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

2018-10-08 12:34

Reynard Gelderblom

BMW Club Racing Series

Image: Bridgestone BMW race start/Photo by Paul Blackburn

With a mere four points separating the top three contenders on the 2018 championship table, the Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series is set to be one of the big drawcards at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 13 October.

Overall honours in this single manufacturer championship will depend heavily on the achievements of these three rivals in their respective classes with honours relatively even heading into the penultimate round of the season.

The chasing pack

Heading up the points table is Class C front-runner Antonie Marx with 87 points accumulated for the season. Class D leader Alan Hilligenn trails him by one point with Class B’s Paulo Loureiro on 83 points.

READ: Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series - Round 2

Although Loureiro has recorded more class victories than his rivals, Hilligenn and Marx can claim a more consistent points scoring record. Despite a few technical problems, Marx holds a 100% reliability record for the season; with every finish seeing him adding points to his tally.

Yellow BMW

                                                                    Image: Photo by Paul Blackburn

With this not being an outright head-to-head battle, the trio will be aiming to continue their dominant form in their respective classes; mindful of each other’s success rate in doing the same as well.

With the classes for this category being time-based, an attempt at dominance could come at the cost of breaking into the class above as well. Push hard, but not too hard.

Vying for victory

With seven wins behind his name, Loureiro will be the firm favourite in Class B. The only driver currently in this class with a win behind his name is Oz Biagioni; this win recorded at their last encounter at Zwartkops Raceway. The likes of Jan Eversteyn and Andreas Meier will, however, be aiming to record their maiden class victories as well.

BMW E46 and E36

                                                                       Image: Photo by Paul Blackburn

Apart from leading Class C and the overall championship, Marx will have another statistic in his favour heading into the race weekend. Between the trio at the top, he is the one who accumulated the biggest amount of points at Zwartkops Raceway during their previous visits.

Four of his five wins came from reverse-grid starts; a practice used for the second race of each day. In total, he has visited the podium on nine occasions during 2018. When on form and with his car reliable he’ll be the firm favourite in his class, but the likes of Craig Ball and more recently, Shane Grobler can be severe thorns in his side.

BMW E36

                                                                     Image: Photo by Paul Blackburn

Just like Marx, Class D’s Hilligenn has also recorded nine podium finishes with five of them on the top step. He does, however, have one DNF to his name, but he has not recorded a finish lower than fourth position during 2018.

Close contention

Apart from the DNF, Hilligenn is the one in the top trio with the most points accumulated from the recent four starts with three of his victories. He will be aiming to maintain this victorious form, but the likes of Nek Makries, Warren Dodd and Troy Cochran will again be in close contention.

BMW Club Racing Series

                                                                        Image: Paul Blackburn

Although not in direct contention for the overall championship honours, Class T’s David Coetzee, Rick Loureiro and Lorenzo Gualtieri will entertain the crowd at the front of the pack. 

The season’s previous two visits to Zwartkops Raceway have delivered closely contested races around the short and narrow circuit outside Pretoria. The penultimate round of the championship should again live up to the anticipated excitement with 25 entries expected on the day.

Race 1 is scheduled to start at 11:35 with Race 2 at 15:00. Spectator tickets can be purchased at the venue on the day at R100.00 per adult, R80.00 per student and with children under the age of 12 entering for free.

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