It’s been a while since the opening race of the season, but Global Touring Cars is finally once again locked and loaded, and ready to race at Zwartkops’ second round National Extreme Festival, Saturday 23 April. And while there’s been little track action besides most teams’ testing, there’s been a flurry off the tarmac. First and foremost, champion Robert Wolk has been absolved of any blame of an incident during those crunching first round races, his penalty rescinded and his points returned by a motorsport court.
All of which means Robert and his Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla GTC arrive in Pretoria with a handy nine-point championship advantage in the Dunlop-shod championship over Volkswagen Motorsport Golf 8 GTC pilot Daniel Rowe. Wolk’s stablemate, Killarney reverse race winner Julian van der Watt is a close third in his Ford Focus RS GTC. Several drivers will be keen to put their Killarney woes behind them however, not least of them, the Gazoo Toyota squad.
Michael van Rooyen, Sa’ood Variawa and Mandla Mdakane seemed to struggle to find Killarney pace in their Gazoo Toyota Corolla GTCs, and they also ended up in the thick of the body bending Cape action. So rest assured that they will be out to make amends at their home circuit. SA Investchem Formula 1600 champion Andrew Rackstraw similarly endured a troubled weekend at his home track but was competitive when his RDSA Investchem Audi did a cleanrun. ‘Straw will be looking for a clean weekend upcountry.
The other off-track action has been in the Universal Racing garage at Zwartkops, where the team has been flat out to ready GTC SupaCup champion Bradley Liebenberg’s brand new Hype Energy Drinks Sparco Volkswagen Golf GTC for the weekend’s action. Albeit a privateer entry, Liebenberg’s arrival in a third Golf alongside works duo Rowe and Jonathan Mogotsi draws fresh battle lines between SA’s two biggest carmakers. Bring it on!
Talking about GTC SupaCup, that championship is far tighter up front with former Polo Cup champion Jeffrey Kruger’s Universal machine and Perfect Circle GTC champion Keagan Masters split by just one point at the head of the title table in the all VW Polo pack. They only have a handful of points over Polo Cup champion, Express Hire kid Leyton Fourie, with Campos Transport brothers Keegan and Jason Campos and Car Care Clinic man Danie van Niekerk from Cape Town in close pursuit.
There’s an interesting new Stradale entry for Polo Cup lad Arnold Neveling making his SupaCup debut. And never ignore the likes of Jean-Pierre van der Walt’s Platinum Wheels car, Finishline lad Paul Luti, Calvin Dias, David Franco, Stefan Snyders. Or Trinity Protection brothers Sam and Nathan Hammond keen on a clean weekend after their Killarney catastrophe. Masters leader Nick Davidson’s Stu Davidson machine has Perfect Circle Andre Bezuidenhout, Dawie Joubert and daddy Campos Rui on his case.
It’s a full day of racing, starting with qualifying where the quickest men in both Global Touring Cars and GTC SupaCup each earn a R2,500 Dunlop Pole Position Award. That’s followed by two great races, the second of which is likely to be wild, off a reverse grid on the tight and twisty Zwartkops. GTC stars alongside a full program of national racing at the Extreme Festival. Adult entry is R130 per person, students get in for R90 and kids under 12 are free. Sounds like a cracking way to spend your Saturday 23 April!
Issued on Motorsport Media on behalf of Global Touring Cars