09 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Devin Robertson seizes 2011 Engen Volkswagen Cup championship crown

The season finale of the 2011 Engen Volkswagen Cup saw plenty of action at the South African Zwartkops circuit on 26-27 November, with Devin Robertson claiming the driver’s championship crown. Kosie Weyers took second place in the overall points table, while Kelvin van der Linde clinched third. Robertson has been a strong contender for season honours all year, and actually claimed the title two rounds ago. Even though his car lost fourth gear in race one, he managed to limp home and after running repairs were carried out to the Volkswagen Polo Vivo race car, Roberston made a strong comeback, taking third place in race two.

The 2011 Engen Volkswagen Cup series is similar to the other racing VW Polo Cup single-series championships run in both Europe and India. Just as in those series, the South African one-make format highlights new young driving talent. In the Engen championship, as many as thirty drivers regularly take to the track in technically-identical, 2.0-litre, 234bhp 2011 Volkswagen Polo Vivo racing cars. The Volkswagen Racing press release follows.

Season finale sees plenty of action in Engen Volkswagen Cup series
26 November 2011

A tough season of 2011 Engen Volkswagen Cup racing finished at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday with the final points decided for the 2011 season. At the head of the field for the year was Devin Robertson (2 – Sparco) who claimed the title two rounds ago. In second place for the season is Kosie Weyers (3 – Engen Xtreme) with Kelvin van der Linde (31 – Ferodo Racing) taking third overall for the season. The toughest race day experience was saved, not for one of the championship contenders, but rather for a guest driver instead.

Lindsay Vine (M0 – Volkswagen Racing) of television motoring programme Ignition took to the track at the final round as an invited competitor – and she found out first-hand just how much of a handful these Volkswagen Polo Vivo race cars are. After two hard races Vine placed 24th in race one and 25th in the second race, achieving what many other guest drivers in this series have failed to do – finish.

‘My day was amazing, I loved it and it was completely different to what I expected,’ said Vine. ‘Historics is a hobby class and my car is slow so I’ve had to change tyres once in three years, not like Engen Volkswagen Cup where the tyre wear is a big factor in the racing. It was great working with a team that is responsible for preparing the car (which was done by Graham Nathan and the Indy Oil team on race weekend), they just do everything.

‘I could tell them what’s wrong and they fixed it,’ said Vine. ‘The next time I went out the problem was fixed and it felt great. When we came out for first practise on Wednesday I did quite well – better than expected. Even at the slower speed, you don’t realise how much racing teaches you instinctively. I’ve been racing for three years in historics and it’s fairly slow but the overall racing instincts remain the same.

‘I had some very hairy moments out there, but it is that instinct helped me fix it,’ said Vine. ‘When I got involved in this Engen Volkswagen Cup race, everybody said that up front its argy-bargy and I was worried. That first race something happened on every lap, and that’s totally different to historics. Still, I managed to stick with the pack and it is wonderful having someone to chase – that made me push harder.’

Race one saw the champion battling to post a result better than 12th. With fourth gear simply not co-operating Robertson had to concentrate on nursing the car home and, after running repairs were effected he made a strong comeback to claim third in race two. Masters category leader, Lee Thompson (M30 – Ferodo Racing) made no mistakes, claiming both victories with Kosie Weyers (3 – Engen Xtreme) in second and Graham Donker (M2 – Mini / Maxi Panelbeaters) claiming third in race one and Robertson finishing third in the second race.

For Robertson the championship title was the culmination of a strong year behind the wheel and Weyers – with his dash to the line for second place – must also be happy with his performance. It is, however, the third place driver in the championship who has the most reason to celebrate. Fifteen year-old Kelvin van der Linde (31 – Ferodo Racing) finished third overall in his first season in the Volkswagen series.

‘We had a good debut race at Kyalami and this helped to feel out the series and see what it is all about,’ exclaimed Van der Linde. ‘I was confident for the rest of the season, that top three finish the first time out played a huge role in me being able to do it for the rest of the season. I made a few rookie mistakes here and there,’ continued Van der Linde. ‘It has been a good learning season and near the end it has obviously paid off. This has been a fantastic end to the season, I couldn’t ask for better. We are still waiting for our first race win, but we’ll leave that to next season and see what happens.’

Race 1

1 Kosie Weyers: 3 Engen Xtreme
2 Kyle Barnes: 5 Gold Liberations
3 Jeffrey Kruger: 24 Steamsure Combustion

Race 2
1 Kosie Weyer: 3 Engen Xtreme
2 Devin Robertson: 2 Sparco
3 Kyle Barnes: 5 Gold Liberations

Championship overall
1 Kosie Weyers: 3 Engen Xtreme
2 Kyle Barnes: 5 Gold Liberations
3 Bryan Morgan: 4 Greatsoft

Masters championship overall
1 Lee Thompson: M30 Ferodo Racing
2 Miguel Pasqualli: M1 Engen Xtreme
3 Graham Donker: M2 Mini / Maxi Panelbeaters

[Source: Volkswagen Racing]

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