New drivers prove to be tough competition in Engen Volkswagen Cup

Killarney Raceway in Cape Town will see the Engen Volkswagen Cup competitors in a two-race scramble during the second round of the 2016 season on Saturday April 16. The first round of the season proved to be an exciting one, with the newest drivers in the series proving some of the toughest competition out on track.

001-off-my-wheelsBrian Joss – Keagan Masters (18 – Champion), thanks to his round one performance, is the early championship leader. Masters crossed the finish line for second place in two of the three races, rounding off the day by winning the third. This makes him a leader by eight points as the Engen Volkswagen Cup field prepares for the second of the eight rounds this year.

While Masters will be keen on extending his lead he will need to keep an eye on Chris Shorter (33 – Payen/Hollard/Turn1), his nearest rival and currently second in the championship. Shorter will, however, have to consider that Trevor Bland (M2 – Universal Health Care/Phoenix) – the second-placed Master going into round two and third overall – is closer on points to him than his gap to Masters.

The second round of the Volkswagen Cup will be held at Killarney Raceway in Cape Town. Picture: Motorpress
The second round of the Volkswagen Cup will be held at Killarney Raceway in Cape Town. Picture: Motorpress

Under these circumstances Shorter will have to balance a plan of attack to close the gap to Masters with a plan to defend his position against Bland.

Bland, in turn will be looking not only at ensuring he stays amongst the top three overall but will be working on the lead of Juan Gerber (M8 – Glasfit/Ctrack/XCT). Gerber is the driver leading the Masters category – and finished just one position ahead of Bland during round one.

Six points separate Bland and Gerber after the three races held in round one. Closing a gap like that is going to much easier in the opening half of the season so the pair are setting up for a serious battle at Killarney.

Then there is Cape Town’s Jurie Swart (39 – Ferodo). Swart has loads of experience racing in the Western Cape, but is new to Engen Volkswagen Cup competition. This did not hold him back much – he is placed in the top five overall and just three points adrift of fourth position. At a track he knows well, this could see him make a big impact on the standings with a good race day.

For Volkswagen Motorsport development racer in Engen Volkswagen Cup, Kuda Vazhure (19 – Volkswagen Motorsport) the first event proved a tough one – as it so often does in Engen Volkswagen Cup racing. Vazhure was a creditable 10th across the finish line in race one, 12th in the second race but did not finish the final race of the day. With a 60 percent finish race for that first event, Vazhure can be happy with his first race day – but will be aiming for better in round two.

A top 10 finish is not only a good base from which to build for Vazhure, but proves he has the pace to challenge his rivals on track as the season progresses.

Off the track in Cape Town, the Engen Volkswagen Cup competitors will be involved in another competition. From 1pm  on Friday they will be pitted against one another in a racing simulator knock-out. Two drivers against each other in an elimination series that will ultimately see one winner crowned – with prizes from race supplier OMP.

While Killarney Raceway might be just the second stop on the 2016 calendar for the Engen Volkswagen Cup championship, this round is sure to be action-packed – the circuit where the new Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo TSI took to the circuit for the first time in 2015.

The season’s change to autumn could play in role in the event, with the potential for cold and even wet weather which would lower grip levels and make handling difficult at pace for competitors.

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