|Round 2 of what has become South Africa’s premier circuit racing series will be hosted at the very famous Kyalami International Grand Prix circuit on April 21 and 22. It will be only the second time that the Sasol GTC cars get a bite at Kyalami’s fresh tarmac since the first race took place at the completely refurbished Midrand circuit at the end of last year.
“Our Volkswagen Jetta GTC car was very fast during our first outing at Kyalami last year,” says Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “Our driver Mathew Hodges placed the car on the front row and if his speed was anything to go by, the nature of this fast and flowing circuit will suit our Jettas.”
Teammate Daniel Rowe who joined Hodges behind the wheel of the second Jetta at the start of this season is no stranger to Kyalami, although it will be his first taste of the new circuit in a GTC car. “I have won many Volkswagen Cup races at Kyalami over the years and I’m certainly looking forward to taking on all of the track’s famous corners in the much more powerful Jetta,” says Rowe junior.
Both Rowe and Hodges left Round 1 of the series extremely disappointed after technical issues forced them to the sidelines in Cape Town. They both had very encouraging qualifying sessions and races in which the Jetta showed great potential, but unfortunately for them their weekends were cut short when lady luck intervened. The two Jettas have since received brand new powerplants at their homebase just around the corner from Kyalami, so both Hodges and Rowe are very excited at the opportunity to show their mettle on the same place that hosted all the true legends of motorsport over the past 60 years.
Volkswagen Motorsport is also all about developing future legends, and two young stars of the future are no doubt Keagan Masters and Mandla Mdakane. Together with Trevor Bland, these young drivers provided the battle of the season when they traded paint around most of Killarney’s corners during the season-opener of the GTC 2 series last month. It was simply spectacular to watch and their competitiveness bodes well for spectators at Kyalami. Masters should be on top form as the young man competed in an Audi TT Cup race at Germany’s Oschersleben circuit just the weekend before, gaining extremely valuable seat time in the process.
Mdakane set the pace during the Round 1 qualifying session, but the young man was forced to concede a position or two during the races. The difference between him and victory was only a few tenths of a second, so Kyalami fans can once again expect a battle of epic promotions between Volkswagen’s young guns.
“The good news for us is that our Golf 7 GTi’s are currently the cars to beat in the GTC 2 category of the Sasol GTC series. So for us it doesn’t really matter who will stand on the top step on the podium come Saturday afternoon. As long as he is behind the wheel of a Volkswagen and as long as they entertain the fans in the process,” concludes Mike Rowe.
Qualifying to determine the all-important starting positions will commence at 09:05 on Saturday morning with the lights for Race 1 turning green at 12:20