JUST two rounds remain of the Engen Volkswagen Cup championship this year. There are a total of 134 points (80 at Killarney and 54 points at Zwartkops) up for grabs to the driver who manages to claim pole positions in qualifying, produces the fastest lap in each race and wins each of the races on the day.
The gap between the top 10 racers in the series, at 127 points, ensures that the Engen Volkswagen Cup competitors will be fighting for every single one when they tackle the penultimate round at Killarney on Saturday, October 24, before heading to the final in November. Making the penultimate round even more unpredictable is the three-race format which adds one more opportunity for an unpredictable result.
At the top of the pile the current championship leader, Sheldon van der Linde (1 – Champion), is the obvious favourite. Van der Linde has claimed 11 of the 12 bonus points in the last three rounds and won three of the six races. Van der Linde also won the first race of the day when the Engen Volkswagen Cup last raced at Killarney.
The second race win at that event went to Mathew Hodges (M1 – Sourcit / Phoenix Signs / 959 Panelbeaters), who is currently in second place in the championship and the leader in the Masters category. Hodges also claimed both bonus points for pole position qualifying and trails Van der Linde by just 33 points.
Six points behind Hodges is Daniel Rowe (2 – Ferodo). Rowe scored a total of 39 points at the previous Killarney event (round two of the championship), six points more than the championship leader and seven points less than Hodges. He is also the most recent race winner in Engen Volkswagen Cup, having claimed victory in race two at Dezzi's Raceway (he finished second in race one).
In the last three rounds, Rowe has missed a podium finish on only one occasion, making him a serious contender to the crown in 2015. There's also a bit of breathing room for Rowe, allowing him to concentrate on the two competitors ahead of him since fourth-placed Trevor Bland (M2 – Nutritech / Monster Energy) trails by 31 points.
Bland will be working to close the gap to Hodges in the hopes of claiming the Master's title this season and working on that 21 point gap might see him keeping things interesting and unpredictable higher up the field.
In true Engen Volkswagen Cup style, the national championship fight looks like it will go right down to the final round, with the racers battling through every single lap in an effort to gain every – and any – advantage on their rivals. Killarney is the first of two events that could prove the most exciting and intense of any race meeting this year.