After the annual Phakisa 200, where some traditional rivalries were put aside for the duration of the endurance race, normal service will resume when the autoBarn SuperHatch competitors return to their home circuit of Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 13 October for the penultimate round of the 2018 championship.
Louis Scholtz (Car Care Clinic Honda Civic) had a great outing at Phakisa, claiming maximum points after winning Class B on the road and taking the Index of Performance. He has now moved to the top of the overall points standings, 13 points ahead of Almero van Eck (Monster VW Polo) who is in turn just a single point ahead of Zane van Zyl (Credit Guarantee VW Golf). Behind the leading trio, Reno van Heerden (Monster VW Polo) heads the chasing pack, 17 points adrift of van Zyl. Brett Garland (autObarn/Total Honda Civic) is hot on his heels, two points further back with Robert Stoltz (Episerve/Jestick/Lopec Opel Kadett) rounding out the top six.
Although the oil pump in Garland’s Honda failed at Phakisa, forcing him to withdraw from the race he, and normally fierce rival Jonathan du Toit, had completed enough laps to be classified in third place. The points he gained there have kept him in the lead of the Class A championship, fifteen points ahead of Andre Dannhauser (Pro Auto Rubber/Jetstik Opel Corsa). Du Toit will be back behind the wheel of his own Trans Africa Racing Honda Civic and he is always a threat at Zwartkops. He will need to score as many points as possible to have any chance of preventing Garland taking the Class A title. Others who should be in the fight for Class A points include Nic Martin (Rex Diff & Gearbox Opel Kadett), Shaun Smith (Pretoria Noord Toyota RunX), Sandro Godinho (Bidvest Panalpina Logistics VW Golf), Floris Stopforth (VW Polo) and Tyler Scott (Jestik/Episerve/EBC/Lopec Opel Kadett).
The fight at the front of Class B is likely to between Scholtz and van Zyl, although both Mel Spurr (G& H Transport/Wealth Avenue/Castrol VW Polo), who claimed second place behind Scholtz at Phakisa and lies third in the championship standings, and Raais Asmal (Volkswagen Motorsport Polo) should also be in contention for podium positions. Trevor Stringer (Citrine Designs/PTM Excellence Peugeot 206) lies fourth in the Class B championship standings and will be looking to get back on the podium. Steady performances throughout the year have rewarded Shane Forget (4J’s Auto Opel Cub) with fifth on the log. He is within striking distance of Stringer and will be out to get the better of the Peugeot driver at Zwartkops. Others who are likely to be in the Class B mix include Matt Cohen (BHIT/Dunlop VW Polo), Ishmael Baloyi (Trans Africa Racing Honda Civic), John Lange (Spilastar SES Ford Fiesta) and Alex Marques (Ace Auto VW Polo). Wouter Roos will be making his first SuperHatch appearance of the season in his Nathan’s Motorsport VW Polo and could also spring a few surprises.
In Class C, van Eck has managed to extend his advantage at the top of the table to 18 points over stablemate van Heerden after the latter failed to finish at Phakisa. While the pair has been at or near the top of the field in most races this year, newcomer Rudi Kronstrom (Goldwagen Krugersdorp VW Golf) will be out to show his Phakisa win was no fluke. Robert Stoltz (Episerve/Jestick/Lopec Opel Kadett), who also had a disappointing outing in the Free State, remains third in the Class C standings. Craig Priestley (Tactical Fluid Ford Laser), Marius Rossouw (Building Code Consultants/Ilanga Signs/CW Motorsport Opel Corsa) and Freddy Watkins (VW Polo) will all be looking for as many points as possible.
In addition to the regular SuperHatch drivers, the two finalists in the 2018 Volkswagen Driver Search will take to the track in their VW Motorsport Polos in their quest for a factory drive next year. Sixteen hopefuls were selected to start the competition earlier this year when they were subjected to a number of tests. A couple of rounds later, Bryce Pillay and Shaheen Amlay emerged as the two finalists who will fight it out for overall victory.
As usual, Friday will be dedicated to practice sessions before the serious business of the weekend gets underway on Saturday morning. The 15-minute qualifying session gets underway at 07h50 with the first race scheduled to begin at 10h50. The second of the 8-lap races should begin at 14h35. Entry to the circuit will cost R100.00 per adult with students gaining entry for R80.00. Kids under 12 will be admitted free of charge.