The Alert Engine Parts WP GTi Challenge delivered its usual magic at Killarney’s cool midwinter Power Series on Saturday. A healthy 26-car entry saw to it that the Cape crowd’s heart was warmed by brilliant racing across the board, with the field sporting new Dunlop decals to celebrate a closer new collaboration with the series’ long time tyre supplier.
Jurie Swart served notice of what was to come when he took pole position by over half a second in his Summit Racing Polo 6R from his national Polo Cup rival Charl Visser’s similar Charl Electric car. Swart’s Summit teammate Nathan Victor lined up third, with Kai van Zyl’s Unlimited Auto car next up from Colin Nicholas Meder’s ITT Polo, Dillon Joubert’s TAC Steel machine and G+A Motorsport Class C refugee Schalk Geldenhuys.
Another Polo Cup frontrunner, Tate Bishop and his Angri Jetta 2 CLI made an even bigger impression on Class B as he put almost a second on impressive newcomer John-Henri Vaughan’s Maps Polo Classic, Kyle Wiltshire’s Summit Polo, Grant Cloete’s Upstream Golf 2 and Ian Kapp’s Hydracor Polo 6R. Comeback kid Byron Mitchell‘s Dolphin Engineering Golf 1, newcomer, younger Visser brother Kyle’s Charl Electric Polo, another returning driver, Zaki Hendricks’ Wheel Worx Polo, Wayne Field’s Jetta and Marc Thompson’s Polo were next up.
There was a major surprise in Class C as GTi Challenge veteran Nian du Toit unexpectedly turned up and put his red NDT machine on pole position for the all-Golf 1 GTi Class C. He led brothers Bryan and Dylan van Eden and championship leader Chase Herholdt’s Unlimited Auto car. Cooltouch racer Raaziegh Harris, Sulaiman Effemdi’s Panic Plumbing car, Ruan Uys, Tahier Khalpey and Spice Mecca man Nur Abass closed off the grid.
Jurie Swart made off to an easy lights to flag race 1 win by 2.8 seconds from Colin Meder. Charl Visser dropped back, but he and Dillon Joubert soon both passed Nathan Victor early on. Victor then stopped mid-distance, Schalk Geldenhuys lasted a lap less and Kai van Zyl did not start. Tate Bishop was untroubled in Class B as he made off to an easy first race win from Kyle Wiltshire. Kyle had to fight back to regain second from a fast starting Ian Kapp, with Grant Cloete keeping a watching brief. Behind them, Vaughan, Mitchell, Thompson and the returning Hendricks entertained, with Field and Kyle Visser further back.
Chase Herholdt made a good start as Nian du Toit dropped back into the Class C Brat Pack early on, but he was soon back on pace as he and understudy Herholdt controlled the race from the front, with Chase’s blue car taking the win by just 0.2 seconds. It was wild behind them as Matthew Rowe, Seth van de Abeele, Raaziegh Harris, Dylan and Ryan van Eden battled it out, with rookies Sulaiman Effemdi, Tahier Khalpey, Ruan Uys and Nur Abass in pursuit.
Swart had to work harder to hold off Charl Visser’s attention in race 2 with Meder and Victor in pursuit as van Zyl got the better of Joubert early on. Geldenhuys and Danie Sandenbergh’s Eikestad Jetta also found a way past Joubert late in the race. Bishop had to overcome Kapp and a racy Vaughan early on in Class B. Vaughn however stopped, leaving Wiltshire and Mitchell to entertain in a splendid dice for third as Cloete, Hendricks, Kyle Visser and Field followed.
Nian du Toit dominated Class C from Dylan and Ryan van Eden, who both overcame Harris and Herholdt later in the race. Effendi also found a way past Herholdt, but Harris was excluded to see Effendi up to fourth from Herholdt, Seth van de Abeele Khalpey and Uys.
Overall, Jurie Swart ultimately took an easy win for the day from Charl Visser, Colin Meder and Dillon Joubert as Swart opened his Class A championship lead. Tate Bishop also did his title hopes no harm at all with the Class B win for the day over Ian Kapp, Kyle Wiltshire and Byron Mitchell. Wildcard Nian du Toit took the Brat Pack winner’s trophy from Dylan van Eden , while Chase Herholdt consolidated his Class C championship advantage in third.
It’s all change for the Alert GTi Challenge next as the series heads to Aldo Scribante in Port Elizabeth for its annual away race on Saturday 13 August.