ROWE SCORES MAIDEN VICTORY AS MOSS LEADS SASOL GTC CHAMPIONSHIP
Cape Town, South Africa – Simon Moss and Daniel Rowe took line honours at the second round of the Sasol GTC Championship held at Killarney Raceway in Cape Town yesterday in a pair of closely fought races in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.
Moss powered his Engen Audi GTC to pole position, a slender 0.162 seconds ahead of the double Sasol GTC champion Michael Stephen, who duly raced the #1 Audi GTC to second position in the first race.
Qualifying was a close-fought affair with the top six covered by just 0.79 seconds, a result that set the scene for one of the best day’s GTC racing yet seen.
When the action got underway after the popular fan grid-walk, Moss took an immediate lead with Stephen right behind him. While the champion tried to beat his younger team-mate, a small mistake saw him cross the finish line 0.17 seconds adrift in spite of setting the race’s fastest lap. The win gives Moss the championship lead after round two of the nine that makes up the 2018 Sasol GTC Championship.
On lap four, Michael Van Rooyen (RSC BMW GTC) made a bold move down the inside of Gennaro Bonafede (Sasol BMW GTC) to move into third place which he maintained to the finish line, with the Sasol BMW left to fight to defend his fourth place from a determined Daniel Rowe.
Bonafede, Johan Fourie (EPS Couriers BMW GTC) and Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Jetta GTC) were embroiled in a cut-and-thrust battle that saw positions change several times a lap over the eight lap race.
Rowe, who was fifth on the starting grid, raced hard to gain third place during race one, but unfortunately lost it again due to a minor tactical mistake on his part. Local hero Johan Fourie, who was tipped as the favourite of the day, finished in sixth place followed by Robert Wolk (Sasol BMW GTC) and Mathew Hodges in the second factory Volkswagen Jetta GTC.
In the front-wheel drive GTC2 class, reigning champion Keagan Masters ruled supreme leading from start to finish in his Volkswagen Advanced Driving Golf GTi. Devin Robertson raced his Champion MINI John Cooper Works to the runner-up spot, some four 10ths behind the winner and one tenth ahead of Trevor Bland (Universal healthcare VW Golf GTi).
Race two’s reverse grid saw Mathew Hodges line up in pole position with Robert Wolk alongside, followed by Fourie and Rowe.
Hodges was almost immediately passed by Wolk’s Sasol BMW, while further back in the pack both Engen Audi GTCs started a remarkable passage through the pack, carving their way towards the front.
By mid-race, Bonafede fell victim to the Audi assault while Rowe passed Wolk for the lead at turn four, having made several attempts to pass on the previous lap. With five laps remaining, Rowe eased ahead and started to open out what became a winning margin.
Stephen passed Wolk who clung on to his podium position race two start, while further back, Michael van Rooyen pipped Moss by a mere one hundredth of a second, or around 80cm after 32km of closely fought racing. Bonafede ended in sixth ahead of Hodges’ Jetta GTC. Johan Fourie retired from race two due to turbo related issues which left his large Cape Town fan base disappointed.
The thousands of fans cheered another Cape Town motorsport hero, Dayne Angel (Angel Autohaus Honda Civic Type R) who led the GTC2 class until the race midpoint when he slid off the track at turn eight.
This incident let Keagan Masters into the lead once more, having carved his way from the back of the pack. Trevor Bland passed Bradley Liebenberg (Ferodo MINI John Cooper Works) as they accelerated out of the final corner on the last lap to take second place. Liebenberg received a jump-start penalty that dropped him to the tail of the field.
Angel, having recovered from his spin, was classified third, ahead of Johan Pretorius (Universal Healthcare VW Golf GTi), Adrian Wood (Kyocera Golf GTi) and Devin Robertson (Champion Mini).
The third round of the Sasol GTC Championship takes places at the Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria on 12th May.
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[ISSUED BY SASOL]