With the battle for championship supremacy still wide open, the GTC Championship heads this weekend to the fast, shoreline straights of the Border Motorsport East London Grand Prix Circuit as just three rounds remain in 2019
Round 6 of the 2019 season will see Simon Moss and Brad Liebenberg trying to maintain their respective GTC and GTC2 points table advantages as they hit the track for first practice this Friday.
The 3.86km circuit, situated just outside of the East London CBD, is one of South Africa’s oldest motorsport venues despite not being a purpose-built racetrack, and also one the most picturesque. A large portion of the circuit is made up of a section of Molteno Drive which also features the fastest corner in South African racing, Potters Pass. While Cococabana corner is the closest that drivers will get to racing at sea level nationwide, sitting at only 11 metres of elevation and a mere 120 meters away from the beach.
There will however not be much time to take in the scenery with 2019 seeing the closest battle for title honours in the championship’s fourth season. At Round 5, Moss (Moss Racing / Audi / All Power) could only extend his lead to 8 points over Keagen Masters (Volkswagen Motorsport). Moss has celebrated six wins this season to date, while Masters is still out to record his maiden win since stepping up into the top class as reigning GTC2 champion. With both drivers being very equally matched, this weekend could prove to be a high-speed battle for the lead of the championship heading into the final two rounds being held at both Killarney and Red Star raceways.
Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport) finds himself a further 11 points adrift in third place, and heads up a trio of drivers only separated by three points; all who regularly produce fierce battles for the midfield honours. Rowe has celebrated a race victory in 2019 and can also not be counted out of the title battle yet. Fourth-placed Johan Fourie (EPS Courier Services BMW) would like to add a third victory to his season tally, especially considering East London is where he took a dominant win during the 2018 season’s inverted grid race.
Like Masters, Michael van Rooyen (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa) has also been building his championship on consistent results despite no victories. This has been his best season to date and he could well leapfrog the pair ahead into the top-three.
Following his victory in Round 5, Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics BMW) could also be in contention for third place battle in a strong weekend results. Further back, Tschops Sipuka (Moss Racing / Audi / All Power) would like to put the misfortunes from the previous two rounds behind him; notably after being caught up in accidents during both the reverse-grid races. Niyaaz Modack will be making his second appearance in the WH Auctioneers BMW
In GTC2, Brad Liebenberg (Volkswagen Motorsport) will be eager to reclaim the top step of the podium, especially at East London where he took his maiden class victory during the 2017 season. He finds himself 22 points ahead of Adrian Wood who drives the Kyocera-liveried sister car. Both drivers have been well in control of the first half of the season, but Round 5 saw Charl Smalberger (Universal HealthCare) edge closer to the leaders following his win and second-place finish.
Mandla Mdakane (Transitler MINI John Cooper Works) and Paul Hill (Kalex Volkswagen Golf) have had a host of good on-track tussles in the past few rounds and are separated by five points in the championship. Both drivers have been in solid form of late with Mdakane visiting the podium once in each of the last three rounds while Hill took his maiden victory in Round 5.
Round 6 of the 2019 GTC Championship will be held at East London Grand Prix Circuit from August 30-31. Friday will see three practice sessions taking place to complete setup for the race day ahead. Saturday’s programme will consist of:
09:50 – Qualifying
12:55 – Race 1 (9 Laps)
15:35 – Race 2 (12 laps)
For more information head to www.gtcafrica.co.za