Allpower Audi Team’s Simon Moss held on to the 2019 GTC Championship lead after sharing race wins with BMW racer Johan Fourie at Zwartkops Raceway last weekend, while Brad Liebenberg extended his margin over the rest of the GTC2 field as he dominated the class throughout the April 5-6 race weekend in Gauteng.
Heading into Round 2 as championship leader after dominating the season opener at Dezzi Raceway, Moss set the pace during Saturday morning’s dry qualifying session to take pole position in his #38 Audi GTC, while the WCT Engineering team worked hard to resolve their technical problems on the Chemical Logistics BMW allowing Robert Wolk to take second place on the grid for the opening race. Tshops Sipuka in the second All Power Moss Racing Audi backed up his form by heading up Row 2 on the grid, followed by the Volkswagen Motorsport duo of Daniel Rowe and Keagan Masters to fill the top five in qualifying.
Despite Friday greeting the field with wet conditions for practice, Michael van Rooyen in his Gazoo Racing SA Toyota Corolla showed good pace and control on the slippery track, but during P3 in dry conditions it was Fourie who took a psychological advantage into the evening break after setting the fastest time in his EPS Courier Services BMW.
Race days’ first race saw Moss take his third consecutive win for the season while the rest of the field battled for position. Wolk again seemed to experience difficulties while gradually sliding down the pecking order. The Volkswagen Motorsport pair made a good start and rapidly moved into second and third places to round out the podium with Rowe finishing ahead of Masters. Sipuka followed up his good qualifying form by keeping Van Rooyen and Fourie at bay to finish in fourth place, while Daniel Duminy finished in seventh place in his SMD Exotics BMW ahead of Wolk.
The reverse-grid second race saw the red flag deployed on Lap 2 following two separate incidents involving Moss and Rowe and Moss and Wolk. This resulted in a full restart, but both Moss and Rowe missing from the grid. During both starts it was Fourie who took the early lead.
The sight of Fourie leading the field at Zwartkops has become a familiar one in GTC history, yet misfortune has always prevented the Cape Town based driver from converting this into a victory. This time round he dominated proceedings at the front to take home his first win of the 2019 season. Behind him a battle for second place ensued for the runner-up spot with Van Rooyen finishing ahead of Masters. This pair was closely followed over the line by Sipuka who took his second fourth-place finish for the day. Duminy recorded a career-best fifth place finish. With Moss already eliminated and Wolk experiencing problems, Rowe capitalised on the opportunity to take home some points. He joined the race from pit lane and two laps down but finished in sixth position.
The GTC2 field saw a new name and two former competitors join the grid at Zwartkops Raceway, with Delmon Mining team entering a second Ford Focus for Lee Thompson who, despite being known as one of South Africa’s top drivers and leading engineers, made his GTC2 debut behind the wheel. A back injury sustained in the week prior to the race day saw Paul Hill unable to pilot his Kalex Volkswagen Golf which provided Trevor Bland the chance to move back into the driving seat for the first time in 2019. Mandla Mdakane also made his return to the championship following a sabbatical in 2018, who during the off season acquired one of the former Signature Motorsport MINI John Cooper Works cars; preparation for Mdakane is being conducted by Fast Developments.
During practice and qualifying, Liebenberg dominated the field in his Volkswagen Motorsport Golf but it didn’t take long for Bland to settle back; taking second place on the grid for Race 1. Liebenberg’s teammate Adrian Wood in the Kyocera-liveried Volkswagen Golf experienced problems turning into the left-handed first corners but qualified in third place ahead of Charl Smalberger in the Universal Healthcare / Compcare Volkswagen Golf. Mdakane and Thompson completed the top-six.
Liebenberg took an unchallenged Race 1 victory while Bland initially lost track position to Wood, but with the latter’s problems not completely resolved he retook the position on Lap 3 to finish in second place. Wood meanwhile had his mirrors filled by Smalberger, but successfully kept him at bay to finish in third place. Further back the Delmon Mining Ford Focus pair of Thompson and Bob Neill completed the top-six. Mdakane showed good pace during the early part of the race but was forced to retire after three laps.
