Volkswagen Motorsport’s Keagan Masters has been crowned the 2019 GTC Champion as the team added two driver titles to their manufacturer titles to conclude a dominant season at Red Star Raceway (October 25-26).
Masters added the Drivers Championship to his back-to-back GTC2 titles, while teammate Brad Liebenberg took over the reigns as GTC2 Champion in the production class. Toyota Gazoo Racing driver Michael van Rooyen also took a long-awaited maiden GTC race win to conclude the season.
Changeable weather conditions arrived for Saturday morning’s qualifying session, but it was Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics BMW) who’s gamble on slick tyres paid off to see him grab pole position. Behind him was the pack of five title contenders headed up by Masters (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta) who bounced back after fuel pressure issues during Friday’s practice sessions. Row 2 saw Simon Moss (Moss Racing / Audi / All Power) heading up Johan Fourie (EPS Courier Services BMW); the latter being one of only two drivers with extensive testing knowledge of the new circuit added to the 2019 season. Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta) started in fifth place ahead of Michael van Rooyen (Gazoo Racing Toyota Corolla).
Race 1 saw Wolk and Moss involved in a Lap 1 accident which eliminated both drivers from the race. With the damage on both cars being terminal, this effectively put an end to Moss’ chances for the title after dominating the first half of the season. After the restart, it was Masters who took command to take his second win for the season. Fourie held off a persistent Van Rooyen with the pair filling the podium. Tschops Sipuka (Moss Racing / Audi / All Power) finished fourth with Rowe in fifth place; effectively ending the latter’s title hopes as well.
With Masters taking a second win for the season, this ensured that the battle for the title became a two-horse race between himself and Van Rooyen during the inverted grid Race 2. The Toyota driver soon passed Rowe for the lead with the pressure mounting on Masters; especially after an incident which saw him slipping to fourth place. While Van Rooyen dominated up front, Masters benefited from an incident between Fourie and Sipuka to move up into third place. Van Rooyen took a maiden win for himself and the Gazoo Racing Toyota South Africa team in their debut season, with Fourie crossing the line in second place. Masters finished third; enough for him to take the title by two points with Van Rooyen and Fourie as runners up. Rowe’s fourth place in the race was enough for him to secure fourth place on the points table ahead of Moss, while Sipuka finished fifth in the race and sixth in the championship in his debut season.
In GTC2, Liebenberg (Volkswagen Motorsport Golf) merely had to record a finish in one of the races to secure his title and after dominating practice on Friday, he started his race day off by taking pole position ahead of Adrian Wood (Kyocera Volkswagen Motorsport Golf). Charl Smalberger (Universal HealthCare Volkswagen Golf) qualified third ahead of Paul Hill (Kalex Volkswagen Golf).
Wood took an early lead in Race 1 to finish with his second win for the season ahead of Liebenberg. Smalberger and Hill finished third and fourth respectively. The result was enough to see Liebenberg take the title with Wood as runner-up. In Race 2, it was Liebenberg who added another win to his stellar season ahead of Wood and Hill. Smalberger did not start following gear selection issues; still taking third place in the championship.
While the weekend’s focus was on the title deciders, the event also saw the debut of the brand-new Volkswagen Super Polo to be campaigned in the 2020 season. This saw reigning triple GTC Champion Michael Stephen making his first on-track appearance for the 2019 season, giving the new racecar valuable track mileage ahead of the new season.
For more information as well as announcements relating to the 2020 season, head to www.gtcafrica.co.za.
The Global Touring Cars (GTC) Championship is set for its closest finish to date with both class titles still undecided heading into the season finale at Red Star Raceway this weekend (October 25-26).
Volkswagen Motorsport drivers Keagan Masters and Brad Liebenberg are heading up the respective GTC and GTC2 points tables, but they’ll both be hounded by fierce rivals as Round 8 will be held in unknown territory; the Delmas circuit being a new addition to the 2019 calendar and one that GTC has not contested previously.
Red Star Raceway was included in on the 2018 calendar, but the season finale for that year was moved to Zwartkops Raceway following a change of governing body affiliation by the previous owners of the circuit. Originally built as a private superbike testing circuit, the 4km circuit first started hosting four-wheel races in 2016. Featuring a balance of fast straights and 13 looping corners, it’s one of the few circuits used both clockwise and counter-clockwise; the former being the configuration for this weekend’s season finale.
The primary battle in GTC will be between Masters (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta) on 262 points and Simon Moss (Moss Racing / Audi / AllPower) and Michael van Rooyen (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa); both two points adrift. Moss dominated the early part of the season, but technical issues and incidents saw him lose ground in the latter half. This saw Masters take the lead following Round 6 after his maiden win and a host of consistent podium finishes. As reigning GTC2 Champion, Masters will also be spurred on by the idea of winning the premier class title on debut.
