|THE 2015 Engen Volkswagen Cup season finale at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday was a race-day filled with dramatic moments. Overall honours for the event went to Tasmin Pepper (31 – PG Glass) who won the first race and crossed the line for second place in race two.
In addition, Pepper had drawn two pole positions starts after qualifying in the top six for each of the races.
Behind Pepper, Sheldon van der Linde (1 – Champion) took second place overall for the day, finishing second in race one and third in the race two. The overall podium for the event was rounded out by Bradley Liebenberg (12 – Ferodo Racing) who finished third overall after achieving fourth in race one and winning race two – he also received the award for Driver of the Day at the event and was named the Rookie of the Year for the 2015 season at the prizegiving.
Liebenberg crossed the line for first place in race two only after he managed to find his way past a very determined Pepper who had started from the same grid position as in race one – pole. This marks Liebenberg’s first race victory in Engen Volkswagen Cup racing, setting him up for many more in the coming season.
Van der Linde and Hodges delivered a masterful demonstration of precision racing in the first race, side-by-side for two laps and always within a hair’s breadth of touching at all times. Eventually it was Van der Linde who won the battle, leaving Daniel Rowe (2 – Ferodo) and Hodges to duel for third place. The pair made made contact, which saw Rowe falling down the order to seventh place – and Hodges was later penalised to appear in eighth place on the leaderboard.
For the Engen Volkswagen Cup field, the season winner has yet to be officially decided since there is an outstanding appeal after the penultimate round in the Western Cape. No overall champion can be officially declared until these have been resolved.
Van der Linde remains the favourite to be the championship winner, with the Masters champion Mathew Hodges (M1 – Sourcit / Phoenix Signs / 959 Panelbeaters) still an outside contender to take the title. Hodges won Masters Championship at the Killarney event and is, at this stage, the only official title to be awarded for the 2015 season. Hodges took the win ahead of Trevor Bland (M2 – Nutritech / Motul) and Juan Gerber (M8 – Glasfit / Ctrack).
Unofficially the results for the season see Van der Linde as the Junior Champion for 2015, with Rowe second and Chris Shorter third. The unofficial overall championship results at this point are Van der Linde in the lead with Hodges in second and Rowe in third.
The Masters championship has been officially decided and here Hodges is the champion with Trevor Bland and Juan Gerber second and third. Bradley Liebenberg is the Rookie Champion for the 2015 season.
The season awards after race day saw Signature Motorsport (Van der Linde, Rowe, Chris and Matt Shorter and Liebenberg – but with only the two top-scoring racers of each team score towards the award) take the Team Award with an impressive 25 podiums, 10 pole positions, 11 first place finishes and 26 fastest laps recorded during the eight-round national Engen Volkswagen Cup championship.