The initial start for Race 2 saw Wood with the early lead and upper hand over Liebenberg, but the second time around Liebenberg briskly made his way to the front to take home his fourth consecutive win in the 2019 season. Wood had the better of Bland throughout the race with the pair taking the final two podium positions. Smalberger found himself in middle of a Delmon Mining sandwich until his retirement on Lap 5. This saw Thompson and Neill finishing in fourth and fifth places respectively.
GTC – 1. Moss (80), 2. Masters (77), 3. Rowe (73), 4. Van Rooyen (72), 5. Fourie (68), 6. Sipuka (50), 7. Wolk (46), 8. Duminy (40)
GTC2 – 1. Liebenberg (100), 2. Wood (85), 3. Neill (62), 4. Smalberger (60), 5. Bland (41), 6. Thompson (32), 7. Mdakane (10), 8. Hill (10)
Round 3 of the GTC Championship will be the first of two visits this season to Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town on May 10-11.
[Written by Reynard Gelderblom for GTC]
Round 2 of 2019 GTC Championship is set to stage the continuing on-track battle between leading manufacturers Audi and Volkswagen this weekend (April 5-6), as the championship heads to Gauteng for the first time since the grand finale last year.
The opening round of the season at Dezzi Raceway in Port Shepstone saw the respective GTC and GTC2 champions Terry Moss Racing / Audi Sport and Volkswagen Motorsport dominate, but based on round one’s racing upsets are to be expected at Zwartkops Raceway.
In GTC, Simon Moss (Terry Moss Racing / Audi Sport) took a double race win, putting him at the top of the championship points, while second and third places in the championship are occupied by the Volkswagen Motorsport duo of Keagan Masters and Daniel Rowe. Masters graduated to the top class this season after winning two consecutive GTC2 titles, and immediately found himself on the pace. On debut, the 19-year-old recorded an impressive second place finish, while Rowe took two third place finishes. In 2019, the Port Elizabeth based team has stepped up as main challengers and recent form during testing at Zwartkops Raceway sees them confident ahead of Round 2.
Terry Moss Racing driver Tschops Sipuka made his return to racing for the first time since the 2013 South African Production Car season, and even though his debut in GTC was a baptism of fire, Sipuka showed signs of finding his competitive form again during race conditions.
Unlike their rivals, the Audi Sport Port Elizabeth outfit – which this weekend will sport a new All Power livery on both cars – is the only team that has not designated Zwartkops Raceway as a testing circuit, giving the rest of the field a chance to work hard to close the gap to Moss during the five-week break between rounds.
The experience of Michael van Rooyen saw his new Toyota GA300 Racing South Africa team make a stellar debut during the season opener, with the afternoon’s second race nearly delivering the driver and manufacturer a maiden victory despite sustaining heavy front-end damage during the day’s first race. The Rustenberg-based driver – who is yet to win a race in GTC – has always shown strong from at Zwartkops Raceway and this weekend bodes well for another strong outing and potential chance to reach the top of the podium.
The trio of BMW entrants will be aiming to find themselves at the sharp end of the field at Zwartkops Raceway. Johan Fourie (EPS Courier Services) is expected to be a strong contender at the circuit. Although residing in Cape Town, Zwartkops Raceway has been the home base for Fourie for quite some time and a venue he knows well. The circuit has seen him celebrating a host of strong results throughout the three previous championship seasons, narrowly missing out on victory on four occasions.
Robert Wolk and the Chemical Logistics-backed WCT Engineering outfit showed good form in the midfield at Dezzi Raceway and will be eager to make their presence known at the front in Round 2. Championship debutant Daniel Duminy (SMD Exotics) delivered a level-headed performance during Round 1, despite only being announced as entrant two days prior to the season-opener. With their car prepared by the VM Innovations team, the team will be aiming to be even more competitive at Zwartkops.
