Final battle looms for Engen Volkswagen Cup racers at Zwartkops
ENGEN Volkswagen Cup racers compete at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, November 7, for the final time in 2015. This round will settle the matter of who wins, who finishes second and will be third in the series this year.
With Sheldon van der Linde (1 – Champion) currently leading the series on 368 points, he has a 48 point lead over the newly-crowned Masters champion Mathew Hodges (M1 – Sourcit / Phoenix Signs / 959 Panelbeaters). Hodges is second overall in the championship and has an outside chance of unseating Van der Linde as there are 54 points available for the most successful racer on the day.
Hodges will have to watch his rearview mirror though as Daniel Rowe (2 – Ferodo) has his eye on second place overall – and needs just three points to close the gap between them. Effectively this sets up a three-way duel to the finish for the top racers in the series, who will have just two chances to score maximum points.
The final round has seen a bit of a shake-up in the points standings after Cape Town. Technical infringements there have closed the gap for the unaffected racers, making the final round fight for second place even closer for Hodges and Rowe.
The Zwartkops event is the end of an eight-round championship that has pitted the Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo Vivo GT racers against each other in a tough battle that has seen them compete at Killarney, Aldo Scribante Raceway, Dezzi's Raceway, the East London Grand Prix Circuit, rounding out the season where they started – at Zwartkops Raceway.
While the focus of the race weekend will undoubtedly be on the top three, the rest of the field will be fighting it out for their own finishing positions for the year. Outside of the overall championship, the Masters category was won by Hodges at the penultimate round, with Trevor Bland M2 – Nutritech / Motul) and Juan Gerber (M8 – Glasfit / Ctrack) finishing in second and third for the season.
The final round of the season also marks the end of the road for the Volkswagen Polo Vivo GT as the racer of choice for this series. From 2016 the Engen Volkswagen Cup championship will run with a new Volkswagen Polo bodyshell – sporting a number of changes that will make the race cars quicker.
This was proved at the Killarney outing when Shaun La Reservee (9 – Alpine Motors / Compendium Insurance) piloted the prototype, overtaking at least 11 of the older cars after starting 30 metres behind the back of the grid.
Racing at Zwartkops Raceway marks the end of the current season, but also the beginning of an exciting new chapter in this popular national series that has seen competition on South Africa's race circuits for the past 17 years. Competitors in this series have, over the years, graduated from Engen Volkswagen Cup competition to a number of other motorsport disciplines.
Amongst the racers that have graduated from Engen Volkswagen Cup competition, Graeme Nathan, Tschops Sipuka, Michael Stephen, Hennie Groenewald and Gennaro Bonafede now compete in national production car racing, Dewald Brummer races single-seaters, Ernie van der Walt is in national rallying and both Jordan Pepper and Kelvin van der Linde have gone on to compete in Europe, contesting a number of different categories.