There’s no stopping Daniel Rowe and his Volkswagen Golf GTI. When the Sasol GTC Africa field contested the first race weekend at Kyalami in Johannesburg, Rowe brought the performance he has shown in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria to stand on the top step again.
Rowe’s performance in the GTC Production category surprised even him – especially with a bit of trouble in qualifying that saw him struggle to get a clear track.
“The first race I managed to break away in the first lap already and from there just maintained it,” says Rowe. “Race two I had a good start but struggled in the first few laps but got that sorted and concentrated on getting the car to the finish to take home the points. I didn’t expect to compete at Kyalami and have this margin on the other competitors, but we’ve got great pace, the car handles well and everything just worked perfectly.”
Race one saw Rowe’s teammate in the GTC Production category, Mandla Mdakane follow him home for second place just a few seconds behind. The pair also claimed first and second overall in the GTC Production category.
The Volkswagen Jetta GTC entries of Mathew Hodges and Graeme Nathan were strong in race one, crossing the finish line in fourth and fifth place, with Nathan stepping on to the podium in race two, claiming third. The pair were also third and fourth overall for the Kyalami race weekend.
“The team worked really, really hard,” says Nathan. “I love being in the race, I know I’m still doing something wrong which is affecting my pace, but the car is working perfectly and hasn’t missed a beat all day.”
In addition to the GTC races, Volkswagen Motorsport also staged two special races at Kyalami. One was a celebrity race with invited guests Sasha Martinengo, Ntando Kunene, Garth Collins, John Smit, Jacob Moshokoa, Graeme Richards, Naas Botha and Jack Parow.
The second was a media race, featuring some of South Africa’s motoring media. This list was Dennis Droppa, Janine van der Post, Lindsay Smyth, Andrew Leopold, Mark Smyth, Michele Lupini, Mark Jones and Sean Nurse. Both fields competed at the wheel of Volkswagen Polos sponsored by Cell C, Oracle Graphics, Engen Primax, Volkswagen Financial Services, Volkswagen Genuine Parts, Dunlop, ATS Motorsport Supplies / OMP and Sapphire Logistics.
At the end of the celebrity race it was Parow that claimed the chequered flag, followed by Botha and then Richards. The media race victory went to Nurse, with Jones second and Lupini rounding out the podium.
Round five of the Sasol GTC Africa championship sees the Volkswagen Motorsport competitors return to Zwartkops Raceway for an action-packed round on Saturday, November 26.