GTC Championship table after Round 1
|1||38||Simon Moss||Terry Moss Racing / Audi Sport||50|
|2||18||Keagan Masters||Volkswagen Motorsport||39|
|3||89||Daniel Rowe||Volkswagen Motorsport||38|
|4||95||Michael van Rooyen||Toyota GA300 Racing South Africa||35|
|=5||41||Robert Wolk||Chemical Logistics / WCT Engineering||30|
|=5||14||Johan Fourie||EPS Courier Services||30|
|=7||42||Daniel Duminy||SMD Exotics||16|
|=7||8||Tschops Sipuka||Terry Moss Racing / Audi Sport||16|
In GTC2 the Volkswagen Motorsport Golf team continued their dominant form in the class. Brad Liebenberg, plus the Kyocera-backed Adrian Wood, were unchallenged at Dezzi Raceway despite starting both races from the back of the grid. Liebenberg took both race wins, each driver demonstrated their skill in maintaining the lead while Charl Smalberger (Universal Healthcare) will however aim to prevent the duo from getting too comfortable out in front this weekend.
Bob Neill (Delmon Mining) will be making his fourth visit to Zwartkops Raceway since joining the championship in Round 3 of the 2018 season. As the driver with the least amount of racing experience prior to joining the championship, Neill has been quietly improving his skill while the JRT team makes improvements to the setup and performance of his Ford Focus. Neill finds himself in fourth place on the GTC2 class championship battle, and leading the GTC2 privateers. With the season progressing, he will be challenged by Paul Hill (Kalex Racing) and two other competitors yet to announce their plans for the season.
GTC2 Championship table after Round 1
|1||12||Brad Liebenberg||Volkswagen Motorsport||50|
|2||114||Adrian Wood||Volkswagen Motorsport||44|
|3||15||Charl Smalberger||Universal Healthcare||38|
|4||61||Bob Neill||Delmon Mining||34|
|5||135||Paul Hill||Kalex Racing||10|
Round 2 of the 2019 GTC Championship will form part of the Extreme Festival program from April 5-6 at Zwartkops Raceway. Friday will see three practice sessions held, while Saturday includes morning qualifying and two championship races.
12:00 – GTC Grid Walk
12:15 – GTC Race 1 (12 Laps)
14:50 – GTC Race 2 (12 Laps)
Tickets can be purchased from the venue or via www.itickets.co.za at R120.00 (Adult) and R90.00 (Student). Children under the age of 12 years will receive free entrance.
[Written by Reynard Gelderblom, on behalf of GTC]
DUMINY IS YOUNGEST GTC DRIVER YET
KwaZulu Natal race fans will have something to crow about this weekend when Ballito youngster Daniel Duminy steps up to Global Touring Cars aboard a VM Innovations BMW at Saturday’s season opener at Dezzi Raceway near Port Shepstone on the South Coast. Duminy, who has three seasons of Polo Cup racing under his belt and only passed his drivers licence last week, will be the youngest driver yet to race in GTC when he takes to the track this weekend.
“Damn! “I’ve been a while out of Motorsport, but I am delighted to be back in the saddle and racing Global Touring Cars with BMW South Africa and VM Innovations at Dezzi raceway this weekend,” Daniel admitted. “I’m happy to be back in the saddle in a stunning car and with an amazing team and I look forward to learning fast and getting onto that podium soon.
“I enjoyed some solid testing in the car and I’m super happy to have been given the opportunity to participate in this awesome championship. Now I’m so looking forward to stepping up and mixing it with among the biggest names in the sport — being the youngest in the class, I’m sure I will learn a lot and definitely be in line for some proper results.
“Big thanks to my sponsors and team for an incredible chance in this awesome championship starting at my home track at Dezzi Raceway at Port Shepstone — I hope to see you all at the season opener there this Saturday — bring it on!”
Issued on behalf of Daniel Duminy
For further information please contact email@example.com
TSCHOPS SIPUKA RETURNS HOME TO AUDI AND TERRY MOSS RACING IN 2019
Legendary racing driver, Tschops Sipuka, will make his return to national circuit racing with Terry Moss Racing and the Audi South Africa team in the 2019 Global Touring Cars (GTC) Championship, beginning this weekend at Dezzi Raceway, Port Shepstone.
Having started his racing career with Terry Moss Racing in 1999, six years have passed since the 40-year-old last drove for the Port Elizabeth team but will create a formidable duo with former teammate and last year’s GTC runner-up, Simon Moss.
