Michael Stephen clinched the Sasol Global Touring Cars championship in his Audi. Picture: MOTORPRESS
Michael Stephen clinched the Sasol Global Touring Cars championship in his Audi. Picture: MOTORPRESS

The 2017 Formula One season has been the most entertaining (at least in as far as competitiveness is concerned) in a rather long while with three drivers constantly jostling for championship position, adding a great deal of excitement and anticipation.

This past weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale saw the Mercedes-AMG drivers, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, finish first and second respectively. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished in third.

Pre-season testing for 2018 is scheduled for the end of February 2018 in Barcelona with the season scheduled to begin on March 25 2018 in Australia and end on November 25 in Abu Dhabi. There will also be some changes, with the Paul Ricard circuit in France making its return as Malaysia is dropped.

Between June 24 and July 22 there will be five races scheduled. That will include three consecutive races, which is a first in the history of F1.

The focus switches from F1 to Formula E this weekend as the electric racing championship gets under way again with the Hong Kong race. The 45 laps of the 1.86km street circuit are characterised by 10 turns and two hairpin bends. It should be an interesting start to the season with the cars being given an increase in power to 180kWh.

The Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria hosted the final round of the 2017 Extreme Festival on Saturday. The highlights saw Michael Stephen (Engen Xtreme Audi) clinch this year’s overall Sasol Global Touring Car (GTC) title. The race itself was won by Simon Moss (Engen Xtreme Audi) ahead of Johan Fourie (EPS Couriers BMW) in second and Michael van Rooyen (RSC BMW) in third. Race two went to Moss again, leading home Stephen and Van Rooyen.

Chris Shorter (Champion MINI JCW) took the first GTC2 heat from team-mate Brad Liebenberg (Ferodo MINI JCW) and Keagan Masters (VW Motorsport Golf GTI. Masters won next time around.

Jaki Scheckter (Drizit Lamborghini Huracan) took the first G&H Transport Extreme Supercar race from Franco Scribante (Porsche 911 Turbo) and Charl Arangies (Stradale Aston Martin Vantage). Scheckter repeated his victory in race two, again leading Scribante and Dawie Joubert (Lotus Exige Honda) who finished second and third.

Jaco Schriks (Cubed Coatings Rhema) clinched the 2017 Hankook Formula Vee title by winning the opening race from Lushen Ramchander (Technical Rope Forza) and Siyabonga Mankonkwana (Cervinia Vee). Schriks took race two as well, this time chased by Peter Hills (Lube Fushion Rhema) and Lendl Jansen (Formula Vee).

Veteran Iain Pepper (Huqvarna Polo) won both the Heat Exchange VW Challenge races from Stiaan Kriel (Spanjaard Polo) and Quinton Needham (Megatron Lubes Polo). Jonathan du Toit (Tar Honda Civic) won the first Autobarn Superhatch race, beating Hilton van Nieuwenhuizen (Peugeot 207) and Brett Garland (Autobarn Honda Civic). Du Toit won race two as well, clinching the season’s title. He was followed by Garland and Chris Davison (Opel Superboss) respectively.

Both races for 111 Sports and Saloon Cars went to Wayne Masters (Performance Masters VW Polo), ahead of Paul Saayman (Intercity Auto Golf) and Louis Cloete (AMS Tuning VW Beetle).

Marnus van der Merwe (Overtime Kawasaki ZX10R) won both the Bridgestone Thunderbike races ahead of Shaun Vermaak (Adrenaline Power Yamaha R1) and Gavin Upton (Turn Skill Kawasaki ZX10R).

Coen Erasmus (E Engineering Suzuki GSXR) won the first Bridgestone Challenge race from Joe Herbig (Grace Mugabe MV Agusta) and Kyle Tavaras (Frost Honda CBR1000). Herbig won next time around, leading Werner Strohm (Parrot Interactive Kawsaki) and Renaldo Marais (LG Interiors Kawasaki).

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