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Action, twists and battle for points as action at the BMW Club Racing Series heats up

2018-10-15 14:58

Reynard Gelderblom

BMW Club Racing Series

Image: Paul Blackburn

The recent race event held on Saturday (October 13) saw two fiercely contested Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series heats at Zwartkops Raceway. Heading into the penultimate round of the season, the focus was on the overall championship where Antonie Marx had a one-point advantage over Alan Hillegenn and with Paulo Loureiro trailing the leader by four points.

At the front of the field in the Class T battle, it was Rick Louriero who took the victory in the first race following the retirement of Lorenzo Gualtieri and David Coetzee. Gualtieri was back on the grid for Race 2 where he delivered a flawless drive to take the victory.

Spots up for grabs

During the morning’s qualifying session Paulo Loureiro suffered a mechanical problem which saw him lining up in seventeenth position on the combined grid. Zwartkops Raceway is known to not provide many opportunities for passing, but he did a stellar job to make his way through the field.

READ: Preview: Three-way title battle to continue at Zwartkops BMW races

This allowed Andreas Meier to dominate Class B and take the Race 1 victory while Paulo finished in second place. Rounding out the podium was Oz Biagioni. The inverted grid for Race 2 saw Meier making his way to the front with Paulo in tow.

Paul Blackburn

                                     Nek Makris took the honours topped Class D. Image: Reynard Gelderblom

Meier drove a well-controlled race to keep Paulo at bay during the closing stages to finish the day with two victories. Paulo made it two-second place finishes for the day while Willie Erasmus rounded out the podium.

Competition for places

In Class C Marx struggled with pace during the first race with Shane Grobler finding it relatively easy to pass him during the early stages to take the win. He lost a further position to second place finisher Jimmy Tsimenoglou during the latter part of the race.

BMW Club Racing Series

       A good start in Race 2 pathed the way for Antonie Marx to take the Class C honours. Image: Reynard Gelderblom

Marx finished the race in third place. With the inverted grid being based on fastest lap times, Marx’s lack of pace worked in his favour as he again lined up in second place for Race 2.

By the second corner, he found himself ahead of Trevor Long. As the rest of the pack jostled for position, Marx was allowed to build a gap and take the victory while Mike Grobler remained at the front of the thrilling six car tussle for second place. Craig Ball finished the race in third place.

Ticking the right boxes

While both his rivals experienced difficulties during the morning, Hilligenn started his day by ticking all the right boxes in Class D. He qualified in pole position which he followed up with a win in the first race; holding off Nek Makris who finished in second place.

Further back Troy Cochran finished in third place. During the break between races, Hilligenn looked set to end the day as the leader in the championship. Like a good movie script, the season, however, had another plot twist to come.

In Race 2, Hilligenn suffered mechanical problems which saw him retire after four laps. Meanwhile, Makris and Cochran made their way through the field to finish in first and second places respectively. Rupert Giessing rounded out the podium.

BMW Club Racing Series

                A thrilling day of Bridgestone BMW Club Racing gets started at Zwartkops Raceway. Image: Paul Blackburn

Prior to the Race 2, the championship looked to slip away from Marx. With all three title contenders having their share of hard luck on the day, he, however, finds himself with a four-point lead over Paulo Loureiro heading into the season finale. Hilligenn slots into third position; a further three points adrift. With the championship going down to the wire, what further plot twists can we expect?

The season finale is guaranteed to be a fierce showdown at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit on Saturday, 1 December. Both Marx and Paulo Loureiro have secured victory in their respective classes already, but who will finish the season as the 2018 Bridgestone Club Racing Series champion?

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