Shaun La Réserveé is the 2016 Engen Volkswagen Polo Cup Masters champion following a dramatic and chaotic season finale at Zwartkops on Saturday. His Pepper Racing rookie teammate Daniel Duminy meanwhile ended his maiden main circuit season on a high note with a strong couple of races in spite of all the drama around him.
La Réserveé started the day in formidable style as he added yet another lights to flag victory to his impressive 2016 tally to go into the finale having to just finish well to take the Polo Cup Masters title. But the fat lady had not sung and man, did she scream! Shaun was in a strong fourth after drawing sixth in the top six qualifying shootout, but then all hell broke out on lap 3 when he was drawn into an accident from behind, the upshot of which chaos damaged his Alpine Motors Polo’ radiator.
Knowing that he had to finish the race to just have a chance of taking the Masters title, Durban driver Shaun struggled on to complete the seventh lap in order to be classified before his overheated car finally cried enough. His title however still lay in the hands of fellow Masters driver Trevor Bland, who had escaped the drama to lead the race overall from La Réserveé’s championship rival Juan Gerber.
If Bland could keep ahead of Gerber, Shaun would be champion and all Shaun could do was watch the two fight to the finish, but Bland duly fought Gerber off to win by just 0.3 seconds and allow La Réserveé to take the Masters title by just one point!
“What a season!” a greatly relieved Shaun sighed. “A great but torrid season at the same time for me. “We finished strongly when we finished but then we also also had more then our fair share of bad luck, so to come away fourth overall and to have the most race wins in the season just shows how much bad luck was actually had. “But, in saying that we managed to clinch the Masters title and had a great year of good, close and relatively clean racing.
“To Iain, Shane and the rest of the team who have worked tirelessly – thank you – especially to Shane – you fix the car, I break it, you fix the car, I break it – thanks so much mate! “And most of all to my dad – thanks for always being there – Next year we will be back to chase the overall and Masters again – we plan to do the double!
La Réserveé’s 16-year old rookie SMD Pepper Racing Polo teammate Daniel Duminy had another positive weekend at Zwartkops, emerging ninth overall following another pair of combative drives to 12th and ninth respectively.
“What a mega year!” The Ballito 16-year old declared. “It is brilliant to be a part of Pepper Racing – what a pity with the amount of bad luck Shaun had, but I am really happy with what I achieved this year considering it was my first ever year on the main circuit in the toughest racing series in South Africa.
“Pepper Racing has taken me under its wing – Iain like a father and always pushing me to my limits and making me achieve something and Jords and Tasmin are like family – they always look out for me and want the best for me. “Thanks so much to Shane and all the behind the scene guys – Chad, Shane and Jev you have really just been so amazing !
“Now it’s on to next year and hopefully we can be chasing titles – bring it on!”
“That was a really tough year, but that’s motor racing!” team boss Iain Pepper explained. “Once again lady luck deserted Shaun in the second race today, but we still took the Masters title and Shaun won the most races of all this year, while Daniel has improved in leaps and bounds through his first year in cars.
“We will be back in force on the new year – we have some exciting plans with Shaun, Daniel and one or two other drivers – well done to the entire team – roll on Killarney in March!”