But the real surprise is Van Rooyen, as the Rustenberg-based driver is the only one heading into the weekend without a single race win in the past four years. In its debut season, the Toyota team has delivered a host of good results to find themselves in a position to challenge for the title, and also with mathematical chance of Van Rooyen being able to take the title without having a win to his name.
Further back, but also still in with a chance is Johan Fourie (EPS Courier Services BMW) and Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta). Both drivers are tied on 247 points and are already battling for their best finish to the season. Fourie is one of the drivers with prior experience at the circuit, with Red Star Raceway being his designated test circuit. In addition, he has completed a race weekend in a regional category in 2019 which provided him with further knowledge in race-trim around the circuit. For Rowe this will be a new experience, but there’s no lack of motivation for Rowe who’ll be eager to make his mark in the final round of what has been a strong season for the Volkswagen Motorsport team.
Robert Wolk (Chemical Logitics BMW) has proved to be both fast and an expert in Race 2 reverse-gird conditions. With two wins already behind his name for the year, he’ll be looking to add another to his tally, as will Moss’ teammate Tschops Sipuka.
In GTC2, the title will be decided between the Volkswagen Motorsport Golf pair of Brad Liebenberg and the Kyocera-partnered Adrian Wood. Liebenberg finds himself in a comfortable position needing only 12 points to secure the title with the last race to spare, regardless of where Wood will finish. The latter will be determined to end his season on a high and complete a one-two for the team. Wood is the other driver with prior experience in regional level at the circuit.
Charl Smalberger (Universal HealthCare Volkswagen Golf) will be pushing hard for a strong finish as well. A title contender merely two rounds ago, Smalberger’s retirement in the second race of Round 7 sees him now trailing Wood by 24 points. Paul Hill (Kalex Volkswagen Golf) won the last race held at high altitude and will also be looking to repeat this performance while finishing the season in fourth place.
Friday will see the drivers participating in four 20 minute practice session. Saturday will see them on for an early-morning warm-up session ahead of Qualifying at 09:10. Both races will be contested over 10 laps will start at 12:20 and 14:30 respectively. Prior to Race 1 there will be a grid walk at 11:50.
For more information head to www.gtcafrica.co.za
The penultimate round of the 2019 GTC Championship in Cape Town last weekend (September 28-29) saw Volkswagen Motorsport claim the manufacturers title one round early, while four different winners helped set up both driver title fights for a thrilling grand finale next month.
Saturday morning’s Qualifying session at Killarney International Raceway saw Simon Moss (Moss Racing / Audi / AllPower) claim his fifth Dunlop pole position for the season. Local hero Johan Fourie (EPS Courier Services BMW) joined him on the front row while Keagan Masters (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta) qualified in third place. This trio also set the pace during Friday’s three practice sessions and were split by less than 0.09 seconds in the Saturday morning qualifying session. Michael van Rooyen (Gazoo Racing Toyota South Africa) lined up in fourth place ahead of Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics BMW). Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa Jetta) completed the top six with Tschops Sipuka (Moss Racing / Audi / AllPower) in seventh place.
In the first 12-lap race, Moss took the lead off the line and held back Fourie to claim his seventh win of the season; the BMW driver finished runner-up. Masters and Rowe had a good tussle for third place during the early stages with Wolk in close pursuit. Van Rooyen made an error that caused him to lose ground but as the opening race progressed, the Toyota driver was able to regain position due to incidents involving Rowe and Wolk. Masters finished the race in third place, but lost the position to Van Rooyen following a post-race hearing where he was penalised by three positions for his part in the incident with Wolk. Rowe and Wolk were also promoted to fourth and fifth places respectively with Masters rounding out the top-six. Sipuka retired after seven laps.
Wolk started from pole position for Race 2’s inverted grid and added his second win for the season after dominating the race up front. Van Rooyen was in pursuit but had Masters behind to contend with throughout the race with the pair rounding out the podium in that order. The Audi pair of Moss and Sipuka came home in fourth and fifth places respectively. This battle also included Fourie for two thirds of the race, but contact between himself and Moss resulted in the Capetonian’s retirement on Lap 9. Subsequently Moss was excluded from the results for his part in the incident, promoting Sipuka and Rowe to fourth and fifth respectively.
In GTC2, Brad Liebenberg (Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa Golf) set the pace throughout Friday’s practice sessions, but he was beaten to pole position by his primary rival Adrian Wood (Kyocera Volkswagen Motorsport Golf). Paul Hill (Kalex Volkswagen Golf) lined up in third place on the grid. Charl Smalberger (Universal HealthCare Volkswagen Golf) missed the latter two of Friday’s practice sessions following an engine failure, and had a new power unit delivered overnight, but were unable to have the car ready for Qualifying which resulted in him lining up in fourth place by default.
