Driving skills and “a bit of bravery” needed at East London’s historic Grand Prix circuit

“We are gunning for glory,” said Volkswagen Motorsport factory driver Daniel Rowe just days before the start of round three of the Sasol GTC Series at the historic East London Grand Prix Circuit. “This is a real driver’s circuit, and driving skill combined with a bit of bravery is often rewarded with a good result here in the Eastern Cape,” added teammate Matthew Hodges.

Brian Joss – Both Rowe and Hodges will want to capitalize on good performances and pace from earlier in the season. “We’ve shown good pace in both the opening two rounds of the championship at Killarney in Cape Town and Kyalami in Midrand, but lady luck most definitely did not play along. The result is that we don’t quite have the points that we feel we deserve,” continued Rowe.

Going for glory: Matthew Hodges and Daniel Rowe, ready for the next round of the Sasol GTC series. Picture: Motorpress

Hodges was quick to add that luck plays a huge part in racing and that with lady luck on your side, the championship points table could have had a different look to it. “It’s still early days, but from a points point of view we’re not exactly where we deserve to be,” added Hodges. “Our Volkswagen Jettas have been very fast up to now, so it’s just a matter of time before we manage to get them to cross the line first in a GTC race.”  

Hodges and teammate Rowe stole the show at the recent round hosted at the famous Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit when they went head-on-head in race one for at least 6 of the 8 laps that made up the first race. Race 2 was much the same with the two teammates again putting up a great show for the passionate and appreciative Kyalami crowd who came out in numbers to witness the spectacle at SA’s home of motorsport.

“The difference between winning and not standing on the top step of a podium is really marginal,” added Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport.  Hodges got the overall victory and a good points haul at Kyalami, while Rowe’s progress has been hampered with a few technical issues. “We are hoping that both cars will have a good run in East London.” Hodges currently occupies 4th position on the points ladder with 79 points, 8 ahead of defending champion Michael Stephen. Rowe is further back in 6th and very determined to convert his pace into race wins.

“The East London Grand Prix circuit is home to the infamous Potter’s Pass and Rifle bend, two of the most daunting corners in South African circuit racing,” continued Mike Rowe. “We are looking forward to put our Jettas through their paces on this iconic piece of tarmac.”

Behind the GTC cars, Volkswagen’s Golf GTi brigade will be all out to maintain their hundred percent winning streak in East London. Youngster Keagan Masters set the initial pace with victory in Cape Town before Mandla Mdakane made history by becoming the first person of colour to claim victory in the premier GTC series with a great victory in race 2 at Kyalami.

Mdakane’s name now appears alongside the names of other greats such as Tschops Sipuka and the late Gugu Zulu as major race winners. “We are very proud of Mandla’s achievements and at the same time we are satisfied that our strategy to invest in the future of racing is bearing fruit,” concluded Rowe.

All that is left is for the Volkswagen Motorsport Team is to make their way to East London in time for first practice at 9am on Friday.

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