Born and bred in Qumbu in the Transkei, Sipuka achieved legendary status in motorsport by competing in a diverse range of categories locally and globally, including Formula Volkswagen in Germany, a 25 Hour endurance race at Spa Franchorchamps, saloon car racing in Malaysia and Super Truck racing in South Africa. But it was his record wins with Terry Moss Racing that stand out most, having won the Volkswagen Polo Cup titles back-to-back in 2002 and 2003.
“After I finished driving and started Terry Moss Racing in 1991, the man that migrated to Audi with me was Tschops Sipuka, and when we were looking at our team restructure for 2019, I thought to myself that there’s no-one better to join the team than Tschops,” said team owner Terry Moss.
“We did so much groundwork for the team in the early days together, and won two Volkswagen Cup titles in 2002 and 2003 against the best in the country. From there on with Michael Stephen as part of our team, our success as the Audi racing team only progressed further.
“Terry Moss Racing has had a close relationship with Audi and in so doing, we’ve collected the last three championships in GTC, and previously claimed the last 3 championship titles in Super Production Cars in all-wheel drive Audi A4 cars, with results speaking for themselves,” concluded Moss.
For Sipuka, having not raced nationally since 2012, the former Audi driver is relishing in the opportunity to join the GTC Championship in 2019 and be a team driver again by steering the #8 Audi A3 GTC racer.
“It’s a unique feeling for me to be back where I started with Terry Moss and Audi,” said Sipuka. “A lot of good memories came back when I recently tested the GTC Audi car and worked with the team again. I was privileged to previously drive alongside Simon in single seaters and back then it was mind boggling on how fast he was. We’ve come a long way since then and so to be teamed together in 2019, it will be exciting. Everyone will keep pushing each other to extract the best performance possible for the Audi team. I look forward to the new season.”
For long-time GTC steerer Simon Moss, 2019 brings new opportunities to step forward in leading the Audi team, after his front-running success for the last three years.
“When Tschops first raced for my father I was only in school, so I’ve watched his whole career unfold in front of me, but I’m excited to have him as my teammate,” said Simon Moss. “We’ll both be out there to take the championship, it belongs with the Audi team. After finishing second last year, it’s my goal to be right up there and win the championship and for us to get a 1-2 finish again. It’s a privilege to have Tschops next to me, having won the Polo Cup titles that he has and while I’ll help him where I can, I think I’m going to be learning a lot more from him.”
Audi South Africa will also continue its Motorsport partnership with Terry Moss Racing in 2019 as the official title sponsor to the team.
The relationship between Audi and Terry Moss Racing began in the early 1980s and our brand cannot be more prouder to show our support and back the new team in the 2019 GTC Africa Championship. The formidable duo of Simon Moss and Tschops Sipuka epitomize what Vorsprung stands for – strong character, dedication, raw talent and a desire to achieve greatness. For us, the new racing team structure represents advancement, progress and a position that we are ready to take this team to the next level,” said Trevor Hill, Head of Audi South Africa.
The Terry Moss Racing Team will officially compete under the Audi Sport banner which is characterized by an iconic red rhombus. This symbol represents perfectionism, performance and adrenaline-induced thrills. It represents Audi’s long history of superiority in motorsport innovations, fueled by a passion to never stand still.
This year, the Terry Moss Racing team and Audi South Africa are excited to be living out Vorsprung in its two GTC drivers as they both defend the brand and the team in GTC for a fourth consecutive season. The team will officially compete in Audi A3 race vehicles starting off Round 1 of the 2019 GTC Africa Championship at Dezzi Raceway in Port Shepstone this weekend (1-2 March 2019).
– Terry Moss Racing is powered by Audi South Africa –
Photo credits: Rebel Media
Press Release : Driven Productions and 1nvolved.
A new Global Touring Cars GTC2 season is set to start at Dezzi Raceway on March 1-2. This will mark the second season for Adrian Wood who will be looking for a competitive start to his championship campaign in his KYOCERA Document Solutions South Africa Volkswagen Golf.
