The new Engen Polo Cup title chase visited the ultra-fast East London Grand Prix circuit for the first time, to entertain a huge crowd as part of the 2018 Extreme Festival series on Saturday, June 16.
The ultra-fast venue and extremely windy conditions challenged drivers and cars to the full, with an unexpected winner emerging.
The surprises started happening early on race day.
After Saturday morning’s Official Qualifying and Superpole sessions, VW Motorsport team driver Jonathan Mogotsi occupied the first pole position of his racing career.
Championship points leader Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Health Polo), filled the front row of the grid, ahead of Clinton Bezuidenhout (Glyco Polo), Tasmin Pepper (Electric Life Polo), Keegan Campos (Campos Transport Polo), and Altan Bouw (Champion Polo).
Rounding out the top 11 places, all covered by eight tenths of a second, were Jason Campos (Turn One Polo), Shaun La Reservee (Alpine Motors Polo), Delon Thompson (A&L Materials Polo), Justin Oates (Sika Haupt Polo) and Darren Oates (Ferodo Polo).
Mogotsi showed his qualifying pace was no fluke, when he led the opening eight-lap race from starting lights to chequered flag.
Behind him Pepper, using her Push to Pass opportunities wisely, emerged on top after a spirited six-car war.
She took second place from Bezuidenhout, Keegan Campos, Kruger, Jason Campos and La Reservee.
Rounding out the top 12 places were Thompson, Justin Oates, Paulus Franken (Manitou Group Polo), Daniel Duminy (SMD Group Polo) and Bouw.
Tasmin Pepper’s car suffered a punctuated radiator during the warmup lap and she was forced to retire.
Mogotse then repeated his first race form, taking the lead on the opening lap and relentlessly pulling ahead.
He made no mistakes and eventually finished the ten laps a full four seconds ahead of the pack.
They were led home by Jason Campos, Bezuidenhout, Duminy, La Reservee, Kruger and Thompson.
Filling out the top 12 places were Keegan Campos, Bow, Darren Oates, Justin Oates and Franken.
Kruger’s respective fifth and sixth places on the day were sufficient to retain his overall 2018 championship lead, narrowly ahead of Pepper, with Mogotsi now close enough to cause an upset at the next outing.
The next two rounds of the 2018 Engen Polo Cup championship will be held at the Port Elizabeth Aldo Scribante circuit on Saturday, July 15.