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2014-03-03 11:10

FOLLOWING FOOTSTEPS: 14-year-old Sheldon van der Linde, younger brother of VW Scirocco Cup R champion Kelvin, made his mark during Round 1 of the VW Cup at Zwartkops on Mar 1. Image: Steve Wicks/Motorpress

ZWARTKOPS, Pretoria - The Engen Volkswagen Cup championship delivered an exciting first round of competition on Saturday (Mar 1 2014).
The drivers campaigned the opening event of the Super Series – giving, in true VW Cup tradition, no quarter. Typical of the unpredictability of this series, there were a few surprises on race day, says Volkswagen SA.

Mathew Hodges, a regular in the series, is racing in the 2014 season as a Master for the first time. Any racer older than 27 falls into this category and a good season could see him become the first Master to win the overall championship.

Hodges made the third-fastest qualifying time, behind the quickest pair on track, Daniel Rowe and Dewald Brummer.
VW says Hodges' pace on track, and subsequent pole start, resulted in him winning the first race and he went on to claim fifth in Race 2 – putting him third in the championship. Rowe's qualifying time second on the grid helped him to third in Race 1 after an on-track battle with Brummer.

Race 2 was where he showed his talent, winning from sixth.


For Brummer, a great start to the season and second place in Race 1 saw his fortunes rather different in the second event when a fuel-pump problem pushed him from his pole start right down to 17th at the finish.
Zwartkops was the first foray into this category for 14-year-old Sheldon van der Linde, following in the footsteps of his older brother Kelvin who won the championship title in 2011, the international 2013 VW Scirocco R Cup in Germany and will race in the 2014 Adac GT Masters championship,  Linde put on a good qualifying performance and found himself in the top six draw for grid positions.
Linde did especially well in the second race to claim second, pressuring team mate Rowe at every possible moment, even briefly taking the lead.
Other newcomers were Christopher Shorter , Michael Gibson, Shayur Harpal, Anthony Lessing and John Craig.
With Hodges' the fastest Master out on track, it was left to Trevor Bland – another newcomer to the Masters category – to do battle against Juan Gerber for second. Defending Masters champion Eddie Rodrigue had to settle for running way down the order as ill-health took its toll on his performance.

Round 2 at Killarney in Cape Town on March 20 2014 will see Rodrigues eager to get into the thick of the racing action and begin his title defence in earnest.
Race 1
1 Dewald Brummer
2 Daniel Rowe
3 Sheldon van der Linde

Race 2
1 Daniel Rowe
2 Sheldon van der Linde
3 Jano van der Westhuizen

1 Daniel Rowe
2 Sheldon van der Linde
3 Jano van der Westhuizen
1 Mathew Hodges
2 Juan Gerber
3 Trevor Bland
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