SA Touring Cars

Wolk, Liebenberg edge ahead on points tables as GTC delivers four winners in East London

Robert Wolk and Brad Liebenberg consolidated their positions at the top of the respective GTC Championship and GTC SupaCup points tables while Round 4 at the East London Grand Prix Circuit saw the race wins split between four different drivers this past weekend (August 27-28).

The weekend also saw a maiden victory for Lee Thompson and BMW’s win first since the penultimate round of the 2019 season. Samuel Hammond and Nicky Dicks also made their GTC SupaCup debut.

Van Rooyen set the pace in GTC Championship while Wolk delivered consistency

Michael van Rooyen (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Corolla) set the pace throughout Friday’s practice sessions and followed this up by making it two-all in the battle for Dunlop Pole Positions on Saturday morning against points leader Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla), the latter lined up in second place on the grid. Scott Temple (Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla) shared the second row with Lee Thompson (Universal Racing BMW 2 GTC). Julian van der Watt (Autozone Ford Focus ST) and Mandla Mdakane (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Corolla) completed the top six.

Van Rooyen continued to exhibit his pace in Race 1 with a lights-to-flag win while setting the fastest lap. This saw him gradually pulling away from Wolk and Temple who challenged each other for the final two podium positions. During the early stages, Thompson held off a host of challenges by Van der Watt, but the latter was able to gain the position when Thompson retired with a mechanical issue. Mdakane, who struggled with electrical issues, finished two laps down on the leaders in fifth place. Thompson did complete nine laps which saw him classified in sixth place.

The result-classification saw Thompson starting from pole position in the reverse-grid second race. He was hounded by Wolk and Van Rooyen in the opening laps, but with the latter two engaging in their cat-and-mouse battle, Thompson was able to build a margin of comfort at the front to take his maiden victory. Van Rooyen completed the podium behind runner-up Wolk and again set the fastest lap in the process. Further back, Temple and Mdakane finished in fourth and fifth places respectively. Van der Watt retired after six laps after sustaining damage on Lap 1 following an incident that also involved Van Rooyen.

Following the conclusion of the race, Van Rooyen was issued with a penalty for his part in the incident which saw him demoted to fifth place. This resulted in Temple being promoted to the podium and Mdakane to fourth place.

Campos shines while Liebenberg takes outright GTC SupaCup lead

Jason Campos (Turn 1 Insurance Campos Racing) took first blood on Saturday morning with his maiden Dunlop Pole Position ahead of Friday’s pace-setting trio. Joint-points leaders Brad Liebenberg (Sparco / Nathan’s Motorsport) and Jonathan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa) lined up behind him on the grid, ahead of Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Racing). Saood Variawa (SV / Varia / Mariner) and Rui Campos (Turn 1 Insurance Campos Racing) completed the top six. Dawie Joubert (Wild Rose Gin Rembrandt Racing) and Nick Davidson (Stu Davidson & Sons) shared the fourth row of the grid. Mikaeel Pitamber (Toys R Us / Creative Ink Media) set the ninth-fastest time after only four laps of set up time on Friday. Andre Bezuidenhout (Motul Team Perfect Circle) completed the top 10 following a new engine being fitted to his Volkswagen SupaPolo on Friday afternoon. Johan de Bruyn (Odorcure) qualified in 11th place ahead of series debutants Samuel Hammond (Trinity Protection) and Nicky Dicks (Curvent International).

Jason Campos made the most of his pole position to hold off Liebenberg in a fiercely contested battle for the lead. This saw Campos taking his second GTC SupaCup victory, his first from the standard grid. Further back, Kruger, Mogotsi and Variawa were involved in another closely contested battle for the final podium position. Variawa dropped back while Kruger momentarily held onto the position, but soon Mogotsi made his way past again. Mogotsi collected the final podium place with Kruger in close pursuit. Joubert, who missed Round 3 due to mechanical problems, bounced back with his best result of fifth place in his debut season ahead of Davidson and Variawa. Hammond beat Bezuidenhout to eighth place while Dicks picked up the final point. Campos finished in 11th place following contact between himself and Pitamber, the latter retiring with front-end damage after two laps. De Bruyn retired at the end of Lap 4 with stub-axle damage following contact between himself and Dicks at the end of Lap 3.

It did not take long for Liebenberg to make it to the front of the reverse-grid race, but he had to work hard to keep his closest rival Mogotsi behind him. Liebenberg, however, secured his fourth race win of the season while setting the fastest lap. The podium was completed by Kruger with Variawa finishing in fourth place. Joubert equalled his best result, this time with a much bigger margin of comfort over Davidson. With his Race 1 damage repaired, Du Bruyn held off Bezuidenhout for seventh place. Pitamber and Dicks completed the list of finishers, a lap behind the leaders. Both Jason and Rui Campos were eliminated in an opening lap incident while Hammond was forced to retire after four laps.

Next event

Round 5 of the 2021 GTC Championship and GTC SupaCup will take place at Red Star Raceway in Delmas on September 24-25.

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