In 2018 Wood made his debut in the category; a season he ended by celebrating his maiden race victory. For 2019 it is however a completely different scenario. Various team and driver changes have seen Wood emerge as the only 2018 regular competitor in the class finding himself within the exact same team environment. This will see Wood heading into the first round of the season with a slight psychological advantage as he explains: “Stability at the start of the season is a definite advantage; especially when that benefit is not shared throughout the field. While we know that this will only count in our favour for a short time, we are planning to make the most of it while it lasts.”
Pre-season testing conducted at Zwartkops Raceway also saw Wood in good form. A return to the semi-slick tyres instead of full racing slicks is a move welcomed by him: “I personally welcome this as I’ve been finding my best form on the semi-slicks.”
Dezzi Raceway, a tight, short circuit along the picturesque Kwazulu-Natal south coast is making its debut on the GTC calendar as well in 2019. While a host of competitors have competed at the circuit before in other categories, it will still involve a learning curve in the GTC2 cars. Add to this the fact that the circuit has seen a couple of changes to the layout in the off-season, it is effectively a completely new battle ground to be conquered by all. This is where Wood’s proven ability to learn a new circuit in a new car will also aid his cause. “2018 saw us constantly at the sharp end of the field despite the initial two-thirds of the season virtually being a learning curve. We are determined to get to grips with Dezzi Raceway early during Friday.”
Fans are also welcomed to follow the official Adrian Wood Racing Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/AdrianWoodRacing for updates throughout the weekend.
Adrian Wood would like to thank his partners Kyocera Document Solutions and Volkswagen Motorsport_za for the continued support.
NEW GTC ERA DAWNS AT DEZZI
ISSUED BY MOTORSPORT MEDIA
TERRY MOSS RACING THANKS MULTIPLE SOUTH AFRICAN MOTORSPORT CHAMPION MICHAEL STEPHEN
The Terry Moss Racing team celebrated a near two-decade partnership with Michael Stephen, bidding farewell to the three-time Production Car and Sasol GTC Champion at the team’s workshop in Port Elizabeth.
As the most successful driver in Global Touring Cars in recent years – claiming three championship titles back-to-back, 25 race wins and 39 podium finishes during the last three years – Michael Stephen began racing under the umbrella of the South Africa identity Terry Moss in 2002 and has since gone on to win 14 championship titles nationwide and numerous podium finishes at four karting world finals.
In front of the Terry Moss Racing mechanics, family and friends, Stephen was thanked for his outstanding contribution to the PE-based racing team and the achievement of a long list of successes to date.
“Mike has put in a tremendous effort and played a very important role in all of Terry Moss Racing’s achievements with his mentorship, leadership, skill, loyalty and team mate ship,” said team owner Terry Moss.
“Over the years, Mike has played a leading role in us being able to achieve 31 South African Championships, 57 Championship Podium finishes, 5 Protea Colours, producing SA’s first National Champion of Colour, plus various international, regional and development successes. Mike himself won 13 of those championships and 14 of the championship podium finishes plus a set of Protea Colours.
“Today is a sad day for me to bid farewell after a journey of more than 16 years, but I wish Mike all the best as he ventures on. He has my support all the way,” concluded Moss.
Michael Stephen is the only driver in modern South African motorsport history to win the triple crown of championship titles in two different categories – Production Cars Class A (2011-2013) and the Sasol GTC Championship (2016-2018) – making him one of the most respected and experienced drivers in South African motorsport.
Today, the Port-Elizabeth driver was presented with a Prestige Cuvee of Jean Le Long from Boschendal and a set of champagne glasses to commemorate and celebrate his 16-year journey and multiple successes with the Terry Moss Racing Audi team.
“Terry Moss Racing has been more than just a job for me, it’s been a family,” said Stephen. “The opportunities that have come my way would not have been possible without the many years that we have had together. A big thank you to the Moss family, the team in the workshop, my mechanics and all those who have assisted in making our achievements possible. It’s a very sad day for me to say goodbye, but it’s not the end. We will be seeing each other around and in competition at the race tracks.”
The Terry Moss Racing team wishes Michael all the best of success as he moves to work with Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa during the season ahead.
The Terry Moss Racing team will announce its 2019 plans in the week ahead, before they begin their racing campaign at the Global Touring Cars season opener, March 1-2 at Dezzi Raceway in Port Shepstone.