Wood took the Race 1 win, but received a penalty after the race that saw him swopping positions with second-placed Smalberger. This gave Smalberger his fourth win for the season. Hill finished third with Liebenberg bringing his car home in fourth place; two laps down after struggling with brake issues from Lap 2 onwards.
Race 2 however saw Liebenberg capitalising on his pole position to take a lights-to-flag win; the eighth time that he took to the top step of the podium in 2019. Wood finished as runner-up with Hill making it two third-place finishes for the day. Smalberger retired after seven laps.
The season finale is set for the closest finish in the championship’s four-year history with Masters leading both Moss and Van Rooyen who are tied just two points behind. The gap between the top-five has now decreased to 17 points with both Rowe and Fourie also in with a chance of taking the title. Liebenberg will have an easier time of things leading GTC2, with the only driver still able to dent his title hopes being Wood who finds himself 29 points adrift.
Round 8 will also see the second new circuit on the calendar for 2019. Red Star Raceway in Delmas will play host to the championship decider on October 25-26, 2019.
[Issued by GTC]
CLOSE MARGIN BETWEEN TOP CONTENDERS AS VOLKSWAGEN AIMS TO DEFEND GTC LEAD IN CAPE TOWN
Volkswagen Motorsport will aim to defend their lead in both the GTC and GTC2 Championships at the penultimate round of the 2019 season being held at the Killarney International Raceway (September 27-28).
Keegan Masters (GTC) and Brad Liebenberg (GTC2) are finding themselves in top spot on the respective points tables, but will face fierce opposition from rivals as they all fight for bragging rights with just four races remaining this season.
Only 20 points separates the top five in GTC; the exact same margin as at the start of the second half of the season but with Masters (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta) since taking over the lead following his maiden win in East London. The reigning GTC2 Champion has kept himself in contention throughout the season with seven further podium finishes. With 232 points to his name he finds himself in a strong position to build on this lead.
No less than four drivers are within a one-race striking margin. Heading up this group is Simon Moss (Moss Racing / Audi / AllPower Team) just six points back. Moss has been on top of the points table throughout the season, until Round 6 which marked the first time this year that Moss did not finish on the podium, handing the championship lead to Masters. Moss will be pushing hard to reclaim the lead by adding to his six wins for the year thus far.
Five points behind the Audi driver is Michael van Rooyen (Gazoo Racing Toyota Corolla). While yet to celebrate his maiden win, the Toyota driver has been consistently taking good points finishes throughout the year. Round 6 saw him twice finishing as runner-up by a very narrow margin. There’s very little doubt about his motivation to raise that first victory trophy in Toyota’s debut season.
Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta) finds himself six points behind the top three. Since the previous Cape Town visit, Rowe has only collected one podium finish, but will be trying to emulate his Race 1 win from that day. The middle part of the season has seen him in a couple of fierce midfield battles with Johan Fourie (EPS Courier Services BMW); the man just five points adrift. Cape Town’s Fourie heads up the BMW onslaught and will by eager to impress his home fans by wanting to add a third win for the season.
Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics BMW) and Tschops Sipuka ((Moss Racing / Audi / AllPower Team) have both had their share of difficulties in 2019, but have shown formidable pace while having taken a win each in the two recent inverted-grid races. While they are both already out of contention for the title, they can still be very instrumental in the outcome of the championship. Wolk set the pace in Qualifying at the previous visit where Sipuka sportingly allowed Moss to use his car. Both drivers will also be eager to finish their season in solid form. Niyaaz Modack (WH Auctioneers BMW) will only make his third championship appearance, but will also be spurred on by competing in front of his home crowd for the first time.
In GTC2, Liebenberg (Volkswagen Motorsport Golf) finds himself in a strong position on 261 points while leading his Kyocera-partnered teammate Adrian Wood by 31 points. Cape Town is the venue where Liebenberg’s five-race winning streak came to an end earlier this year but he has taken two wins since then. While the championship battle is sure to carry into the season finale, Liebenberg can find himself well on his way to securing it with a strong performance in Round 7. Wood will also have to content with Charl Smalberger (Universal HealthCare Volkswagen Golf) in third place. Ten points separates the pair after Wood’s last-lap misfortunes that cost him the most recent race win. Smalberger has been in good form of late and will also try to emulate his winning performance from the last Cape Town race.
The season has seen a good midfield contest between Paul Hill (Kalex Volkswagen Polo) and Mandla Mdakane (Transitliner MINI Johan Cooper Works). Hill currently holds fourth place with one win to his name while Mdakane will be eager to get back onto the podium again.
Round 7, the penultimate round of the 2019 GTC Championship, will be held at Killarney International Raceway from September 27-28, 2019. Friday sees three practice sessions at 10:00, 12:45 and 16:20, qualifying is scheduled early on Saturday morning at 8:50, followed by the GTC fan grid walk on the main straight at 11:35 and two 12-lap races (12:10 and 14:55).
