The final round of the 2018 MotorMart VW Challenge sees Stiaan Kriel heading up both the category and Class A championship battles by a single point. Come Saturday afternoon, November 10, he could be celebrating his maiden championship title at Zwartkops Raceway.
After many years of competing in the Western Cape GTi Challenge, Kriel relocated to Centurion during 2016. This saw him switch to the VW Challenge where he made a significant impact; particularly during the first event at the revamped Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit where he dominated the category’s two races. His 2017 season also saw him starting in dominant form, but a difficult latter part of a competitive season saw him losing ground in the title chase.
The start of 2018 again saw him dominant during Round 1, but the following four rounds saw his points hunt hampered by gearbox issues, a time penalty and an accident. Nevertheless, he recorded a victory in each round while adding bonus points with regular pole positions and fastest laps. During this period Class A rival Rory Atkinson and Class B’s Jacques Smith gained a significant advantage. Round 6 at the Phakisa Freeway saw another near-perfect weekend for Kriel; taking home 22 from 23 points on offer while bringing himself within striking range for the title. A flawless victory, determined fight-back for second place and all three bonus points saw Kriel ending the penultimate round of the season in a slight lead. With Smith not recording any points during the penultimate round it will be difficult for him to get back into contention. The battle for championship honours comes down to a head-to-head battle between riel and Atkinson at the front of the field during the season finale.
“This has been a very closely contested season” Says Kriel while preparing for the season finale. “The fact that this is now a battle in the same class takes a little bit of pressure away from us, but be sure that this will be quite intense. Both myself and Rory have given it our all this season; I think it really is honours-even between us. We’re both very strong around Zwartkops Raceway and we’re certainly both hungry for the title. For the fans this could possibly be the most exciting season finale of 2018. I don’t really think there’s anything we can change in our strategy ahead of the final round, we’re just going to have to do it even better and push harder. My team, my sponsors; we all worked hard for this and we’ll keep working hard until that moment that we can celebrate the title.”
Round 8 of the championship will form part of the final Extreme Festival for 2018. Tickets for the event can be purchased at the venue on the day for R120.00/adult, R90.00/student and with children under the age of 12 entering for free. Fans of Stiaan Kriel are also invited to follow his Facebook page Stiaan Kriel Racing for updates throughout the weekend.
Kriel would like to thank his sponsors for making his 2018 season possible: Pozidrive, Dale Automation, Kalex, Spanjaard, N4 Autocraft, Geardown Gearbox & Diff, Racing with God, SAX Shocks, Most Wanted Performance Tuning, Bessie Bester Motors and S&S Meat
In addition, Kriel would also like to thank the associate sponsors of the MotorMart VW Challenge for making this exciting category possible: Norbrake Distribution, ATE Brakes, Dicktator Engine Management Systems, Yaskawa, BPM Engineering and Pozidrive.
Story by Reynard Gelderblom – Stiaan Kriel