Sheldon Van der Linde and Daniel Rowe both achieved their championship objectives as the Engen Volkswagen Cup reaches a thrilling climax with one round remaining.
Van Der Linde, the defending champion in the #1 Champion-branded Volkswagen Polo Vivo, out-raced his nearest rivals, Mathew Hodges and Daniel Rowe (#2 Ferodo) to move closer to his second title, while Daniel closed down the points gap towards achieving his second place in the title race.
The three heats making up round seven saw some spectacular racing with all four of the Champion and Ferodo teams in the mix from lights to flag.
In the opening race, Sheldon scorched off the line to pass pole-sitter Tasmin Pepper and the two circulated nose to tail for the full eight lap race. Daniel worked his way up to third from fifth on the grid, while Bradley and Matt ended 6th and 7th respectively.
After the race, a rival team protested Sheldon and the positions were reversed, after it was found that Sheldon had crossed the circuit white line marker. Under heavy pressure and heavy braking, the Polo inadvertently snapped sideways.
Race two featured an inverted grid and saw Daniel end 4th, ahead of Sheldon in 5th and Bradley in sixth. Matt was bashed and bruised by his rivals and ended 9th. Team strategy saw Sheldon, with a comfortable championship cushion, assist Daniel and backed off to allow the #2 Ferodo driver to gain an extra point.
The final race saw another eight lap duel between Sheldon and Pepper. Try as he might, it was impossible for Sheldon to find a way past his rival without risk, so settled for a comfortable second place, until the race was stopped due to an accident At the re-start, Sheldon hunted down Tasmin and passed her, but the two-part race saw him classified second. The two Ferodo cars circulated in close company in 4th and 5th places, Daniel ahead of Bradley, while poor Matt was again shoved around and ended 9th.
Sheldon wasn’t unhappy with his day’s work, opening his lead to 40 points. Daniel was a little disappointed with his 4th overall, but edged closer to second place overall with one round and two races remaining.
Sheldon van der Linde (#1 Champion): “My qualifying was a bit scrappy and I didn’t get everything out of my fastest lap. In race 1, I made a great start and passed Tasmin in the run to Turn 1. I was under pressure from her the whole race long. The officials overturned my victory – I guess I won it on the road, if not on paper.
In race 2, I started sixth on the reverse grid and made up a couple of positions, but at the end I helped Daniel gain an extra point. I had too much wheelspin off the line in race three. The track wasn’t as grippy, which caught me out. The race was red-flagged after two laps; on the re-start I got away well and passed Tasmin and stayed ahead for the win”.