For more information head to www.gtcafrica.co.za
Volkswagen Motorsport has taken the lead of both drivers and manufacturers titles in the 2019 Global Touring Cars championship after strong results at Round 6 at the Border Motorsport East London Grand Prix Circuit last weekend.
The August 30-31 event saw Keagan Masters (Volkswagen Motorsport) move ahead of Simon Moss (Moss Racing / Audi / AllPower driver) on the outright GTC point stable while Brad Liebenberg (Volkswagen Motorsport) extended his lead in GTC2. The weekend also saw two maiden winners taking to the top step of the podium; Masters and Audi racer Tschops Sipuka.
Saturday morning’s qualifying session saw Masters taking his maiden pole position ahead of Michael van Rooyen (Gazoo Racing Toyota South Africa). Johan Fourie (EPS Courier Services BMW) headed up Row 2 ahead of Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport). Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics BMW) qualified in fifth position ahead of championship leader, Simon Moss. The Audi driver was involved in a large incident in Friday’s second practice session which saw the team having to work late into the night to have him ready for action on Saturday. Moss’ teammate Tschops Sipuka and BMW driver Niyaaz Modack (WC Auctioneers BMW) rounded out the GTC field.
Race 1 saw Wolk retiring early due to an electrical problem while Masters and Van Rooyen delivered a fierce battle up front. Both drivers were in search of their maiden wins, but it was Masters who took a lights-to-flag victory at the end of the eight-lap race. Further back Fourie held off Rowe to add another podium to his 2019 tally. The Audi duo completed the top-six with Moss crossing the line ahead of Sipuka. Modack finished in seventh place.
Modack did not start Race 2 due to a drive shaft breakage which promoted Sipuka to pole position for the inverted-grid second race. This set him up to take his maiden win; although it did not come easy. The opening two laps saw him unchallenged while Rowe and Van Rooyen made their way to the front. On Lap 5, Van Rooyen passed Rowe and set off after the Audi driver who had his defences thoroughly tested in the closing stages of the 10-lap race. The battle up front kept the rest of the field in close contention with Sipuka, Van Rooyen, Rowe, Masters and Fourie crossing the finish within 1.8 seconds of each other. Further back Moss completed the top-six with Wolk again retiring due to an electrical issue.
In GTC2, Charl Smalberger (Universal HealthCare Volkswagen Golf) took pole position ahead of the Volkswagen Motorsport Golf duo of Brad Liebenberg and Adrian Wood. Paul Hill (Kalex Volkswagen Golf) lined up in fourth place ahead of Bob Neill (Delmon Mining Ford Focus) and Mandla Mdakane (Transitliner MINI John Cooper Works).
Smalberger took a lights-to-flag win in Race 1 while Wood made his way into second place ahead of Liebenberg. Wood however started experiencing gear selection problems which allowed Liebenberg to retake the position. Hill finished fourth ahead of Neill while Mdakane who also struggled with electrical difficulties rounded out the field.
In Race 2 Wood took an early lead and started to build a slight gap over the rest of the field. On Lap 4 his gear selection problems re-emerged which allowed Liebenberg and Smalberger back into contention. On the final lap Wood’s problems began to worsen which saw him slipping down to fourth place in the running order while Smalberger also passed Liebenberg to take the win on track. Smalberger’s car was however found to be over-boosting which saw a 20-second penalty added to his time following the conclusion of the event. This saw Liebenberg promoted to race winner ahead of Hill and Wood. Mdakane and Neill rounded out the finishers. Final classification of results are still pending due to investigations by stewards.
With two rounds remaining in the season, the top-five on the GTC points table will head into the next round with only 20 points separating them. Liebenberg now holds a 31-point margin over teammate Wood in GTC2. The penultimate round of the 2019 GTC Championship will see the field making their second visit of the season to the Killarney International Raceway on September 27-28.
Simon Moss and Brad Liebenberg gradually extended their respective GTC and GTC2 championship leads during Round 5 at Zwartkops Raceway while their 2019 rivals moved closer to each other on the points table.
The July 26-27 race weekend became the third consecutive round to see four different drivers earn the top step of the podium, including a maiden win for the WCT Engineering team in GTC while Paul Hill celebrated his first victory in GTC2.
The weekend also saw two championship debutants on the grid, being Niyaaz Modack in the WH Auctioneers BMW and Gary Formato taking on the driving duties in the SMD Exotics Ford Focus.
