GTi Challenge Thrilled

The cheapercars GTi Challenge delivered stunning action at Killarney

The weather may have been cold and miserable, but the GTI Challenge brought to you by Auto certainly delivered its regular red hot action at Killarney’s races on Saturday. Being a regional event, the Power Series weekend went on in spite of national lockdown restrictions. But there was drama when an electrical failure in the tower saw qualifying cancelled on Saturday morning. So the grid was set by each driver’s fastest lap in the last race. And no pole position bonuses were paid, or penalty ballast levied.


There was more drama behind the scenes when Class A leader Marco Busi was forced to withdraw his Automan Polo 6 Cup when he tested Covid positive in the week. That left Jurie ‘Umpie’ Swart on ‘pole’ position ahead of an all Polo 6 Cup Class A grid in his Alpine Autohaus car. Jason Coetzee’s Mint Wraps JC Coachworks machine stood second on a promising 20-car line-up, in spite of all the challenges. Dillon Joubert’s Powder Coating World TAC Steel Polo started third from Kai van Zyl’s Unlimited Racing Angri car, ITT man Colin Meder Jr and the returning Jano van der Westhuizen.

Auto writer, Giordano Lupini’s Bullion IT Banhoek Chilli Oil Jetta 2 CLI started on the front row of the Class B grid. Alongside class championship rival Eden Thompson and his MAD Somerset Refrigeration Polo 6. Jaco Lambert’s TL Golf 1 GTi was third from Ian Kapp’s Hydracor Polo 5, Grant Cloete’s Upstream Golf 2 GTi. Lady racer Nadia Nair’s Polo Playa, Marc Thompson’s Somerset Refrigeration Polo Classic and Wayne Field’s Coetzee’s Coachworks Jetta 2 CLI.

Class C was a little thin on numbers following the recent chaos and attrition in the Brat Pack. Championship leader Kyle Wiltshire lined up alongside rookie Angri rival Tate Bishop on the front row. G&A Motorsport Supplies father & son duo, Jacques and Schalk Geldenhuys were next up ahead of Matthew Rowe’s Veldt Reared car and CarSmith man Colin Smith in the all-Golf 1 GTi baby class.


The first race started with the pole men taking charge at the head of the individual classes as each pack set off on its own at five second intervals. But there was drama at turn 5 late on lap 2. Wayne Field somehow descended into the Class C spat to be nurfed by Schalk Geldenhuys under braking for Turn 5. Field spun and ended up being clobbered by Matthew Rowe. That brought out the red flag to stop the race and clear the track as Field and Rowe were rendered hors de combat.

The race restarted from scratch in a 5-lap super-sprint. Jurie Swart made no mistakes as he set off on his charge to a lights to flag win. Jason Coetzee fought back from a slow start to pass Colin Meder and Dillon Joubert, who ran second for the first few laps. Behind them Kai van Zyl struggled with brakes and Jano van der Westhuizen stopped with a broken gearbox.

Class B once again proved dramatic. Eden Thompson and Jaco Lambert got the better of Giordano Lupini off the restart. Lupini was soon back to second but unable to do much about Thompson. Then Thompson slowed on the final lap, allowing Lupini to pounce and take a lucky win. Eden scraped home third from the duelling Jaco Lambert and Ian Kapp, the three of them split by a few tenths. Grant Cloete was fifth home, but later excluded for being underweight. That promoted Nadia Nair and Marc Thompson to fifth and sixth.


Class C was a little more straightforward. Kyle Wiltshire led Jacques Geldenhuys for the first half of the shortened race, before both Tate Bishop and Schalk Geldenhuys found their way past his old man. Colin Smith was in pursuit as he also held his broken drivers door closed. Schalk Geldenhuys however suffered the wrath of the officials and was excluded for his part in that earlier prang to promote his dad and Smith to third and fourth behind Wiltshire and Bishop.

Jurie Swart was made to work for his lights to flag race 2 win. Jason Coetzee was just a tenth adrift, with Colin Meder in close attendance too. Dillon Joubert also had to work hard to keep youngster Kai van Zyl at bay for fourth. But Jano van der Westhuizen’s rush to swap his gearbox between races came to nought when his car started to misfire and eventually stopped.

Eden Thompson was luckier in race 2 as he managed to get in front of Class B from lights out and stay there, only for his car to stop on the cool down lap. That was still enough to take the win. Despite Giordano Lupini’s best efforts in second as he broke the class lap record in pursuit. There was an entertaining dice behind as Jaco Lambert overcame Ian Kapp for third. Both kept the leaders in sight with impressive pace. Grant Cloete and Nadia Nair also swapped places several times in their tussle for fifth with Marc Thompson in pursuit.

Jacques Geldenhuys initially took the Class C battle to Kyle Wiltshire. Geldenhuys once again seemed to lose pace mid distance. He fell into the clutches of young guns Tate Bishop and son Schalk Geldenhuys and also Colin Smith.


Overall, Jurie Swart took the day and Class A from Jason Coetzee and Colin Meder Jr. Giordano Lupini topped Class B from Eden Thompson and Jaco Lambert. And Kyle Wiltshire won Class C from Tate Bishop and Colin Smith. Provisionally, overall leaders Wiltshire and Swart now also comfortably lead their respective Classes C and A. But it’s all to play for with Thompson leading Lupini by just 3 points in Class B.

The GTi Challenge will be back in Killarney action on Woman’s Day Monday 9 August.

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