All smiles after mak­ing it to the top out of 18 con­tenders, fi­nal­ists Bryce Pil­lay (left) and Sha­heen Am­lay will now bat­tle for over­all prize in in the third sea­son of VW’s driver search pro­gramme.

Volk­swa­gen Driver Search pro­gramme reaches fi­nal phase

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

ON the eve of Round 6 of the Ex­treme Fes­ti­val at the Zwartkops Race­way, Volk­swa­gen Mo­tor­sport could af­ford a mo­ment to re­flect on their in­volve­ment and suc­cesses in mo­tor­sport, both in the past as well as the fu­ture.

For more than two decades, the Volk­swa­gen Cup has thrilled crowds across the coun­try and with the new gen­er­a­tion of Polo GTis so evenly matched, it will con­tinue to do so for some time to come.

The VW team also has rea­son to smile when it comes to the coun­try’s premier cir­cuit rac­ing for­mula, the Sa­sol GTC Cham­pi­onship.

The leg­endary Golf GTi is the de­fend­ing cham­pion in the GTC2 cat­e­gory and con­tin­ues to top the points ta­ble cour­tesy of Kea­gan Masters, and the VW fac­tory driver Daniel Rowe has claimed the most wins in 2018 in the top GTC class from be­hind the wheel of his Jetta.

A num­ber of pos­si­ble fu­ture cham­pi­ons re­ceived the op­por­tu­nity of a life­time when the in­no­va­tive Volk­swa­gen Driver Search Pro­gramme ended its first phase at the Zwartkops Race­way.

The pro­gramme, which is now in its third sea­son, has al­ready yielded great re­sults. “In fact, Volk­swa­gen is renowned for find­ing and grow­ing rac­ing tal­ent,” said Mike Rowe, head of Volk­swa­gen Mo­tor­sport.

“A num­ber of for­mer Volk­swa­gen Cup driv­ers have all gone on to be­come cham­pi­ons and in­ter­na­tional stars in their own right such as the Van der Linde broth­ers, Kelvin and Shel­don as well as Jor­dan Pep­per who are all mak­ing their mark in the in­ter­na­tional arena.”

Lo­cally, the young Driver Search Pro­gramme has al­ready proved to be a huge suc­cess. Sea­son 1 win­ner Jonathan Mo­gotsi joined the Volk­swa­gen Cup com­pe­ti­tion in 2017 and man­aged to claim vic­tory in his first sea­son.

The fact that Mo­gotsi is cur­rently one of the fron­trun­ners and cham­pi­onship con­tenders for 2018 is fur­ther tes­ti­mony of the pro­gramme’s suc­cess.

“A few days ago, we started with 16 new hope­fuls who all had as­pi­ra­tions to fol­low in Jonathan’s foot­steps.

“To­day, after a se­ries of tough phys­i­cal, men­tal and driv­ing tests, we ended up with our fi­nal two,” con­tin­ued Rowe.

The can­di­dates were thrown into the deep end, but then again, the re­ward is mas­sive so Volk­swa­gen wanted to make sure that they will get the right person for the job.

The 16 hope­fuls were put through a num­ber of chal­lenges over the first two days of the event, which in­cluded a se­ries of fit­ness tests, as well as the first taste of com­pet­i­tive driv­ing at the Zwartkops Race­way.

The pro­gramme con­sisted of other rac­ing-re­lated el­e­ments such as lec­tures on me­dia and spon­sor­ship, sport psy­chol­ogy, and the the­ory of driv­ing.

The top eight then con­tin­ued to take on day three, a day filled with com­pet­i­tive driv­ing ac­tiv­i­ties after which the top four were an­nounced.

The four driv­ers who made it into the next phase were Taahir Moosajee, Ter­rance Khalo, Bryce Pil­lay and Sha­heen Am­lay.

They ex­pe­ri­enced all the el­e­ments of a full rac­ing week­end in front of a live crowd at Zwartkops, where Am­lay and Pil­lay emerged the fastest at the end of the week­end.

“Fol­low­ing fur­ther tests later in the year, we will end up with our 2018 win­ner,” said Rowe.

PHOTO: MOTORPRESS

From this group of eight as­pir­ing race driv­ers, Sha­heen Am­lay and Bryce Pil­lay made it to the fi­nal duel in the third sea­son of VW’s Driver Search Pro­gramme. The win­ner hopes to fol­low in the foot­steps of Jonathan Mo­gotsi, who claimed his first Polo Cup win last year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.