Killarney, Cape Town - The fastest and most highly evolved production-based racing saloons in the world will be in action here on Saturday 29 March in Round 2 of the Super Series, as the reigning champions come under fire from highly motivated challengers.
Production Car champion Michael Stephen knows his feature-race win in the wet at Zwartkops was more a measure of his mastery of the conditions than his Audi S4's outright pace.
Gennaro Bonafede's spirited drive took his rival S4 to a brace of second places, a front-row position in qualifying (which earned him two extra points) and the fastest lap in each race (with a bonus point for each) and promoted the youngster to the top of the points standings.
AUDI IN COMMAND
Bonafede's team mate Hennie Groenewald is just three points adrift, but Stephen splits the two, making it an Audi S4 Audi one-two-three-four with Simon Moss is the second Engen car giving the Four Rings a perfect start to the season.
The BMW 335is of Johan Fourie and Gavin Cronje had a miserable outing at Zwartkops, but Fourie is an absolute master of Killarney, and he'll want to perform in front of his home crowd.
The BMW's will benefit from a rule that requires the supercharged Audis to run a smaller intake restrictor at coastal circuits and for the first time, the BMWs will have access to wet weather tyres, if the prevailing weather refuses to clear.
Class champion Graeme Nathan and and his VW Golf GTI heads the points table despite finishing fourth in the long race last time out - the result of accidental contact with a rival - thanks to three bonus points for pole position, plus a win and the fastest lap in the sprint race.
But just a point adrift is the Chevrolet Cruze of Michael van Rooyen, who spun out while leading the class in the feature race at Zwartkops and will be keen to take the fight back to his old nemesis.
They'll have to contend with a determined Gary Formato, who broke a driveshaft on his works Ford Racing Focus ST in the sprint at Zwartkops; the team didn't have a spare, but an enthusiastic owner offered the part from his road car and Formato went on to win the feature race and earn a solid 20 points.
V8 SUPERCARS AND SHELBY CAN-AMS
Championship leader Alan Eve will be on the grid to do battle with Zwartkops points-scorers Thomas Reib and Andrew Strike while Alister Brown, Doug MacDonald and Fritz Kleynhans will be equally determined to bag their first points of the season.
The fast and flowing Killarney circuit is well suited to the Sports and GT cars, so exciting action and some bold overtaking manoeuvres can be expected. The series is supported by the Rose Foundation, a non-profit organisation that manages the environmentally acceptable collection, storage and recycling of used lubricating oil in SA.
Seasoned Volkswagen Cup campaigner Mathew Hodges has moved into the Masters category this year - and promptly became the first Master to feature at the sharp end of the field, with a real chance of being the first Master to win title outright.
At the other end of the spectrum, 14-year-old Sheldon van der Linde scored a top-six qualifying spot, two podium finishes and a second overall for the day on his series debut at Zwartkops - expect him to be bullish at Killarney.
As will Daniel Rowe, who won his maiden VW Cup race and survived some serious on-track battles to take first for the day; he's clearly one to watch.
VW Cup racing is not for sissies; any one-make series produces very close racing and this one, with its mix of gung-ho teenage rookies and battle-hardened veterans, is apt to get a bit physical. Add to that the unpredictable Cape autumn weather, and anything could happen and probably will.