Friday the 16th of June will be a day to take a breather from work for most, but for Volkswagen Motorsport’s Mathew Hodges and Daniel Rowe there will be little or no time to relax. The Jetta squad will once again be ready to take on the cream of South African racing drivers in the country’s premier circuit racing formula, the Sasol GTC Series as they return to Gauteng for the second time this season.
Round 4 of the 8-round championship will be hosted at the very popular Zwartkops Raceway to the west of Pretoria, and as always, both teams and spectators are already looking forward to the spectacle. “Our cars are based near Kyalami which isn’t that far away from Zwartkops, so it’s almost a home race for us,” said Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “The Zwartkops event also means that we are nearing the halfway mark of the series, so the time for our strategies to pay off and our luck to change is now.”
The names of Mathew Hodges and Daniel Rowe are currently occupying the 5th and 6th positions on the points ladder following the first three outings, but their points tallies are most definitely not a reflection of the true standings. Daniel Rowe enjoyed a very competitive weekend in East London that culminated in a great podium position when his Jetta was the third car to cross the finish line in Race 2, but the young man received a penalty for allegedly blocking a fellow competitor that dropped him down the order. “I am more than confident that we stuck to our line and didn’t block anyone, and the footage from both our on-board as well as our fellow competitor’s cameras support our statement,” said Daniel Rowe in the week leading up to the Zwartkops event. The matter is still under investigation but the Volkswagen Motorsport team is quite confident that matters will go their way and that Rowe’s podium finish and the points that go with it will be reinstated. Teammate Mathew Hodges had a few issues that slowed him down in East London, but the man from the East Rand has lots of reasons to be positive in the run up to the Zwartkops race. “I got engaged just a few weeks ago,” said an excited Hodges. “And I’ve always enjoyed racing at Zwartkops so I’m looking forward to a competitive weekend behind the wheel of our excellent Jettas. The cars are good, our team has done everything they can to get them ready, and both myself and my teammate are more determined than ever to reward them with a good result.”
Hodges and Rowe aren’t the only ones with responsibilities during the two 17-lap races on Friday. Volkswagen Motorsport’s Golf GTi drivers Mandla Mdakane and Keagan Masters have dominated the opening two rounds, but their winning streak came to an end in East London where they were narrowly beaten by their opposition. “It would have been nice to win every race,” said Masters. “But you don’t have to in order to win the title and we are going to Zwartkops with our points lead still very much intact and that’s where our focus is, to win the GTC 2 championship.” Mdakane has been a revelation in 2017 by claiming both pole positions and race wins. “I made a few small mistakes in East London, but I’m looking forward to setting things right again at Zwartkops and fighting for more race victories,” added a determined Mdakane.
“We are looking forward to an exciting weekend’s racing in front of a large crowd at the very popular Zwartkops Raceway. Having said that, we are also looking for good results in both the GTC as well as GTC 2 categories, so the fight will undoubtedly be on,” concluded Mike Rowe.