Despite a number of races being interrupted by red flags and others being slowed by the safety car while marshals cleared vehicles and debris from the track and its surrounds, spectators at Zwartkops were treated to close racing at the Extreme Festival yesterday (Saturday, 21 May 2016).
Nic Clarke and Darren Nathan spent a large part of the second race side-by-side

Image by Paul Bedford – Action Images

The Comsol VW Challenge had the largest entry on the day, over 40 cars spread across the three classes and for reason of safety it was decided to split them. Classes A & B ran together with separate races for the slightly slower, but no less competitive, class C cars.

In the opening class A race Pepper took the lead from the start and slowly pulled away from the chasing pack, going on to win by 2.5 seconds. While Atkinson didn’t have the pace to challenge Pepper, he was able to pull away from Meintjes and had an untroubled run to second. Kriel and Stevenson spent much of the race running almost nose to tail with Kriel just managing to stay in front to take fourth on his first outing. Hurley had to be content with sixth.

Clarke led the opening lap of the class B race but Nathan got through on the next tour. He managed to keep the defending champion behind him for the remained of the race, winning by almost a second. Behind them van Zyl and Hall were involved in a race-long fight that went the way of van Zyl by just over a car length. Andre Calitz (AC Group Polo) and Seon Holiday Snr (Centworx Polo) rounded out the top six.

A collision between Philip Croeser (ATE Polo) and Grant Bal (Spar Polo), which ended the race day for both of them, brought out the safety car in the early stages of the opening class C race, effectively turning the race into a five-lap sprint. Luan Roos had a comfortable win with Wouter crossing the line in second. A 30-second penalty for an infringement behind the safety car dropped Wouter down to 11th and promoted Johnstone and van Vledder, who had a race long duel, to the podium. Sam Dale (Dale Automation Polo) had the best result of his Comsol VW Challenge Racing career, coming home in fourth ahead of Crous and Adrian Bal (Spar Polo).

In race 2 it was more of the same for Pepper at the head of the class A field. She led from the lights and went on to take another easy win, this time by over 4 seconds. Behind her Kriel, who had a great start, was experiencing huge pressure from Atkinson and Meintjes in the battle for second. Kriel led the fight until the half-way mark when Atkinson found a way through. Meintjes went past and the same time and they went on to finish in that order. Stevenson and Devon Piazza Musso (Piazza Motorsport Polo), who was making his first appearance of the season, finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Clarke and Nathan treated the Zwartkops crown to the race of the day in the second class B heat. They were never separated by more than a couple of car lengths and often spent almost an entire lap running side by side. There has to be a winner and it was Clarke who was in front when it mattered, taking the flag 0.15 seconds ahead of Nathan. Behind them Hall and van Zyl resumed their race 1 battle. This time Hall emerged in front, taking the final podium position. Mile Stewart (RCS Security Services Polo) came home in fifth ahead of Wood.

Luan Roos again had a very comfortable win in the second class C race. He finished over 8 seconds ahead of Wouter Roos who had to fight his way through the field after being down in seventh at the end of the opening lap. Third went to van Vledder ahead of Crous, Savage and Johnstone.

Charl Arangies leads Jonathan du Toit and Anton Cronje

Image by Paul Bedford – Action Images

The opening G&H Transport Extreme Supercars race also contributed to the day’s safety car tally. Anton Cronje beached his Subaru WRX on the exit of turn one and the field circulated behind the safety car while the marshals extricated it from the kitty litter. One the race resumed Charl Arangies managed to hold off Jonathan du Toit to take a narrow victory. Craig Jarvis took the last spot on the podium.

In race two du Toit took the lead from the start with Arangies close behind. Arangies eventually found a way through and went on to take his second win of the day from du Toit. Cronje ended in third.