Pretoria, South Africa – Michael Stephen clinched his third consecutive Sasol GTC Championship at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday by powering his Engen Audi GTC to a pair of dominant victories.
Simon Moss, in the second Engen Audi GTC secured the runner-up championship position with a strong second and fourth place result in the two 12-lap races.
Gennaro Bonafede (Sasol BMW GTC) ended his year in third place after crashing out of the final race of the year.
The Engen Audi team produced another one-two lockout at the front of the grid after official qualifying, with the two Sasol BMW GTCs of Bonafede and Robert Wolk occupying the second row. The top three championship contenders were separated by 0.163 seconds.
Mathew Hodges (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta GTC) drove the 2.4km track 0.084 seconds quicker than Johan Fourie (EPS Couriers BMW GTC) with Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta GTC) filling out the last grid slot.
Heading into the 2018 finale, Stephen needed four points to wrap up the championship. He sprinted into the lead of race 1, followed by Moss, Bonafede and Wolk. The two Jetta’s followed the leading quartet, led by Hodges in fifth and Rowe in sixth. Fourie suffered an intermittent misfire which caused him to pit, dropping him to seventh at the chequered flag.
The second race, from an inverted grid, saw Fourie line up on pole, followed by Rowe, Hodges, Wolk, Bonafede, Moss and Stephen.
On the opening lap, Bonafede was making a play for third when he was hit by the fast starting Moss. The Audi tagged the BMW into a spin, with Bonafede ending his season in the wall at Turn Five. The race was red-flagged.
At the re-start, Fourie launched his BMW into the lead, followed by Hodges, Moss, Stephen, Rowe and Wolk. A game of high-speed musical chairs followed, with positions changing several times a lap. Stephen went from fifth to third on lap two and took second position from Rowe a lap later. The newly-crowned champion quickly reeled in the leading BMW driver, taking the lead on lap seven.
Behind the leading pair, a crowd entertaining battle raged between Rowe, Wolk and Moss; on the last lap, Wolk tried to pass Rowe on the outside line going into Turn Six. As Wolk aimed for the apex, the two cars touched, sending Wolk into the gravel trap and ending his race. Rowe held on to third, followed by Moss and Hodges.
Champion-elect Keagan Masters, requiring four points to secure back-to-back titles, dominated qualifying in his Volkswagen Motorsport Golf GTi. He clinched pole position by a healthy 0.483 seconds ahead of his only rival, Devin Robertson (Champion MINI John Cooper Works).
Charl Smalberger (Q20 VW Golf GTi), Brad Liebenberg (Ferodo MINI John Cooper Works), Trevor Bland (Universal Healthcare VW Golf GTi) and Adrian Wood (Kyocera VW Golf GTi) rounded out the top six.
In the first race, Robertson made an electrifying start to take an immediate lead from Masters. By lap three, Masters’ tyres were up to temperature and he took the lead, followed by Robertson and Smalberger. Liebenberg held off Bland and Wood, with Paul Hill (Kalex VW Golf GTi) and Bob Neill (Delmon Mining Ford Focus ST) rounding out the field.
Wood started race two from pole position and after the re-start, heading into Turn Two, was hit hard by Liebenberg, which caused a severe vibration in the Golf. Wood focussed on the task at hand, controlling the pace from the front to clinch his first GTC2 win of his career. Bland ended second on the road, enough to give him third in the overall championship standings. At the post-race technical inspection, he was penalised by 20 seconds for over boosting, elevating Masters into second, followed by Liebenberg, Smalberger, Robertson, Hill and Neill. Bland’s penalty dropped him to sixth in the final classification and fourth in the final championship standings.
Reflecting on the 2018 season of the Sasol GTC Championship, Christopher Kabosha, Senior Manager: Marketing and Corporate Affairs, said: “We celebrated a year of high performance racing which is synonymous with Sasol’s product offering and encapsulated in our DNA.
The series showed growth on- and off the race track the past three seasons and maintained its status as the premier circuit racing championship in South Africa. I commend the teams, associate sponsors and GTC management for their efforts in staging another successful Sasol GTC Championship season”.
