One, two, three for Volkswagen Motorsport after first GTC championship season

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  • Daniel Rowe wins GTC Production championship, Mandla Mdakane takes second place
  • Mathew Hodges finishes the 2016 season third overall in the Volkswagen Jetta GTC

Volkswagen Motorsport ended the six-round national Sasol GTC Africa season with three podium positions for the year. Mathew Hodges claimed third place overall for the year in the GTC category, behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Jetta GTC with Daniel Rowe winning the GTC Production season and Mandla Mdakane taking third in the Volkswagen Golf GTIs.

“It is an excellent achievement after a tough year of competition,” says Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “The team put in lots of effort behind the scenes to get the cars competitive for this new category, learning all about them – and the optimal setup – as they progressed.”

“A championship title and two additional podium results is a result we can be proud of in a category that is packed with talented competitors. The drivers earned every single point they achieved this year and, in combination with the technical team who brought their skills to the table, the progression to these results is obvious to see.”

The East London round of the GTC championship saw Daniel Rowe, the GTC Production champion by the penultimate round already, take second place in the first race of the day and winning race two.

“I won 11 out of 14 races this year with the Volkswagen Golf GTI,” says Daniel Rowe. “That’s a really good result when you consider that the other three were all podium finishes, even more so when you factor in that my opposition had more power and it was down to handling to ensure race victories.”

The one-two finish for the Volkswagen Motorsport GTI drivers this season comes thanks to the consistency displayed by Mandla Mdakane. Two fourth places on the final race day rounded off a season that saw him producing very similar results, carefully accumulating points on each race day. The result of this saw him finish second only to his teammate.

“It has been a year of exciting competition and today was probably the toughest of all,” says Mdakane. “Making sure I could be a part of that one-two finish for Volkswagen Motorsport is the perfect reward for the season.”

Mathew Hodges has put in a lot of effort this season, culminating in his first race win in this series – on the final day to ensure his third place overall in the GTC championship this season.

“Winning today is good for the team,” says Hodges. “It didn’t look that likely that I’d get on the podium today against the competition than to walk away, not just with a podium result, but a race victory is a brilliant result. Third overall for the year is thanks to the dedication of the team, to keep me going and they persevered at every round to make us better each time.”

Not to be outdone by his teammates, Graeme Nathan also made sure to appear on the podium in East London, finishing third in the first race and then third again in race two for his best result of the season.

“The Volkswagen Jetta went brilliantly,” says Nathan. “Everything has just come together and the race mechanics did a sterling job. Speed has never been a problem for me, so neither pushing the pace at a fast circuit like East London is not a problem. Getting the handling sorted and when to do what takes some work, the team have made some adjustments to help me there and the changes are definitely making the difference.”

With a new year ahead, the Volkswagen Motorsport team will be looking to an even better performance in  2017 with off-season preparation and a refreshed line-up ready to tackle the next national motorsport championship and aim for the overall title.

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