The layout of Dezzi Raceway features tight corners, a narrow racetrack and some very bumpy areas mixed with a geographical layout that sees racers compete at a number of elevations – in places almost like a rollercoaster. It was a hard outing for the competitors in the Engen Volkswagen Cup championship this past weekend.
At the outset, championship leader Sheldon van der Linde (1 – Champion) looked set to continue his run of race-winning successes. He qualified fastest, but the draw for grid positions stepped in to change his fortunes. For Race 1, he drew sixth and for Race 2, it was a fifth place start.
This put him on the back foot, having to battle through the racers ahead. In that first race, Van der Linde managed to get past three other competitors to finish in third place, behind Chris Shorter (33 – Hollard) and Daniel Rowe (2 – Ferodo).
Shaun La Reserveé (9 – Alpine Motors/Compendium) impressed after his disastrous Zwartkops outing a few weeks ago. La Reserveé qualified 10th, working his way up to fifth by the end of the 10-lap race. In Race 2, he pulled off in eighth place, crossing the line for sixth, then moving up to fourth, when two other racers were penalised by officials. This saw him claim third overall for the day; he made such a strong comeback at Dezzi Raceway that he was named, “Driver of the Day.”
For championship leader, Van der Linde, the Dezzi Raceway sees him stretch his lead to 33 points from the 18-point lead he had going into the round. Second-placed, Mathew Hodges (M1 – Sourcit/Phoenix Signs/959 Panel beaters), saw his 23-point advantage shrink to just six points after a race day he will be keen to forget.
Third place in the championship became a lot more secure for Rowe at this event. A second place in Race 1, a victory in Race 2 and first overall for the day puts him right on the heels of Hodges and gets him 31 points clear of Trevor Bland (M2 – Nutritech/Monster Energy).
The mighty Audi S4s also set the track ablaze at the sixth round of the Extreme Festival for the National Production Car Championship. In qualifying, it was Michael Stephen (12 – Engen Xtreme) who put his Audi S4 quattro on pole for Race 1. He proceeded to claim the first chequered flag of the weekend as well. Behind him it was Hennie Groenewald (8 – Audi Sasol Racing) who took second spot to make it an Audi S4 quattro one-two to start the day's racing.
For Gennaro Bonafede (32 – Audi Sasol Racing), the weekend wasn't quite what he had aimed for, even though he was third in qualifying.
“In Race 1, I broke a steering arm ball-joint and missed being classified in the race results by a single lap,” said Bonafede. “In Race 2, I had to start last and it’s very difficult to pass here, so that was a sixth place finish. In Race 3, I broke a shock absorber and only completed four of the eight laps,” he said.
The Audi S4 quattro racers and Polo drivers now prepare for their penultimate round of the series at Killarney Raceway on Saturday, 24th October, as the fight to crown the 2015 National Production Car Champion continues.
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