GTC: Stephen – 381, Moss – 339, Bonafede – 319, Fourie – 275, Rowe – 269, Van Rooyen – 234, Wolk – 221, Hodges – 202
GTC2: Masters – 386, Robertson – 340, Liebenberg – 305, Bland – 295, Wood – 294, Smalberger – 258, Angel – 137, Neill – 126, Hill – 108
Join the conversation on social media using #SasolGTC and visit www.sasolmotorsport.co.za for the latest #SasolGTC Championship news, broadcast schedules and so much more.
[ISSUED BY SASOL]
Sandton, South Africa – The three-way fight for the 2018 Sasol GTC Championship is set to be settled at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday 20 October in a no-holds-barred showdown between the country’s top racing drivers. After eight rounds of world-class touring car action across South Africa, the title decider will keep motorsport fans entertained until the last lap of the season.
Leading the title chase is the defending, two-times Sasol GTC Champion, Michael Stephen (Engen Audi GTC) who has amassed 331 points from six victories and seven additional podium results. He has won a race and finished on the podium on both previous visits to the Pretoria race track earlier in the year, marking him a favourite to continue his strong form.
Simon Moss is second in the title race, 31 points adrift of Stephen. The #38 Engen Audi driver led the standings after taking two early season wins and is certainly a force to be reckoned with. He has consistently accumulated points, including no less than eight podium results during his campaign. With no team orders, he could snatch the championship at the last round.
The fight for the runner-up position is close with Gennaro Bonafede (Sasol BMW GTC) lurking five points behind Moss and still in the championship battle. Bonafede opened his campaign with a victory at Kyalami and has taken a further three wins during the year, while adding valuable points with five podium placings. Adding to the intense rivalry, Bonafede and Moss are the only two drivers to have scored points in all 16 races held so far.
Victory in East London saw Johan Fourie (EPS Couriers BMW GTC) slot into fourth place in the title chase, adding four podium finishes and steadily scoring points, enough to see Volkswagen Motorsport’s Daniel Rowe (VW Jetta GTC) off in fifth place. Rowe is a triple winner, having taken his maiden win in Cape Town in April, following it up with victory at Zwartkops in May and again at his home track in Port Elizabeth in July. Just five points separates these two rivals and both would like to end the year in fourth place on the points table.
Michael van Rooyen (RSC BMW GTC) raced well in the first third of the season, taking a podium in three of the first four rounds before falling off the pace. He recovered his form in Cape Town last month and remains a threat to his rivals. Following a cycling accident, however, he will miss the final round, much to the dismay of his many fans.
Robert Wolk has endured a difficult season in the second Sasol BMW GTC and is anxious to close his season on a high note. His season started with a huge accident at Kyalami before bouncing back with a third place finish at Killarney in April. He had to wait until round four in East London for his second podium, but endured a run of four technically challenging events since then.
Mathew Hodges (Volkswagen Jetta GTC) has had an equally challenging season, mired at the foot of the points table with a best result of third at Kyalami in September. He is looking to end the season on a high note at Zwartkops, and having won the final race in 2016, remains a proven GTC winner.
Keagan Masters (Volkswagen Motorsport Golf GTi) needs four points from the remaining two races to wrap up his second successive GTC2 title. Ten victories and three second place finishes marks Masters as the dominant force in the category for front wheel drive cars.
The pair of Signature Motorsport MINI John Cooper Works of Devin Robertson (Champion) and Brad Liebenberg (Ferodo) has provided consistent competition to the Volkswagen driver. Robertson, second in the standings, has two victories in his first year of GTC2 racing while Liebenberg has three wins to hold third place, tied on points with the consistent Trevor Bland (Universal Healthcare Volkswagen Golf GTi). Bland has seven podiums to his name, including two from Killarney last month, marking his recovery from a mid-season slump in form.
Adrian Wood (Kyocera Volkswagen Golf GTi) has made great strides in his first season of GTC2 racing, having finished on the podium five times in the past six races. He is closing in on Bland on the overall points table while pulling away from Charl Smalberger (Q20 Volkswagen Golf GTi). Smalberger was disqualified from his first win of the season last time out and will be hungry to make amends at the season finale
Newcomers Bob Neill (Delmon Mining Ford Focus ST) and Paul Hill (Kalex Volkswagen Golf GTi) continue to learn the ropes in the GTC2 class, adding to their experience with each outing.
