Packed Engen Volkswagen Cup field will bring race drama to Zwartkops
information supplied by: Volkswagen Motorsport - Engen Volkswagen Cup
21 May 2012
THE Engen Volkswagen Cup field return to Zwartkops Raceway for the fourth round of the 2012 season on Saturday, 26 May. This single-make national championship for Volkswagen Polo Vivo race cars opened their season at this circuit in dramatic fashion at the beginning of March.
Just four corners into the first race of the WesBank Super Series opening round there was pandemonium as contact between two cars turned into a pile-up that claimed six Engen Volkswagen Cup race cars that were unable to race any further and had to be completely rebuilt for the second round. Drama like this is pretty much expected when there are more than 30 race cars on track for the same race.
The Engen Volkswagen Cup field is the largest of any national championship in the WesBank Super Series and delivers an overdose of action as competitors battle throughout the field for track position in the fight for points.
Up front Kelvin van der Linde (31 – Ferodo Racing) has been making work of creating a championship lead. To this end he has won four of the seven races that have already taken place. He has also added 23 bonus points to this tally, thanks to his fast laps during the qualifying sessions. This has provided Van der Linde with a very healthy 51 point advantage of his nearest rival, the defending champion, Devin Robertson (1 – Sparco / Big Boss Auto).
Robertson is stuck in his role as championship chaser and defending his hold on second place. While his deficit to the leader is not that great, it is going to take a great deal of work on his part to chip away at Van der Linde's lead. Meanwhile, behind him Kosie Weyers (2 – Engen Xtreme) is uncomfortably close to being able to claim second overall in the championship.
The fight in the Masters category is no less intense than up front. Here Dean Ball (M5 – Champion Motors) is the man at the top of the pile. Ball has won four of the seven races after missing the first round of the championship completely. This has put him comfortably ahead of Justin Taylor (M3 – VW Techniques) who dominated the first round of the season to claim two race wins.
Taylor has no points for round three of the season and this has given Dino Manelis (M13 – Big Boss Auto / GT1 Auto Services) the chance to close the gap to just three points between second and third. Dorian Garvie (M16 – iGreen Building Systems) the only Master outside of the top three to claim a race win has been battling to get into his stride this season. This leaves him in sixth place at this point.
With a grid that can comprise as many as 35 cars there is far more happening on track than just the battle up front – or the fight amongst the Masters. Throughout the field there are small personal fights taking place as drivers strive to improve on their performance and their championship positions.
During qualifying sessions half the field is routinely posting laptimes within one second and the points reflect this. Between Kyle Barnes (4 – Gold Liberations / Conti Partner) in 13th place and Trevor Bland (11 – PG Glass / Suburban Panelbeaters) in sixth there is just a single race win's worth of points. This means that any driver who has a particularly good day on track – or a particularly bad race weekend – can make a significant difference to the championship standings.
For an Engen Volkswagen Cup competitor that wants to hold onto their position in this crowded national championship, only the best performance will do. Anything else can have a rather dramatic effect on their season. One racer who is finding this out first-hand this season is guest driver Sudhir Matai (M0 – VW Motorsport / Delcam / Aztech) of Car magazine.
Matai, no slouch behind the wheel, has been involved in his share of bumps and shoves at the race meetings, with his biggest a punt off the circuit he received in Port Elizabeth. Despite receiving a dose of punishment from the tyre barrier his team, with the help of some of the other competitors, quickly got his Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo Vivo ready for the second race on the day.
To catch up with the action of Engen Volkswagen Cup racing, Zwartkops Raceway is the place to be on Saturday (26 May) as these competitors tackle round four of their 2012 season.