Th­ese hair­pins stand be­tween win­ners and losers in the week­end’s kart­ing champs at iDube, dubbed the best kart­ing track in the world. En­try is free!

Lo­cal rac­ers Habig and Whit­ing in the hunt for cham­pi­onship points at iDube’s twisty track

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART JONHSTON • The Third Round of the SA Ro­tax Max Chal­lenge 2016 will again be filmed, with live streaming on www.kart.co.za. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.kart.co.za or con­tact Jennifer Ver­heul at 082 294 7485.

PERCHED on a steep hillside in KZN, the tricky iDube Kart Cir­cuit will on Saturday see a fierce points tus­sle in the Top DD2 Gear­box Class be­tween a vet­eran from Port Elizabeth and a young­ster from Cape Town as karters race in the SA Kart­ing Na­tional Cham­pi­onship.

The unique lay­out of the track al­lows su­per-fast down­hill sec­tions fol­lowed by very tight hair­pin bends and a long trek back up the moun­tain.

Karters have to show ex­cep­tional brak­ing skills and their en­gines tuned to low- to mid-range torque to win at iDube. Be­cause no other cir­cuit in the coun­try poses th­ese chal­lenges, karters who race here in the re­gional rounds of the SA Ro­tax Max Chal­lenge have tra­di­tion­ally been favoured as the four-round Ro­tax se­ries moves to iDube.

Sev­eral KZN karters are ready to show the vis­i­tors how its done.

Chief amongst lo­cal heroes is Ben­jamin Habig, born and raised in the Ton­gaat area and the son of fa­mous SA Rally Cham­pion Jan Habig.

Ben­jamin has come very close to win­ning the DD2 Gear­box Class Na­tional Cham­pi­onship in pre­vi­ous sea­sons, and this year he lies fourth in the points tally, scor­ing fourth and fifth places in all six na­tional races count­ing to­wards the cham­pi­onship so far.

He has been dom­i­nant in Re­gional races at iDube, and a string of wins here will put him right back into con­tention when the fi­nal round of the SA Ro­tax Max Chal­lenge Na­tional Cham­pi­onship se­ries plays out at Adrenalin Race­way in Vereen­ing in July.

An­other lo­cal driver who could spoil the party for the vis­it­ing driv­ers is Robert Whit­ing. Al­ways quick and con­sis­tent, he is ly­ing just out­side the top six in the DD2 points ta­ble.

But so far this sea­son, the DD2 Class has been all about three driv­ers. Michael Stephen, mul­ti­ple SA Pro­duc­tion Car Cham­pion, is in the unique po­si­tion of lead­ing both the DD2 over­all points race and the DD2 Mas­ters Cat­e­gory. The Port Elizabeth driver made a se­ri­ous come-back to kart­ing last year, to clinch the DD2 Mas­ters cat­e­gory (for driv­ers aged 32 and over) and this year he could score a DD2 dou­ble.

But a young­ster who’ll be out to spoil the se­nior driver’s year is Cape Town’s Julian van der Watt, trail­ing Stephen by just two points in the DD2 cat­e­gory, af­ter a clean sweep of wins in Round One, in April.

And then there is Bradley Lieben­berg, reign­ing SA DD2 Cham­pion and also cur­rent star in the VW Cup se­ries on the ma­jor cir­cuits. Lone­hill-based Lieben­berg ran Stephen oh-so-close for over­all vic­tory in Round Two at Port Elizabeth, and he knows what it takes to win at this level.

Fourth over­all is Habig, with Gaut­eng-based Justin Al­li­son ly­ing fifth in DD2, ahead of Cape Town’s Jonathan Thomas.

In the DD2 Mas­ters cat­e­gory Stephen has a full-house of wins at Na­tional level. But in sec­ond place is KZN driver Jonathan Pi­eterse, an­other “lo­cal” who could up­set Stephen’s dream of a “dou­ble”.

Nick Ver­heul from Eden­vale is cur­rently ly­ing third, and a fit­ness pro­gramme has seen him at­tain good form of late.

As far as lo­cal knowl­edge in this cat­e­gory for older driv­ers is con­cerned, look out for KZN’s Ma­homed Bhabha, who could prove very quick in the Mas­ters cat­e­gory at iDube.

Ben­jamin Habig (in­set) is ready for all comers at iDube. PHOTO: 3D-CAR-SHOWS.COM

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