Saturday, 17 March sees a large contingent of autObarn SuperHatch competitors head for Zwartkops Raceway, west of Pretoria for the second round of their 2018 championship. Around 30 competitors, spread across the three classes that make up the autObarn SuperHatch championship, are expected to line up on the grid at the St Patrick’s Day race meeting.
As is to be expected after the opening round at Midvaal Raceway, there is no clear leader at the top of the overall standings with just a single point separating the top two, and four points the top three. Nic Martin (Rex Diff & Gearbox Opel Kadett) leads the way from Reno van Heerden (KWC VW Polo) and Almero van Eck (Nosler VW Polo). Louis Scholtz (Car Care Clinic Honda Civic) is next up with Tony Hyams (Ford Fiesta) and Brett Garland (autObarn/Total Honda Civic) rounding out the top six.
Class A should provide plenty of action with Garland, who won both races at Midvaal, facing some serious competition. Martin has moved to class A from class B, which he dominated last season, and it will be interesting to see whether he can challenge the likes of Werner Pieterse (Scarlet Sun/Valhalla Spares VW Golf), Andre Dannhauser (Pro Auto Rubber/Jetstik Opel Corsa) Alex Marques (Ace Auto VW Polo) and Jonathan du Toit (Trans Africa Racing Honda Civic). Class A championship leader Garland said, “We will be going all out to repeat our first-round success and try and get a good strong start to the season and build a solid points lead early in the season. Zwartkops Raceway is a very popular circuit with the teams and drivers and all of them like and seem to perform well at this track. It is my home track, so another double win is crucial for me.”
With Martin moving up a class, Scholtz will be out to claim the class B championship lead but a host of drivers will be out with the same aim. Sandro Godinho (Tuga Racing VW Golf), Trevor Stringer (Citrine Designs/PTM Excellence Peugeot 206) and Zane van Zyl (Credit Guarantee/Rim Africa VW Golf) are locked in third place on the log, just 5 points behind Scholtz. Shane Forget (4Js Auto Opel Cub) is just a couple of points further back while Mel Spurr (G& H Transport/Castrol VW Polo) and Ishmael Baloyi (Trans Africa Racing Honda Civic) are also in the mix.
Van Heerden won both races at Midvaal from van Eck to take the class C championship lead and will be looking for more of the same at round 2. Among those aiming to stop the pair taking another one-two finish will be Robert Stoltz (Jetsik/Episerve Ope Kadett), Craig Priestley (Tactical Fluid Ford Laser) and Freddy Watkins (Top Lock/ProLock VW Polo).
Winner of the 2017 Volkswagen Driver Search competition, Raais Asmal, will be making a guest appearance at Zwartkops, gaining valuable experience under race conditions before making his debut at Kyalami a week later.
Practice sessions are scheduled for Friday before the serious business of qualifying and racing gets underway on Saturday. The 15-minute qualifying session gets underway at 08h50 with the opening 8-lap race scheduled to get underway at 12h20. The lights should go out to signal the start of the second race at 15h30.