Volkswagen Motorsport delivered another exceptional performance at round three of the Sasol GTC Championship held at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria.
Daniel Rowe raced his Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta GTC to a convincing lights-to-flag win from pole position in the second GTC race while Keagan Masters excelled yet again in his Volkswagen Advanced Driving Golf GTi, taking a solid second in the opening race and a convincing win in the second heat from the back of the inverted grid. Adding to VW Motorsport’s joy is that Masters has taken an eight point lead in the GTC2 Championship.
Adrian Wood drove his Kyocera Volkswagen Golf GTi to a pair of points paying results, banking 26 points for his efforts on raceday as he continues to improve at every outing.
Mathew Hodges was out of favour with Lady Luck once more, forced to retire his Jetta GTC from the first race with technical difficulties while holding a strong fourth place and closing in on a podium finish.
In the first race of the day, Hodges enjoyed a strong opening sequence of laps to jump from sixth place on the grid to fourth while setting competitive lap times throughout the 12-lap race, only to retire on the final lap. Rowe was left to battle along at the back of the field after being knocked around by over-zealous rivals, grappling with handling issues as his suspension was knocked awry in the incident.
In the second race, Rowe made no mistakes and bolted away from the chasing pack to open a safe gap to Gennaro Bonafede (BMW) in second place. While the gap closed during the mid-race phase, deteriorating grip towards the end of the race saw Rowe’s margin dwindle to 0.8 seconds as he streaked under the chequered flag. “It feels fantastic to win again”, said Rowe. “I didn’t think I had a race-winning package after the first heat so the team made some changes and they worked a treat”.
Keagan Masters was involved in a fraught battle with Brad Liebenberg (Mini) as the pair raced side-by-side until Masters was forced wide in turn five. Tucked in behind the race leader, his Golf GTi suffered overheating brakes so he backed off to let them cool, taking the second step on the podium.
In the second race, from the back of the inverted grid, he carved his way through the field with surgical precision after overcoming Liebenberg which saw the two cars rub fenders more than once. “The first three laps in the second race were really entertaining”, said the 17-year old scholar. “I was often three-abreast as I made my way to the front. My car was excellent today”.
Volkswagen Motorsport Manager, Mike Rowe was happy with his team’s results: “I am disappointed about Mathew’s continued bad luck after he made a strong start to the season at Kyalami. It’s great to win the second race again but we need to start winning race one from the front of the grid. When I tick that box I will be more relaxed about our overall competitiveness. We still have a lot of work to do. Keagan is driving superbly and really showed just how good he is when he had to dig deep to take pole position”.
Volkswagen Motorsport heads to the Eastern Cape and East London’s famous eponymous Grand Prix Circuit for round four of the series on 16th June.