Saturday morning’s Qualifying session was a closely fought contest with the top-six and main protagonists in the GTC Championship covered by 0.215 of a second around the 2.4km circuit. Moss took pole position for the Moss Racing / Audi / All Power team, beating Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Michael van Rooyen by a mere 0.003 of a second. Row 2 was an all-Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta affair with Keagan Masters heading up Daniel Rowe. Robert Wolk qualified his Investchem WCT Engineering BMW in fifth place ahead of Johan Fourie in his EPS Courier Services BMW. Moss’ teammate Tschops Sipuka slotted into seventh place ahead of Formato and Modack.
Moss made a stellar start in Race 1 while Van Rooyen lost three positions on the opening lap and a mistake saw Wolk making an early pit stop. Moss led the two Volkswagen Jettas while Fourie and Van Rooyen battled for fourth place. Fourie showed good pace throughout the weekend and gradually started to pull away from the Toyota Corolla before passing Rowe. Moss took his sixth win for the season ahead of Masters with Fourie completing the podium. Rowe held off Van Rooyen in the closing stages to finish in fourth and fifth places respectively with Sipuka coming home in sixth place further back. Modack took seventh place in his first outing while completing the full 12-lap distance. After re-joining the circuit Wolk found himself three laps down, but gained a position when Formato was forced to pit at the end of the race.
Wolk started on the front row of Race 2’s inverted grid alongside pole-sitter Formato, but quickly moved into the lead to take his first victory for the 2019 season; he became the fourth race winner for the year with the WCT Engineering outfit taking their maiden win. The opening lap saw an incident between Van Rooyen, Formato and Sipuka through the middle sector. This saw Formato retiring a lap later while Sipuka was relegated to the back of the field. Van Rooyen however held onto second place; his fifth podium finish this year. Fourie kept Moss and Masters behind him on the opening lap before setting his sights on Rowe; taking the final podium position. This saw the top-six behind rounded out by Rowe, Masters and Moss following each other over the line. Modack made it two seventh place finishes on debut ahead of Sipuka.
In GTC2 Charl Smalberger showed good pace throughout Friday’s practice sessions in his Universal Healthcare Volkswagen Golf; following this up by taking pole position on Saturday morning. The Volkswagen Motorsport Golf duo of Liebenberg and Adrian Wood lined up behind him. Mandla Mdakane qualified his Transitliner MINI John Cooper Works in fourth place ahead of Hill in his Kalex Volkswagen Golf.
Smalberger built a solid lead in Race 1 to take his second win for the season while the rest of the field were involved in a cat-and-mouse tussle further back. Liebenberg and Wood retained their positions to complete the podium. Mdakane had his work cut out to keep Hill at bay, but as they were making way for the faster GTC field a lap ahead, Hill went off track momentarily. This relieved the pressure on Mdakane who caught up to the back of Wood to finish in fourth place.
Race 2 saw Hill capitalising on his pole-position start to take his maiden win in the championship. Smalberger had to make his way through the field from the back. After passing Liebenberg and Wood who proceeded to catch up to Mdakane. This battle came alive in the closing stages with Smalberger just beating the MINI driver to second place. Wood and Liebenberg finished in fourth and fifth positions.
Round 6 of the 2019 GTC Championship will see battles continue to the fast straights of the Border Motorsport East London Grand Prix Circuit on August 30-31.
[Issued by GTC]
The 2019 GTC Championship is still wide open as the second half of the season is set to get started at Zwartkops Raceway in Gauteng this weekend (July 26-27).
Simon Moss and Brad Liebenberg both still lead the respective GTC and GTC2 points tables heading into the fifth round of 2019, but there is no margin for comfort with eager challengers awaiting to make the most of every racing point on offer.
The GTC Championship will very much be a battle between sheer pace and consistency, with Moss (Moss Racing / Audi / Allpower Team) the only driver to have won at least one race at each circuit thus far this season. The bulk of his 160 points have come from five victories in total, while main rival Keagan Masters (Volkswagen Motorsport) in second place has not recorded a win yet despite consistently accumulating points through a host of podium finishes; six of them while finishing as runner-up on three occasions. Only seven points separate the two drivers heading into Round 5 this weekend in Gauteng.
Masters’ teammate Daniel Rowe can also not be discounted with one win to his name this season and just eight points behind Masters. The ability of these two to hunt in a pack has been displayed at every round thus far; echoed by the manufacturer standings seeing them 30 points ahead of their nearest rivals BMW. What will also be of a huge benefit to the team is that Zwartkops Raceway has effectively become the home of Volkswagen Motorsport in South Africa with the circuit also being their designated testing venue.
Further back in the championship placings sees another tight battle between Johan Fourie in his EPS Courier Services BMW and Michael van Rooyen piloting the Toyota GA300 Racing South Africa Corolla. In many ways this mirrors the battle at the top. Van Rooyen has been steadily collecting points with at least one podium finish per round, while Fourie only visited the podium twice, but both occasions saw him celebrating victory. Both drivers find themselves with 140 points to their names and are just as evenly matched on the track, and just one win away from matching Moss’ points tally.
