Round six of the Engen Volkswagen Cup series saw competitors tackle three races – after completing a qualifying session followed by a super pole for the fastest six. Unlike the traditional top six grid draw, this time the fastest drivers had just a single flying lap to deliver the time that would decide their race one grid position.
Brian Joss – “The qualifying and super pole system proved to be an excellent decision,” says Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “The tension and excitement on the pit wall during these sessions ran at fever-pitch as the clocked ticked down and the lap times arrived on the displays.”
Top six qualifiers for round six were Bradley Liebenberg (12 – Ferodo), Chris Shorter (33 – Payen / Turn 1), Jurie Swart (39 – Ferodo), Trevor Bland (M2 – Universal Health Care/Phoenix), Shaun La Réservée (M3 – Alpine Motors / Compendium Insurance) and Darren Oates (13 – Glasfit / Ctrack) – in that order. Kuda Vazhure (19 – Volkswagen Motorsport) missed a top six qualifying position by 0.058 of a second and John Craig (14 – Table View Coachworks) by 0.075! The super pole saw Liebenberg retain pole, while Swart moved up to second and Chris Shorter dropped down one spot to third. Bland, La Réservée and Oates also retained their qualifying positions.
In that first race, Liebenberg kept his lead to the finish flag, while Chris Shorter reclaimed his second place by overtaking Swart and the trio made up the first Engen Volkswagen Cup podium for the day.
The starting grid for race two was as per the finishing results of race one – but with the top six inverted. This put Matt Shorter (11 – Champion) in pole position, but it was La Réservée who crossed the finish line first, followed by Liebenberg and then Matt Shorter, with his brother Chris Shorter hot on his heels in fourth.
Race three saw the starting grid made up from the second-quickest qualifying lap times and here both Liebenberg and La Réservée again appeared on the podium at the end of the 10 lap race. Keagan Masters slipped into third position, beating both Matt Shorter and Jeffrey Kruger (20 – Universal Healthcare) – who has just returned to Engen Volkswagen Cup competition – to the final podium spot on the day.
Overall results saw Liebenberg on the top step thanks to those two race victories with La Réservée took second and Matt Shorter finished third. This also produced a change in the championship standings and Liebenberg now takes over the lead from Masters and La Réservée moves into third spot, pushing Chris Shorter down to fourth. Bland drops one spot, to fifth, but still ensures that two Masters remain in the overall championship top five.
The penultimate round of the Engen Volkswagen Cup series sees the field compete at the Kyalami circuit in Johannesburg on Saturday and Sunday, October 22 and 23. A duel for third place in the overall championship is expected here between La Réservée and Chris Shorter who are separated by just one point after their Killarney outing.