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