Back to action for Engen Volkswagen Cup championship racers
AFTER a two month break in the calendar the Engen Volkswagen Cup championship heads to Port Elizabeth for competition at Aldo Scribante Raceway. The field of racers will contest round three of the 2015 championship on Saturday, June 13, with two races scheduled for the day.
With just two rounds complete the season is already showing some interesting developments. Amongst the top five competitors so far the list includes four teammates – from two teams, two Masters, one of the women racers in the field and two competitors sharing fifth place.
Topping the list is Sheldon van der Linde (1 – Champion) who has four wins out of the five completed races so far. This gives Van der Linde an 11 point lead heading into round three. His biggest rival at this point in the season is Mathew Hodges M1 (Makopano / Phoenix Signs / 959 Panelbeaters).
Hodges holds second place in the championship – and is the leading competitor in the Masters category (for racers older than 27). He is also the only racer other than Van der Linde to have won a race so far this season and also the only racer other than Van der Linde to claim bonus points for pole position qualifying.
In third place Tasmin Pepper (31 - PG Glass) is 16 points (or a sixth place finish) behind Hodges. With two appearances on the podium so far this season, a good qualifying position – and some luck in the top six draw – could see her closing that gap and further cementing her standing in the top five. A good result will also allow her to escape the clutches of Trevor Bland (M2 PG Glass / Alpine Motors) who trails by just a single point.
Bland has been progressing from the first race this year, with his first podium finish at race two during the Killarney race meeting. This has set him up for another strong showing at Scribante if he continues the trend for this season. Bland is the second of the two Masters in the top five list.
Rounding out the leading racers in the Engen Volkswagen Cup is local racing driver Daniel Rowe (2 – Ferodo). Rowe is a Port Elizabeth racer and will be aiming to make his track knowledge work in his favour to produce the best results possible. He will have to keep his eye on the rearview mirror though as he shares fifth overall with Matthew Shorter (11 – Champion).
Shorter finished second in race one at Killarney while Rowe claimed second place in race two. The pair seem very evenly matched, setting the stage for some exciting competition between them as they work to break the deadlock.
In typical Engen Volkswagen Cup fashion, the Scribante round of the 2015 season should prove an action-packed part of the season with lots of door-to-door action on the short, narrow track that will demand absolute commitment from the competitors.
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Day of action at Killarney Raceway for Engen Volkswagen Cup competitors
Round two of the Engen Volkswagen Cup championship saw the field of Volkswagen Polo TSI drivers take to the Killarney Raceway circuit in Cape Town on Saturday. Two races meant two chances to earn those valuable points and create the cushion that is going to be so important later this year.
In qualifying it quickly became evident that each racer had the same idea. The result was that 12 cars had blasted across the finish line before the stopwatch could record a full second had elapsed. The top six racers – led by Keagan Masters (18 – Champion) were split by just 0.355 of a second before they were entered into the grid position draw.
Shaun La Reservee (M3 – Alpine Motors / Compendium Insurance) proved the most successful in the draw for race one, achieving a pole position start while Trevor Bland (M2 – Universal Health Care/Phoenix) ensured it was an all-Masters pole-starting weekend by drawing the top position for the second race.
La Reservee produced a perfect race performance in the opening round for the day, starting at the head of the field and crossing the line to claim the chequered flag. For those 10 laps La Reservee was taking no chances, risking nothing that would allow his opponents an inch of advantage.
Masters made the move from fifth to finish in second place while Chris Shorter (33 – Payen/Hollard/Turn1) moved up a position from fourth on the starting grid to finish on the podium, taking third place.
With Bland the pole starter for race two, La Reservee lined up in second with Jurie Swart (39 – Ferodo), Masters, Matt Shorter and Brad Liebenberg (12 – Ferodo) rounding out the top six.
Right off the line La Reservee went into action in an effort to repeat his race one performance and it looked like this would indeed be a double-victory for the determined driver. Unfortunately with an intermittent fault on his race car, La Reservee just couldn't keep up the pace required to stay at the head of pack.
This allowed Bland to pounce, crossing the line for first place and ensuring the Masters victory for the day and third overall for the day in Engen Volkswagen Cup. With La Reservee steadily dropping down the field to eventually finish 12th, Matthew Shorter took second spot ahead of Masters in that second and final race for the day.
With a second and third place finish for the day, Masters finished in first overall with Chris Shorter in second place (third in race one and fourth in race two).
Kuda Vazhure (19 – Volkswagen Motorsport) continued with his Engen Volkswagen Cup adventure at the second round. Vazhure qualified in 15th, but crossed the finish line after race one in eighth place, having moved up six positions by the end of the ten laps. In race two he finished 11th to end the day eighth overall and fifth in the junior category.
After the first two rounds of the season, Keagan Masters has emerged a strong leader in the Engen Volkswagen Cup championship this year. It will be tough to catch him if this trend continues into the coming rounds. The Masters racers are also making an early name for themselves this year with both Trevor Bland and Juan Gerber in the top five after the two opening rounds of the year.
The next stop for the Engen Volkswagen Cup championship will take them to Aldo Scribante Raceway in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, June 4. This will be round three of the 2016 national championship for the Volkswagen Polo TSI drivers.
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