The 2020 Car Care Clinic SuperHatch championship was reduced to just five rounds after the five-month-long Covid-19 enforced break in the middle of the season. This has meant that every point is vital and the extra points on offer at the Phakisa 200, held at the Free State circuit on Saturday, 3 October have seen some changes at the top of the championship log.
Before the Phakisa 200 got underway, the drivers contested an 8-lap sprint race on Saturday morning. Andre Dannhauser (Pro Auto Rubber Opel Corsa) took advantage of the scrap between Jonathan du Toit (Trans Africa Racing Honda Civic) and Andre de Lange (ACD Welkom Hyundai Getz) to snatch the lead while the other two were concentrating on each other. De Lange’s race was, however, short lived as the Getz broke its valve springs and retired, leaving du Toit to catch and eventually find a way past Dannhauser to take the win.
In Class B, Mel Spurr (Car Care Clinic/AKA Signage VW Polo) grabbed the lead from the start and was able to pull away from the chasing pack to take a comfortable win. Nic Martin (Rex Diff & Gearbox Peugeot 207) got the better of Donavan le Roux (Mechanical Masters/N4 Autocraft Honda Civic) to lead that pack, but fuel supply problems robbed his car of power and he dropped down the field to finish fifth. Le Roux claimed second ahead of Courtney Nicholl (Volkswagen Motorsport VW Polo) with Ishmael Baloyi (Trans Africa Racing Honda Civic) in fourth.
As he has done so often this season, Shane Forget (4Js Auto Opel Cub) ran away from the rest at the front of Class C to take a comfortable win with Almero van Eck (Taurus VW Polo) getting the better of Craig Priestley (Tactical Fluid Ford Laser) to claim second.
Qualifying for the Phakisa 200 should have taken place on Friday afternoon, but a rain shower while the faster cars were out in the split session resulted in many of the slower cars being close to the front as they had the benefit of a dry track. This prompted the stewards of the meeting to declare the session null and void and it was re-run on Saturday morning.
In Class A, the ACD Welkom Hyundai Getz of Lenard Archer and Andre de Lange led the way although they were unable to take their place on the grid after the motor let go during the sprint race. Jonathan du Toit, with wife Tarryn sharing the driving duties, was next up ahead of Dannhauser and Francois Henning (Select Registrations VW Polo). Martin invited Chris Davison to share the driving duties with him and the Peugeot led the way in Class B from Baloyi and Chad ten Doeschate in the Honda with the Honda of le Roux and Kenneth Ella in third. Spurr and Nicholl were in fourth and fifth respectively. Forget led Class C from Priestley with van Eck having to start from the back of the grid after not setting a time.
With the Phakisa circuit known to be hard on tyres, most of the SuperHatch competitors opted for a conservative approach to the 200km race. This paid off for Dannhauser, who took the Class A lead when Jonathan du Toit was forced to make an unscheduled pitstop to replace a right front tyre shortly before quarter distance. Once in the lead, Dannhauser never relinquished it and took a comfortable victory. The du Toits were able to work their way back through the field to finish second in class, just ahead of Henning.
Unfortunately for Martin and Davison, their race was over almost before it began. The problems that forced Martin to slow in the morning sprint race returned even more severely and they were out after just a couple of laps. Baloyi and ten Doeschate took a comfortable Class B win in the end while Spurr had to fight off the le Roux/Ella Honda to take second. Nicholl’s first Phakisa 200 outing came to a premature end shortly before half distance when mechanical problems sidelined him.
Forget looked to have things under control in Class C but his car came to a halt shortly before the finish allowing van Eck to take the win. Priestley finished second while Forget had to settle for third.
In the Index of Performance standings, Dannhauser took Class A from Henning and du Toit. Class B went to Spurr from le Roux/Ella and Baloyi/ten Doeschate while van Eck took Class C from Priestley.
With just one round of the championship left to run it is close at the top of the standings. Forget has a slender three-point advantage over Spurr at the top of the overall standings, with his good Phakisa points haul moving Dannhauser up to third. In Class A, du Toit leads the way from Dannhauser, who started the season in Class C. Spurr is almost certain to take the Class B crown this year. She leads the way by 18 points from Martin with le Roux another four points back in third. Forget also holds an 18-point advantage at the top of Class C over Priestley so must feel fairly confident heading into the final round which takes place at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 7 November.