Brian Joss – Unexpected front runners, brilliant spectacle and two first time winners typified round six of the 2018 Engen Polo Cup championship at the Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria on Saturday August 18.
Having raced and tested at the venue, the Engen Polo Cup contenders went to Zwartkops knowing the basic car setup procedures for the circuit.
But, nothing prepared them for icy, windy weather, that made the finding of pace around the tight and twisty circuit a real challenge.
Experts predicted really tight competition, with surprises in store for the regular front runners.
Saturday morning’s official qualifying confirmed the expectations, with the lap times of the top 17 competitors covered by one second.
After the session and Superpole dash Keegan Campos (Campos Transport Polo) occupied pole position, marginally ahead of Justin Oates (URUP Polo), Darren Oates (Payen Polo), Clinton Bezuidenhout (Glyco Polo), Jonathan Mogotsi (VW Motorsport Polo) and Delon Thompson (MF Autobody Polo).
Juan Gerber (DAF Trucks Polo), Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Health Polo), Tasmin Pepper (Pepper Racing Polo), Shaun La Reservee (Alpine Motors Polo), Benjamin Habig (Just Tools Polo) and Jason Campos (Rurn One Insurance Polo) filled out the top dozen places.
During race one youngster Justin Oates made full use of his front row grid position, by executing a flawless start and slotting into the opening race lead.
He stayed there to win, resisting relentless pressure from second place finisher Keegan Campos plus Darren Oates, Bezuidenhout, Mogotsi and Gerber.
Top championship contenders Kruger and Pepper took the seventh and eighth places, ahead of La Reservee, Jason Campos, Benjamin Habig (Just Tools Polo) and Thompson.
In race two, starting from pole position, Keegan Campos blasted into the lead at the start and there he stayed, to eventually win.
He also set the day’s quickest Engen Polo Cup lap time at 1 minute 12,150 seconds.
Jonathan Mogotsi drove brilliantly to take the second place, finishing ahead of Darren Oates, Gerber, Justin Oates, Jason Campos, Habig and Thompson.
With his performance, Mogotsi has now climbed to second position in the championship.
Jeffrey Kruger finished ninth this time around, followed by Altan Bouw (Ferodo Polo), Daniel Duminy (SMD Group Polo) and Paulus Franken (Manitou Polo).
Tasmin Pepper failed to score points after suffering a collision with the car of Bezuidenhout, which dropped both drivers well down the field.
Pepper’s misfortune assisted Jeffrey Kruger in hanging on to the 2018 Engen Polo Cup championship lead.
The next round of the 2018 Engen Polo Cup championship will be held at the Western Cape Killarney circuit on Saturday September 27.
CAPTION: Icy conditions upset status quo. Picture: Motorpress