The season finale gets underway with free practice on Friday in preparation for official qualifying on Saturday morning. The popular fan grid walk is scheduled for 12:00 ahead of the first 12 lap race. The second race from an inverted grid starts at 15:35
Join the conversation on social media using #SasolGTC and visit www.sasolmotorsport.co.za for the latest #SasolGTC Championship news, broadcast schedules and so much more.
[ISSUED BY SASOL]
Cape Town, South Africa – Two-time Sasol GTC champion Michael Stephen put himself in pole position to win a potential third consecutive title after taking victory in both races at Round 8 of South Africa’s premier motorsport category held at Killarney Raceway in Cape Town.
The Engen Audi GTC team dominated proceedings at the Cape circuit, setting the fastest time in all three free practice sessions, qualifying first and second on the grid and taking a one-two result in both races thanks to Simon Moss taking the runner-up position in both races.
Stephen now needs just a handful of points from the final race to clinch his third consecutive Sasol GTC Championship, while Moss has moved into second place at the expense of Gennaro Bonafede (Sasol BMW GTC).
The first race provided scintillating racing behind Stephen, with a five-way fight for second place raging throughout the 12-lap race. Moss, Michael van Rooyen (RCS BMW GTC), Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Jetta GTC), Bonafede and Johan Fourie (EPS Couriers BMW GTC) traded places several times a lap. Fourie was in second place initially, and then tangled inadvertently with Bonafede three laps from home, causing the Sasol BMW to spin out on lap nine. With two laps, left, van Rooyen was mired in sixth spot, but by the time he crossed the finishing line, he was in third place.
Rowe shuffled his way through the pack to end fourth, followed by Fourie, Mathew Hodges (VW Jetta GTC) and a disappointed Bonafede. Robert Wolk (Sasol BMW GTC) circulated at the rear of the field after a boost pipe came loose.
The GTC2 race was equally intense; Charl Smalberger (Q20 Volkswagen Golf GTi) led from pole position and crossed the line for his first win of the season after fending off race-long pressure from championship leader Keagan Masters (Volkswagen Motorsport Golf GTi). A post-race check saw Smalberger penalised for a technical infringement, handing victory to Masters, ahead of a resurgent Trevor Bland (Universal Healthcare VW Golf GTi) and Adrian Wood (Kyocera VW Golf GTi).
The Signature Motorsport MINI John Cooper Works pair of Devin Robertson (Ferodo) and Brad Liebenberg (Ferodo) ended fourth and fifth, ahead of Bob Neill (Delmon Mining Ford Fiesta ST).
The second race, from an inverted grid, saw Bonafede lead the opening three laps before succumbing to Moss, who scythed his way from the back of the grid. Fourie pushed his way past Bonafede while Wolk, who had started from pole position, retired with terminal engine damage. Looming large in Moss’ rear view mirror was Stephen, who took second place from Fourie, and then snatched first from Moss. Hodges retired from the race when a tyre came off the rim after a bump with Wolk on the first lap. Bonafede passed Fourie for third, followed by van Rooyen and Rowe.
The GTC2 race was a repeat of the first race; Smalberger made a demon start from the rear of the grid to emerge in first place by the end of the opening lap. Masters picked off his rivals one-by-won, until he was once more right behind Smalberger. Trying different lines into Turn Eight, Masters eventually made his move for the lead stick, and opened a small gap which he held to the finish.
Wood and Bland followed the leading pair across the line, followed by Robertson. Smalberger was penalised for a jump start which dropped him to the back of the class results while Liebenberg was forced to retire after a clash with Smalberger, which damaged the MINI’s radiator.
The final round of the Sasol GTC Championship takes place at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria from 19-20 October.
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GTC: Stephen – 331, Moss – 300, Bonafede – 295, Fourie – 242, Rowe – 237, van Rooyen – 234, Wolk – 191, Hodges – 172
GTC2: Masters – 339, Robertson – 305, Liebenberg – 289, Bland – 269, Wood – 256, Smalberger – 208, Angel – 137, Neill – 108, Hill – 84
[ISSUED BY SASOL]