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]