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)
For more information head to www.gtcafrica.co.za