Robert Wolk in the Chemical Logistics / WCT Engineering BMW has also been making steady progress in recent rounds. Had it not been for reliability issues as well as an accident, he could also still have had a hand on the championship trophy. There is no question about his pace in both qualifying and races with him finishing as runner-up twice in his last four starts. As the virtual underdog at present, there’s no reason why Wolk can’t find himself in contention come the season finale. Tschops Sipuka will also be hoping the emulate his results from the previous visit to Zwartkops Raceway. The Moss Racing / Audi / Allpower Team driver took home two fourth place finishes last time round.
The weekend will also see a new addition to the line-up with Niyaaz Modack set to make his GTC debut in the BMW raced by Daniel Duminy earlier in the season. Like Sipuka, Modack is also no newcomer to South African motorsport, with the Capetonian having quite a few stints in the former Production Car championship; one of them as team mate to Fourie in the EPS Courier Services outfit. This move will also see the NSI Racing Team making their championship debut with backing from WH Auctioneers.
In the GTC2 Championship, Liebenberg (Volkswagen Motorsport) leads by more than a race win’s bag of points as he battles for the production class title with his nearest rival Adrian Wood in the Kyocera-liveried sister car in second place. Charl Smalberger in the Universal Healthcare Volkswagen Golf can also not be discarded at what is his home circuit, while Mandla Mdakane has been showing good pace in his Altron/Nexus MINI John Cooper Works so far with two podium finishes, and Paul Hill too looking more competitive in his Kalex Racing Volkswagen Polo.
FULL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS prior to Round 5 can be found here.
Friday will see the field participating in a host of practice sessions with free access to the circuit for the public. Saturday will see Qualifying and two championship races taking place with tickets available through www.itickets.co.za and at the gate. Adults will pay R120.00, students R50.00 and with free access granted for children under the age of 12.
GTC Championship Saturday Schedule:
09:10 – Qualifying (Split sessions for GTC and GTC2 of 15 minutes each)
11:35 – GTC Grid Walk (On main straight)
12:15 – Race 1 (12 Laps)
14:40 – Race 2 (12 Laps)
For more information head to www.gtcafrica.co.za
The 2019 GTC Championship has crossed the mid-season mark with four drivers taking wins and making their championship contentions known as Round 4 was held at Aldo Scribante Racetrack in Port Elizabeth.
The June 14-15 weekend saw Johan Fourie and Simon Moss sharing the spoils in GTC while Volkswagen Motorsport duo of Brad Liebenberg and Adrian Wood took a win each at the manufacturer’s home city.
Twenty seven-year-old Moss (Allpower | Moss Racing | Audi) dominated throughout Friday’s practice sessions, followed by pole position at his home circuit on Saturday morning. Johan Fourie and Robert Wolk qualified second and third in their respective EPS Courier Services and Investchem BMWs. Keagan Masters headed up the Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta attack by taking fourth place on the grid ahead of the GA300 Racing South Africa Toyota of Michael van Rooyen. Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta) and Tscops Sipuka (Allpower | Moss Racing | Audi) were the next to line-up.
Race 1’s warm-up lap produced drama, with Moss’ Audi developing a misfire which forced him into pit lane prior to the start. This left Fourie with clean air in front of him off the line which ultimately produced his second win for the season. Wolk kept him in check through the first half of the race, but after developing power issues he slipped down the field and retired to pit lane after 10 laps. Masters and Van Rooyen had a good tussle for position throughout the 12-lap duration with the pair completing the podium. The pair closed up to Fourie in the closing stages with less than 1.5 seconds covering them as they crossed the finish line. A little further back, Rowe finished in fourth place ahead of Sipuka and Wolk was classified as the sixth-place finisher Moss made it back onto the circuit, albeit three laps down, but still managed to finish in seventh place and take home points from the race; importantly this saw him heading up the reverse-grid for the afternoon’s second race.
In Race 2, Moss was unchallenged to take his fifth win of the season. Again Wolk delivered a good show of pace and without any mechanical issues brought his car home in second place. Fourie made it two visits to the podium for the day with his third place finish. Sipuka made a solid start and kept the rest of the field at bay, but a Lap 2 incident saw him retiring from the race. This left Masters and Van Rooyen to continue their battle with the pair finishing in fourth and fifth positions. Rowe completed the top-six.
In GTC2, Brad Liebenberg was aiming to consolidate his position at the top of the points table. Friday afternoon saw him setting the pace in the class and it did not surprise many when he followed this up with pole position on Saturday morning. Charl Smalberger also showed good speed throughout the weekend in his Universal Racing Volkswagen Golf and lined up next to Liebenberg. Wood overcame Friday’s mechanical difficulties to start in third ahead of Mandla Mdakane in the Traction Off MINI John Cooper Works. Paul Hill qualified his Kalex Racing Volkswagen Golf in fifth place.
