18 June 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Van der Linde and Barnes take victory at Engen Volkswagen Cup street race

Round five of the Engen Volkswagen Cup took place as part of the TopGear Festival in Durban, South Africa, on 16-17 June, with Kelvin van der Linde and Kyle Barnes snatched the victories of the two-day meeting. A grueling event, an absence of run-off areas and a track ringed with concrete barriers took its toll on the other competitors. Early casualties Adrian Wood and Mark Silverwood each made an unscheduled – and unwanted – excursion into a wall during a practice session. Wood was able to rebuild his car but Silverwood did not have the option to, and was nursing an injury (as he finished learn first aid skills recently) after his incident.

Wood also snapped a shock absorber – the only part of the car affected by the incident with the wall that wasn’t replaced. This saw him with even more work to do in order to compete in the second race – he couldn’t compete in the first race on the Saturday. Up at the front of the field Kelvin van der Linde was only interested in winning, so he could extend his championship lead. Kyle Barnes started from second and, while he kept his eyes open for a potential gap so he could overtake Van der Linde, he held his second place position throughout the race to guarantee a valuable haul of points, rather than risk both his race car and his points. Defending champion Devin Robertson was definitely among those opting for the cautious approach in the first race by letting both Mathew Hodges and Kosie Weyers challenge for position, the trio finishing third, fourth and fifth respectively.

In race two on Sunday, a grid of 22 enthusiastic Engen Volkswagen Cup racers were ready to put their Polo Vivo racers through their paces. The field tackled the 10-lap race under conditions that were not conducive to bold overtaking. This did not stop Robertson, though, from making a brave move to pass Weyers at the end of the main straight, diving through the turn to snatch third place. This was not a position Weyers was going to be able to take back and he finished behind Robertson who, in turn, crossed the finish line behind race winner Barnes and Van der Linde.

For invitational driver, journalist Sudhir Matai from Car magazine, the Durban event was a highlight for this season. Matai raced in front of his home crowd – and his family – recording a second-place finish in the Masters (rookie) class in race two into the deal. Van der Linde and Barnes swapped race wins in Durban – and this will help further extend van der Linde’s impressive championship lead. The Engen Volkswagen Cup field head to Phakisa Freeway in Welkom for the next round of the championship – and back to the traditional circuits that they are used to competing on.

The 2012 Engen Volkswagen Cup series is similar to the other racing Volkswagen Polo Cup single-series championships run in China, Europe and India. Just as in those official Volkswagen-moderated series, the South African one-make format highlights new driving talent. In the Engen series, as many as 35 drivers regularly take to the track in technically-identical, 2.0-litre 234bhp Volkswagen Polo Vivo racers.

Race 1

1 Kelvin van der Linde (31: Ferodo Racing)
2 Kyle Barnes (4: Gold Liberations/Conti Partner)
3 Mathew Hodges (18: ITR Africa)

Race 2
1 Kyle Barnes (4: Gold Liberations/Conti Partner)
2 Kelvin van der Linde (31: Ferodo Racing)
3 Devin Robertson (1: Big Boss Auto/Sparco)

Overall standings
1 Kelvin van der Linde (31: Ferodo Racing)
2 Kyle Barnes (4: Gold Liberations/Conti Partner)
3 Devin Robertson (1: Big Boss Auto/Sparco)

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