Engen Volkswagen Cup all set for street race action in Durban
ROUND five of the national WesBank Super Series will see the Engen Volkswagen Cup field compete in Durban on Saturday and Sunday, 15 and 16 June. This will not be a usual race day for competitors in this one-make series.
Instead of their normal day of competition on one of South Africa's race circuits, the field of Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo Vivo race cars will be racing on the streets of Durban. This presents a rather daunting prospect as this street circuit offers no run-off opportunities and all mistakes are punished without mercy by concrete barriers.
For a championship that has fielded more than 30 cars at every round a narrow street circuit is going to provide challenges in strategy and planning for the competitors in the Durban event.
For championship leader Kelvin van der Linde (31 – Ferodo Racing) extending his championship lead is going to take careful planning and good qualifying. Van der Linde has been quietly but consistently amassing points this season and that gives him a 60 point advantage over his rivals going to the Durban event.
This will definitely count in his favour as he can afford to take fewer risks at a race meeting that is sure to punish the unwary for their mistakes. For the defending champion, Devin Robertson (1 – Big Boss Auto / Sparco), a good qualifying session – and a good result in the top six draw – could help him close the gap to Van der Linde as the season hits the halfway mark in Durban.
The points standing from now until the penultimate round is going to be critical for competitors building toward a strong finish this season. At the final event is where racers will want to start with a comfortable points margin, it is not the place to try and make up a deficit in an attempt to win the championship at a last-round dash.
Robertson will be looking to the Durban event to bag a solid haul of points, but will also be keeping an eye out for Kosie Weyers (2 – Engen Xtreme / Tsogo Sun) who is the third-placed racer on the Engen Volkswagen Cup log. Weyers is just four points behind Robertson so there is potential for a battle between the pair at the Durban event.
Competition in the Masters category is likely to be just as hot as the fight up front. Dean Ball (M5 – Champion Motors) is the points leader and has a 30 point advantage thanks to a race-winning performance in all but three of the races of this year. This is going to make him a tough driver to beat in the Durban street race conditions.
The task of overhauling Ball is going to fall to Eddie Rodrigues (M7 – SEW Eurodrive) and Dorian Garvie (M16 – iGreen Building Systems) who are second and third in the class. The Masters will have to fight amongst themselves while still contending with competition from the younger drivers as they do battle for overall championship points.
For two of the competitors in the series, the Durban event will be a chance to compete in front of their “home crowd”. For Shaun La Reserveé (14 – Alpine Motors Volkswagen / Compendium Insurance) and Car magazine's Sudhir Matai (M0 – VW Motorsport / Delcam / Aztech / Car Magazine) this event is a rather unusual home ground.
La Reserveé and Matai, but grew up in Durban, would not normally be able to compete in front of KwaZulu Natal residents but now have that rare opportunity thanks to the street event.
The Engen Volkswagen Cup action will give Durban residents a first-hand view of just how intense the competition is in this single-make championship as the racers fight for honours in each of the two 10 lap races – with one race taking place on each day of the two-day event.