Brian Joss – The all-new Engen Polo Cup racing show performed at the Western Cape Killarney circuit for the first time on Saturday (April 21) with the turbocharged two-litre vehicles adapting well to zero altitude.
With all drivers allowed to use their Push to Pass buttons six time per race, various new challengers stepped up to the front plate. During Friday’s unofficial practice sessions, it became clear that the weekend’s competition would be desperately close.
After Saturday morning’s official qualifying session, the lap times of the top 15 cars were covered by less than a second.
Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Health Polo) emerged on top after the Super Pole shootout, grabbing pole position from veteran former rallyist Charl Wilken (Cronje’s Auto Body Polo), Tasmin Pepper (Electric Life Polo), Clinton Bezuidenhout (Glyco Polo), Jonathan Mogotsi (VW Motorsport Polo) and Daniel Dumini (SMD Polo).
Rounding out the top ten places were Justin Oates (URUP Polo), Juan Gerber (Gerber Polo), Darren Oates (Payen Polo) and Keegan Campos (Turn 1 Polo). Kruger confirmed his superior pace by getting ahead at the start and staying there.
He eventually crossed the finish line seven tenths of a second ahead of Wilken, with Bezuidenhout, Pepper, Gerber, Dumini, Mogotsi, Darren Oates, Jason Campos (Campos Transport Polo) and Altan Bouw (Ferodo Polo) filling the top ten places.
The quickest lap of the race – and provisionally the new Killarney Engen Polo Cup lap record – belonged to Justin Oates, just before he ran out of road in Turn Two and planted his URUP Polo nose first in the tyre barrier.
Kruger made no mistakes in race two, leading from the front row and maintaining that position throughout the ten laps.
Kruger was chased hard by Pepper, who eventually finished six tenths of a second behind.
En route, she set a new Killarney Engen Polo Cup lap record at 1 minute, 25,978 seconds – two-tenths of a second quicker than the category record achieved by Justin Oates earlier in the day.
They led home Mogotsi, Wilken, Keegan Campos, Bezuidenhout, Duminy, Gerber, Jason Campos and Delon Thompson (A&L Materials Polo).
Kruger ended up as the day’s overall victor, ahead of Wilken, Bezuidenhout, Pepper, Mogotsi, Duminy, Gerber, Keegan Campos, Jason Campos and Altan Bouw (Ferodo Polo).
The next round of the 2018 Engen Polo Cup championship will be held at the Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria on Saturday May 12, forming part of the Sasol Race Day at the venue.
CAPTION: Engen Polo Cup: new lap record. Picture: Quickpic