The Investchem Formula 1600 championship reaches round six on Saturday, August 12, when the competitors assemble at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria. There are just three rounds left this season and now every lap, every point, every advantage counts.
When it comes to the championship title, Julian van der Watt (42 – Race Driver SA) is still the man on track to take the win for 2017. The PE round again saw him leading the pack home, with two race wins, fastest in qualifying and also recording the fastest lap.
Van der Watt’s performance this season has made him the championship title favourite this season and it is going to take a significant event in the series to unseat him. With Van der Watt enjoying such a commanding lead, the action for the rest of the season will be from second to fourth place.
Stuart White (8 – Fantastic Racing) has second place by a narrow margin over Alex Gillespie (50 – ERP Trucking Components). White is nine points ahead at this stage and will have to fend off Gillespie effectively at all of the remaining events.
With Gillespie keen to take an additional step on the podium for the year, the pace is going to get hot at the front of the field. This won’t be just due to the battle between White and Gillespie, as Cameron O’Connor (93 – Repro Supplies / Racing Factors) will want his share as well – and is just a single point behind Gillespie.
Then there’s Brad Beningfield (46 – General Energy Systems), currently hovering four points behind O’Connor. Beningfield is part of the top five, but has three events – six more races, to mix it up amongst the other four and potentially grab a podium for the season. A top three finish is possible, Beningfield has finished on the podium three times already this year and has the time to accumulate enough points to be amongst the top three.
Ian Schofield (10 – Investchem) holds a strong lead in Class B of the Investchem Formula 1600 championship with three rounds to go. Five rounds into the season and Schofield is 35 points ahead of the chasing pack. This cushion is unlikely to see him unseated through the remaining rounds.
Donny Lamola (24 – Investchem / First Race) and Allen Meyer (15 – Investchem) have an equal chance of claiming second place in the category this season. An identically equal chance at this stage, since they are both on 57 points with the three remaining rounds to run.
A slip on track at this event can have significant impact on the championship standings, so the drivers will all have to be at their best if they wish to stand amongst the leaders in just a few months.
The Investchem Formula 1600 racers know the Zwartkops circuit well, this is going to make the race meeting a fast and extremely challenging event. The fight and jostle for position will start with the qualifying session and last until the chequered flag drops after the second race.