to the team,” said Brandon.

Brandon returns to karting on 20 July, when he will compete in the Northern Regions ROK Kart Championships at Red Star Raceway.

Published by: Motorsport Fanatix

Picture Caption: Brandon van der Walt

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