The 2019 South African circuit motor racing championships step into unknown territory when the opening round of the Extreme Festival heads to a much revised Dezzi Raceway on the KZN South Coast Saturday 2 March as the premier Global Touring Cars similarly head into an exciting new era.
GTC has not raced on the twisty and undulating Dezzi Raceway season since 2016, so it’s back to the future for the series, which also sees several other most interesting changes for the new year, including new young drivers stepping up and exciting new cars, over and above that new circuit for the opening round.
The past three GTC seasons were all about two drivers; Micheal Stephen and Gennaro Bonafede, both of whom have stepped away from racing this season to open GTC up on clean slate and a wide open championship. Four drivers remain in their old seats, but there is so much happening around them.
Triple champion Stephen’s former teammate, young Simon Moss is one of those drivers to continue aboard his Terry Moss Racing Audi Sport A3 – the hard charging Moss must start as one of the favourites this year and he will have a familiar face besides him as Tschops Sipuka returns to his old team in Stephen’s place. The Port Elizabeth team will be chasing its fourth straight GTC crown with Moss and Sipuka this season.
Daniel Rowe is another Port Elizabeth youngster set to continue chasing a GTC title aboard his Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta this season something of a second race expert, Rowe won several races last season, most of them in the second heat, but he will be out to capitalise on all fronts this year. Rowe’s teammate for 2019 is a driver most can’t wait to see in a full-blown GTC machine as double reigning GTC2 champion Keagan Masters steps up to the second Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta. This Johannesburg youngster certainly is one worth watching.
Robert Wolk is another driver set to impress ÔÇö Wolk won races last season and is no doubt looking to keep his Chemical Logistics/WCT Engineering BMW 2 Series at the sharp end throughout the coming season. Johan Fourie is a proven GTC winner who is no doubt rubbing his hands in anticipation for the new season ÔÇö the top privateer and his familiar EPS Courier Services BMW 2 Series are set for a full attack on the title this year and the highly experienced Capetonian is another driver to be expected to be right in the mix.
Perhaps the most exciting development leading into the 2019 season is GTC veteran Michael van Rooyen’s switch from his familiar BMW to a GA300 Racing Toyota Corolla for the coming season. The Rustenburg driver brings the first of a few different combinations to the fray and Toyota’s GTC debut is another development to be watched with interest.
The GTC2 pack can always be expected to deliver close racing behind the first division machines and this year will see Charl Smalberger’s Golf GTI competing in Universal Healthcare/CompCare colours with competition expected from Volkswagen factory duo, Adrian Wood’s Kyocera car and Mini refugee and Bradley Liebenberg’s Golf GTI in Volkswagen Motorsport colours, while Bob Neill will be out in his Delmon Mining Ford Focus ST.
So it’s all change and wide open for Global Touring Cars, with new drivers, cars and combinations, a new season starting at a brand new track. Keep up with the latest news in the build up to the Dezzi Extreme Festival opener at www.gtcafrica.co.za.
ISSUED BY MOTORSPORT MEDIA