Brian Joss – The Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria will host round six of the 2018 Engen Polo Cup championship this Saturday (August 18).
Zwartkops saw the new two-litre, turbocharged Engen Polo Cup cars undergo their first test runs in February, and the discipline raced at the 2,4-kilometre venue in May.
Thus, all the teams should have approximately the same answers regarding suspension and engine setups when they take to the tarmac this Friday.
That will mean incredibly close competition throughout the 24-car field, with Saturday morning’s official qualifying session expected to deliver grid time differences counted in hundreths of a second.
Going to Zwartkops, multi-talented youngster Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Health Polo) will lead the year’s Engen Polo Cup title chase, closely shadowed by Tasmin Pepper (Electric Life Polo) and Jonathan Mogotsi (VW Motorsport Polo).
Depending on Saturday’s two race results, any of the three drivers can leave Zwartkops as the overall championship leader.
Add the fact that Kruger, Pepper and Mogotsi were involved in a violent multi-car crash during the previous race meeting in July, and there will be little affection lost between them this weekend.
Other drivers could interfere with their war, led by Shaun La Reservee (Alpine Motors Polo), Clinton Bezuidenhout (Glyco Engine Polo), Keegan Campos (Campos Transport Polo), (Delon Thompson (A&L Materials Polo), Darren Oates (Payen Polo), Jason Campos (Campos Transport Polo) and Daniel Duminy (SMD Group Polo).
Others not to be left out of the equation should include Justin Oates (URUP Polo), Juan Gerber (Gerber Motorsport Polo), Paulus Franken (Manitou Group Polo), Altan Bouw (Ferodo Polo), Benjamin Habig (Just Tools Polo), Shivesh Bissoon (Etch Tech Polo), Peet Visagie (Nathans Polo), and Wouter Roos (Nathans Polo).
“With all the teams going to Zwartkops with the same knowledge regarding car setup, this event will place the emphasis on driving excellence – exactly what the Engen Polo Cup series is meant to find, polish and perfect.
“The pressure will be immense on drivers throughout the field, with wise use of each race’s eight Push to Pass opportunities to demand cool heads under difficult conditions.
“That is the kind of skills that the Engen Polo Cup category has been passing on to and up the local motorsport opportunity ladder over the years,” said Volkswagen motorsport boss Mike Rowe.
The Engen Polo Cup drivers will contest practice sessions on Friday.
They will take on an official qualifying session, plus a 10 lap and 12 lap race on Saturday.
CAPTION: Engen Polo Cup: tough competition this weekend. Picture: Quickpic