WhatSA National Rotax Max Challenge Karting 4 Preview
WhereZwartkops International Karting Raceway, Pretoria
WhenSunday 30 September
CommunitySouth Africa National

All not as it seems ahead of Rotax Max Finals

The 2018 Rotax Max Challenge South African Karting Championship comes to a head at its fourth and final round at the Zwartkops International Kart Raceway on Sunday 30 September - and while it’s tight at the top and everything is to play for, all is not as it seems at first glance of the various championship tables. See, each class championship sees drivers dropping their three worst scores through the season and that factored in, changes the leaders in three of the six classes and considerably tightens up the other three title chases too.

So with the champions each securing an invitation to participate in the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Final in Paladino, Brazil 01 December, the tension could not be tighter. That starts with the premier DD2 gearbox class, where Durban lad Benjamin Habig appears to hold a slender 6-point title advantage over Vereeniging driver Arnold Neveling, with PE man Michael Stephen, Bradley Liebenberg from Johannesburg, Cape quartet, rivals Luke Herring and Jurie Swart; Jason Coetzee and Sebastian Boyd, Durban driver Robert Whiting and another Capetonian Jonathan Thomas next up.

A quick calculation however reveals that it is actually Neveling who takes a fair advantage to Zwartkops. With drop points considered, Arnold leads Habig, Liebenberg and Stephen in a close fight for second, while multiple world champion Cristiano Morgado pops up in fifth ahead of Herring, Coetzee and Swart all split by just three points; Thomas and Boyd. Michael Stephen’s comfy Masters championship lead over Brett Brito and Jonathan Pieterse is also slashed with drops considered — Cristiano Morgado pops right back into contention in second and 10 points adrift, with Pieterse and Brito next up.

There’s also a shake-up in Senior Max, where the table shows Durban driver Dominic Lincoln ahead of Cape lad Jason Coetzee and Jozi drivers Nicholas Verheul, Jonathan Pieterse, Wayland Wyman and Carlo Olivier in the title race. When the drops are brought into it, Wyman however jumps up to second behind Lincoln, with just 8 points splitting him, Pieterse, Verheul and Coetzee in that chase for a World Final ticket… 

High School Junior Max is another class where the championship table flatters to deceive with Capetonian Charl Michael Visser well clear of Jozi lad Jarrod Waberski, Cape youngster Joseph Oelz, Gauteng duo Leyton Fourie and Aqil Alibhai; Tate Bishop, Kwanda Mokoena, Daniele Patrizi, Daniel de Paiva and Nathi Msimanga. With drops taken into account however, Visser holds a far smaller lead over Oelz with Fourie, Waberski and Alibhai in a close fight for third ahead of Bishop. Jayden Els meanwhile jumps up 7 places to lead Mokoena, Patrizi and de Paiva to Zwartkops.

Points drops have an even greater effect on both primary school classes, where the published under-13 Mini Max points sees Mikhail Fernandez leading Cape compatriot Kyle Visser, with Jozi kids Joshua De Paiva, Jordan Brooks and Liam De Beer next up. But drop points actually see Visser going to Zwartkops ten points clear of Fernandez, with de Beer third in a four-kart wrought for third with de Paiva, Brooks and Josh Le Roux, with Joaquin De Oliveira next up from Jayden Goosen, Andre le Riche and Mandla Mlangeni.

Same goes for under-11 Micro Max, where Joshua De Paiva leads Gauteng rival Muhammad Wally and Cape lightie Reza Levy.  Cut those three worst scores and Wally actually moves ahead of de Paiva, with Levy slightly closer in third from Troy Snyman, Reese Koorzen, Dhiyven Naidoo, Bjorn Bertholdt, Luviwe Sambudla, Kent Swartz and KC Ensor-Smith.

Drop points can be a double edged sword in following the title chases through the final weekend, especially considering that there will be four races for each class and a driver can only drop his or her three worst scores. So a driver who has scored consistently all year can perhaps afford a bad race or two, while someone who has had a bad year and scores well at all four of their Zwartkops races can come right in from the cold — all of which makes for a truly thrilling and nerve-wracking weekend in Pretoria!

So, while the actual championship positions may be a little vague leading into the Zwartkops finale, it’s really all to play for in the six Rotax Max Challenge classes and the International Kart Track is certainly a worthwhile consideration for some explosive Sunday entertainment. The Zwartkops International Kart Raceway is located behind the main circuit pits - find Zwartkops on the R55 just outside Laudium, Pretoria. Entrance is free and the facility offers great grub and all amenities at the clubhouse.


Issued on behalf of Rand Kart Club

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