Liebenberg took the win in Race 1, and despite Wood making it into second place on the opening lap, on Lap 4 Smalberger reclaimed the position with the pair finishing as runner-up. Mdakane held off Hill to finish in fourth place.
Race 2 saw a fierce contest between the Volkswagen Golf duo at the front. This time round it was Wood in the Kyocera-liveried car who held off the championship leader to take his first win of the 2019 season. Mdakane took his second podium of the season with his third place finish after making his way past Hill on Lap 5. Smalberger noticed a vibration developing on his car early during the race and despite his efforts too continue suffered a broken wheel stud which forced him into retirement on Lap 5.
Round 5 of the 2019 GTC Championship will see the field making their second visit for the year at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria from July 26-27.
The Aldo Scribante race circuit will play host to Round 4 of the 2019 GTC Championship with Simon Moss and Brad Liebenberg both aiming to retain their positions on top of the respective GTC and GTC2 points table in Port Elizabeth (June 14-15).
The battle for home ground supremacy will be fierce as the Moss Racing / Audi / Allpower team will challenge their championship rivals Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa as their lead drivers will race to retain the top three places in the title fight.
Moss holds a 12-point lead over the Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta duo of Keagan Masters and Daniel Rowe who sit second and third respectively on the points table with only 1-point separating the teammates. Rowe is the latest driver to join the list of 2019 race winners and a repeat performance in front of the Port Elizabeth crowd will strengthen his championship chances. Masters has been delivering a host of strong podium finishes and will also be aiming for his maiden win.
Moss was assisted in his title bid last round in Cape Town following teammate Tschops Sipuka making his car available after Moss experienced technical issues with the #38 Audi. The news from the Moss Racing / Audi / Allpower team is that both cars are ready with the drivers eager to conquer at home.
Another driver who will also be aiming for his maiden race win is Michael van Rooyen, in the #95 Toyota GA300 Racing South Africa Corolla which has proven to be a strong package in 2019. The Rustenburg-based driver trails Moss by only 16-points, and a potential win at Round 4 could see him entering the second half of the season as one of the frontrunners.
Heading up the BMW-charge is Johan Fourie in the EPS Courier Services entry. With already one win in 2019 behind his name, Fourie is looking in good form heading into one of his favourite circuits on the calendar. The Chemical Logistics / WCT Engineering entry of Robbie Wolk has also been making firm inroads with a good display of pace. Rounding out the points table is Daniel Duminy in the SMD Exotics entry.
GTC Championship points after Round 3
|1||38||Simon Moss||Moss Racing ! Audi ! Allpower Team||124|
|2||18||Keagan Masters||Volkswagen Motorsport||112|
|3||89||Daniel Rowe||Volkswagen Motorsport||111|
|4||95||Michael van Rooyen||Toyota GA300 Racing South Africa||108|
|5||14||Johan Fourie||EPS Courier Services||100|
|6||41||Robert Wolk||Chemical Logistics / WCT Engineering||83|
|7||8||Tschops Sipuka||Moss Racing ! Audi ! Allpower Team||60|
|8||42||Daniel Duminy||SMD Exotics||40|
In GTC2, Brad Liebenberg is the strongest competitor so far in 2019, topping the class standings after recording five race wins out of six races in the Volkswagen Motorsport Golf. His closest competition will be teammate Adrian Wood in the Kyocera-liveried sister car. Both drivers enjoy the tight circuit and will be eager to impress at the home of Volkswagen South Africa.
After his win Cape Town, Charl Smalberger finds himself in a strong third position on the points table in the Universal Healthcare / CompCare Volkswagen Golf. While Mandla Mdakane continues to look stronger as the season progresses, having steered the Altron / Nexus MINI John Cooper Works to the podium last round, which was only his fourth start in over a year out of competition. Paul Hill will also aim to continue his upwards curve in the Kalex Volkswagen Polo after his maiden podium visit in Cape Town.
GTC2 Championship points after Round 3
|1||12||Brad Liebenberg||Volkswagen Motorsport||130|
|2||114||Adrian Wood||Volkswagen Motorsport||112|
|3||15||Charl Smalberger||Universal Healthcare / CompCare||104|
|4||61||Bob Neill||Delmon Mining||90|
|5||37||Lee Thompson||Delmon Mining||54|
|6||44||Mandla Mdakane||Altron / Nexus||47|
|7||135||Paul Hill||Kalex Racing||42|
|8||135||Trevor Bland||Kalex Racing||41|
Round 4 of the 2019 GTC Championship at the Aldo Scribante race circuit where Friday will host three practice sessions ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session and two races. Both races will be contested over 12 laps and are scheduled to start at 12:20 and 15:10 respectively. Prior to Race 1, the GTC Fan Grid Walk will be held on the main straight where fans are invited to meet their favourite drivers.
