Despite the 2020 South African motorsport season being brought to an early halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Touring Cars (GTC) Championship will return to racing this week when it heads to Zwartkops Raceway as part of the Extreme Festival.
The opening round of the 2020 season was scheduled to take place in April after the start of what was the National Lockdown, and permission to resume racing was only recently granted in July by Motorsport South Africa, the country’s governing body of motorsport.
On Friday, July 31 the Extreme Festival tour presented a schematic which will allow for three further national race weekends to be hosted, however options for a full GTC championship season as per the last three seasons are will not be possible this year.
As a result, GTC management approached the South African Endurance Series regarding the inclusion of all current GTC Championship and the new GTC SupaCup cars in their championship, which follows the participation of two GTC SupaCup cars which competed in the opening round of the SAES Championship at Zwartkops Raceway on July 24-25.
While GTC and GTC Supacup technical regulations have been adopted into this new class, the SAES rules regarding all other aspects regarding the competition will also apply.
The second round of the SAES Championship will be hosted at the Aldo Scribante Racetrack in Port-Elizabeth on August 14-15, with Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa scheduled to debut their newly launched Golf 8 GTi race car. Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa will also be starting their 2020 campaign in this race.
This coming weekend (August 7-8) will also see the GTC SupaCup field taking to Zwartkops Raceway as part of the first post-lockdown Extreme Festival event. Entrants include reigning GTC2 Champion Brad Liebenberg, while Shaun Duminy will also make a return after his last appearing in 2017. Category newcomers include Jeffrey Kruger, Jonathan Mogotsi, Manogh Maharaj, Saul Hack and Andre Bezuidenhout.
This event, as well as all other sporting events hosted in South Africa during the Risk-Adjusted Strategy of the Lockdown, will not be open to spectators. Acting on this, GTC has contracted RaceDay TV for the upcoming weekend with regular behind-the-scenes inserts being broadcast live from the event. The SAES Championship will be streaming the second round of their season. Both of these broadcasts will also be available on the GTC Facebook page.
GTC Director Gary Formato says he’s confident that the new measures will be advantageous to the long-term growth of the sport, despite the uncertainty around the current year.
“It is a very big step for us to become involved with SAES but from the beginning we said that these cars are designed for longer distances and endurance racing is certainly the proving ground for this,” said Formato. “Roger Pearce and his team have built a very successful series and it is exciting for us to share in this going forward. In the meantime, it is also exciting to have the long-awaited debut of our GTC SupaCup class this coming weekend. We are certainly looking forward to this.”
Fans are invited to keep up with all the latest news and developments on GTC’s website and social media channels.
[Issued by GTC]
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa, the start of the 2020 GTC Championship and inaugural GTC SupaCup is being suspended.
On Sunday, March 16, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a State of National Disaster due to the increase in infections of the novel Coronavirus. This was followed the following morning by Motorsport South Africa (MSA) and the Extreme Festival suspending all events until after the Easter weekend (April 10-13).
The initial announcement did not directly influence the start of the 2020 season, therefore GTC management did not release a statement at the time. On Friday, March 20, MSA however extended the suspension of events until May 1; a decision that also effected the season opener at the Killarney International Raceway on April 17-18.
“We all realise the importance of taking these necessary steps to stop the spread of the virus, but also did not want to jump the gun on postponements before official announcements from the South African government, the governing body of the sport or the tour promoter,” said GTC Director, Gary Formato regarding the decisions taken by the category. “I have been in contact with various stakeholders and management team members throughout the week and we agreed that the best course of action will be to only postpone once we are directly affected.
“As the situation is being monitored and advised upon regularly by the powers-that-be, we don’t want to provide any concrete dates for now,” said Formato in regards to the category providing a revised season calendar. “At present, South Africa is still in the second phase of the virus spreading; so we don’t want to commit to any dates just yet.”
The GTC Championship would like to request all members of the paddock, as well as motorsport fans to take care and adhere to social distancing guidelines set out by the South African government.
“We want to stress that the battle to curb this starts with every one of us. Reduce your social contact to a minimum and when it is required, be mindful to keep a two-meter distance. Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. We all want to be back as soon as possible and we would like to see all our fans next to the circuit as well. This can only be achieved if we work together,” concluded Formato.
[Issued by GTC]
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)
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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.