Killarney wins give Swart a Zwartkops boost

Jurie Swart Junior bounced back from a difficult start to his 2019 Burly Pro WP GTi Challenge campaign with a full house of a pole position, two race wins and a fastest lap to get his title aspirations back on track aboard his Alpine Autohaus VW Polo Vivo at Killarney on Saturday. It was also a confidence booster for Swart, who now heads for his next SA national Polo Cup encounter in Pretoria on the front foot.

“I went into the weekend really wanting to win — our first round GTi Challenge weekend never went quite as planned and I was disappointed, so needed to turn it around with a win,” Jurie, also known as Umpie, explained. “I had strong pace and qualifying was really good — the weather was not ideal, but my lap was solid and I was delighted to grab pole, even though my new car is not quite there yet.

“Race 1 was an insane battle for the lead — a really close race with Nian du Toit. “I eventually managed to get ahead of him with three laps to go, by when my brakes were shot — it felt like I was braking on cardboard, but I managed to get the job done to take my first win of the season.

“Race 2 was a different story — I only qualified third after all that dicing in heat 1 and still had the 30kg winner’s ballast on board. “I made a pretty good start and moved to second, but Nian had opened a little gap and I had to give it everything I possibly could to catch him, putting in a series of super-quick laps to haul him in.

“I also used a bit too much of the car to get that done, so it was becoming a bit of a handful and dicing with Nian, we went side-by-side through turns 2 and 3 and that allowed Jano van der Westhuizen to catch us, so we ended up three abreast down the back straight. “I managed to pull off the cut-back on both of them out of turn 5 and was able to control it from there, so job done!

“I am really happy about the weekend — a huge confidence booster ahead of our next Polo Cup encounter up at Zwartkops on 6 April, which was a main reason for me to get that result this weekend. “Now I can’t wait for our trip up to Gauteng.” Umpie and the GAP Motorsport team are now busy with final preparations for the second round of the Falken SA national championship VW Polo Cup at the Pretoria circuit, following a promising debut at Dezzi in KZN last month.