2016 VW Challenge gets underway at Phakisa

A field of around 35 cars will take to the track at Phakisa Freeway outside Welkom to signal the start of the 2016 Comsol VW Challenge season on Saturday, 27 February.

Rory Atkinson
Rory Atkinson

In class A defending champion Rory Atkinson (Comsol Polo) will be looking to defend his title and claim the overall title in 2016 but he will have his work cut out for him. 2015 champion James Hurley (The Starter Pack Company Polo) had a disappointing season last year but at the final event of the year he sorted out the car problems that had been plaguing him all year and went on to claim both race wins on the day. He will be looking to dethrone Atkinson as will Waldie Meintjes (LTR / Marty’s Body & Spray Polo). Iain Stevenson, in the second Comsol Polo, and Wayne Crous (King Price Insurance Polo) should also be up with the leaders.

Tasmin Pepper (Pepper Racing / Campos Transport / Alpine Motors Polo) has spent the past few seasons driving Polos on the national circuit and will be looking to put that experience to good use when she joins the VW Challenge brigade at Phakisa. Double Engen VW Cup champion, Sheldon van der Linde, is scheduled to make a guest appearance in the car normally driven by Devon Piazza-Musso before he jets off to Europe to continue his racing career.

Nic Clarke (Central Technical Services Polo) had a relatively easy path to the 2015 overall and class B titles but is unlikely to have it quite such a smooth run in 2016. 2014 class C champion Jacques Smith (Hydra Arc Polo), Brad Hall (Hellermann Tyton Racing Polo), Darren Nathan (Sextrader Polo) and Francois van Zyl (Jesus Saves Polo) are just some of the drivers that will be on the grid trying to spoilt Clarke’s plans. Michael Harris (Pepper Racing Polo) will be making his VW Challenge debut while Deon Holliday Jnr (Snap On SA Polo) will be making a welcome return to the series. The Stewart bothers, Daine and Mile, have also shown they have the speed to run with the leaders in their Polos.

While the class C cars might not be quite as powerful as those in the other two classes the racing is generally even closer. A number of new competitors – John Johnstone (Circle Group Polo), and Grant and Adriaan Bal in their Spar supported Polos – have joined class C and make picking a winner very difficult. Elke van Vledder (Golf) should be up near the front as should Shaun Crous (Polo), Duncan Marais (Golf), Philip Croeser (ATE Polo) and Graham Savage (Goldwagen JHB CBD and Wynberg Golf).

Qualifying and two races will take place on Saturday.