For more information head to www.gtcafrica.co.za
Four different winners, close racing, comebacks from near-impossible situations and a gesture of sportsmanship marked the third round of the 2019 GTC Championship last weekend in Cape Town (May 10-11).
Daniel Rowe and Simon Moss shared the spoils at the front of the field while Brad Liebenberg and Charl Smalberger took turns to stand on the top step of the GTC2 podium at the Killarney International Raceway on the Western Cape.
Saturday morning’s qualifying session saw Robert Walk (Chemical Logistics / WCT Engineering BMW) taking pole position while continuing the strong form he showed during Friday’s practice sessions. Rowe and Keagan Masters followed him onto the grid in their Volkswagen Motorsport Jettas ahead of local hero Johan Fourie (EPS Racing BMW). Michael van Rooyen had a difficult day throughout Friday in his GA300 Racing South Africa Toyota Corolla and lined up in fifth place.
The All Power / Moss Racing / Audi duo had problems of their own, with championship leader Simon Moss’s GTC racer suffering a terminal failure that prevented him from making it our for qualifying. While teammate Tschops Sipuka only competed a handful of laps prior to his car losing power.
With the championship firmly in mind, Sipuka volunteered to watch the action from the sidelines and handed over the keys to his race car to give Moss a fighting chance to gain points. With the team franticly preparing the car to suit Moss, the championship leader lined line up at the back of the grid for race one.
Wolk held the lead during the early part of the day’s first race, but Rowe was able to execute a pass from where he controlled the pace at the front to take his first victory for the 2019 season. Unable to match Rowe’s pace, Wolk finished as runner-up a further 2.6 seconds back. Despite not competing with the ideal setup, Moss moved improved to third place and held off Fourie and Van Rooyen to round out the podium. On Lap 5, Fourie ran wide into the first corner which cost him track position and let Van Rooyen through. Masters battled with power delivery issues throughout the race, although not serious enough to necessitate a retirement, he continued for the remainder of the race taking home a sixth-place finish.
By finishing, Masters ensured that he would be in pole position for the afternoon’s second race from the reverse-grid. On Lap 2, the race was stopped due to an incident in GTC2. The break between the two starts allowed the Moss Racing team to execute setup changes which saw him more competitive in the second 10-lap race. Moss rapidly made his way to second place in the running order, then passing Masters to take the lead and eventual victory.
Unable to match the pace from the Audi in front, Masters settled for second place, Van Rooyen finished third, while Fourie back in fourth was still suffering from problems encountered during his Race 1 excursion. A penultimate lap spin in the final corner saw Wolk losing a lot of track position, but he brought his BMW home in fifth place. At the restart, Rowe encountered a misfire, but brought the car home in sixth place to keep himself in points contention for the title with five rounds to go.
In GTC2, Brad Liebenberg in the Volkswagen Motorsport Golf dominated throughout Friday’s practice sessions and took the pole position ahead of teammate Adrian Wood in the Kyocera-liveried sister car. It was a frantic week for Charl Smalberger heading into Round 3, with an engine problem only being discovered on the Monday prior. The Universal Healthcare Volkswagen Golf driver sourced an eligible power unit with only a few days to spare, and managed to qualify third. Lining up next to him was Lee Thompson in his second outing behind the wheel of the Delmon Mining Ford Focus. Mandla Mdakane lined up in fifth place in his Altron / Nexus MINI John Cooper Works ahead of Paul Hill in the Kalex Racing Volkswagen Golf. Thompson’s team mate Bob Neill completed the grid.
Race 1 saw the drivers all retaining their positions, with Liebenberg taking his fifth consecutive victory from five starts in 2019. There was no lack of drama in class during Race 2 however, with four drivers heading into the first corner on Lap 2. Contact between Liebenberg, Wood and Thompson brought the race to a halt with Thompson suffering substantial front-end damage and unable to restart While Liebenberg was beached on the retaining wall between Turn 1 and the middle part of the circuit.
Wood made it onto the gird for the restart, but failed to complete a lap prior to his retirement. Mdakane quickly slotted into the lead of the race, however soon after it was Smalberger who took position one and his first victory for 2019; the best finish to a week in which his participation alone remained doubtful merely 72 hours earlier.
Mdakane finished runner-up to make his first visit to the podium for 2019. Paul Hill crossed the line third to mark his maiden championship podium visit. Neill kept his 100% finishing record for the season in tact by crossing the line in fourth place.
With the championship battle still wide open, the Aldo Scribante Raceway in Port Elizabeth will play host to Round 4 of the 2019 GTC Championship from June 14-15.
[Issued by GTC / Reynard Gelderblom]