SA Touring Cars

Red Star Raceway to host next instalment of GTC title battle

The fifth round of the 2021 Global Touring Cars and GTC SupaCup championships will take place at Red Star Raceway this coming weekend (September 24-25).

Robert Wolk and Brad Liebenberg head up the respective points tables, but with both championships poised on a knife-edge, the tables could easily be turned on the weekend. This will also be the first time that the category’s races will take place on the anti-clockwise layout of the circuit, situated outside Delmas. Round 5 also marks the return to the inland venues after two consecutive coastal visits for the category.

GTC Championship

Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla) increased his lead on the points table by one point over Michael van Rooyen (Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla) in Round 4. With 137 and 129 points next to their names respectively, they will be eager to continue their battle. It is the contender Van Rooyen who holds the advantage in the key areas such as race wins and fastest laps, but it is two-all in the battle for Dunlop Pole Positions. Although he only has one race victory to his name in 2021, Wolk’s consistency played a huge part in his advantage at present. Five of six starts this year saw him finish on the podium. Van Rooyen has the better history at the circuit though, with two wins including his maiden victory in 2019. Wolk would, however, be eager to shake off his misfortunes at the circuit from both the previous outings.

Lee Thompson (Universal Racing BMW 2 GTC) has established himself as the front runner for third place in his debut season, especially following his maiden victory in Round 4 which saw him take his points tally to 100. With 93 points, Scott Temple (Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla) will be challenging Thompson’s position. With two podium finishes from his last two starts, he is also the driver who won the last race at an inland circuit. Another driver who would like to add to his single victory this year is Julian van der Watt (Autozone Ford Focus ST). With 84 points, he heads up Mandla Mdakane (Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla) by five points. Mdakane is another driver who will be hoping to continue his form at the inland venues following a career-best second place in Round 2. Could this be the weekend that he celebrates his maiden victory?

GTC SupaCup

Brad Liebenberg (Sparco / Nathan’s Motorsport) heads up the battle with Jonathan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Motorsport). With 133 and 126 points respectively, reigning champion Liebenberg will be drawing from his superb form at the previous Red Star Raceway outing to maintain his lead. While Liebenberg has two more wins to his name for the season, both drivers have finished five from six races on the podium.

Further back, Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Racing) would like to build on his tally of 106 points. He was the star of 2020’s Red Star Raceway outing and a repeat of this could prove vital in his bid to catch up to the pair at the front to increase the margin. Unlike most of his rivals, Kruger knows both circuit orientations very well from competing in various regional categories. Saood Variawa (Varia / SV / Mariner) remains the highest-placed debutant with 94 points. He is the only driver in the top-five not to have won a race this year and given that the anti-clockwise circuit orientation will be new to everyone, he will be in a good position to take a step to the top given his ability to master new circuits rapidly.  Jason Campos (Turn 1 Insurance Campos Racing) became only the second driver this season to take more than one race victory. A repeat of his qualifying pace could see him edge closer to the battle for third place. He currently has 92 points next to his name. Mikaeel Pitamber (Toys R Us / Creative Ink Media) is in sixth place with 50 points.

Andre Bezuidenhout (Motul Team Perfect Circle) will be looking to increase his tally of 42 points and a solid weekend could well see him break into the top-six. Johan de Bruyn (OdorCure) will also be hoping to improve on his tally of 18 points while improving on his career-best result of sixth place. With both Nick Davison and Dawie Joubert missing this round, a part of good results could also see him gain positions.

Round 4’s two newcomers Samuel Hammond (Trinity Protection Services) and Nicky Dicks (Curvent International) scored 4 and 2 points respectively and will both be eager to find themselves in contention for more points.

There are three drivers scheduled to make their debut this coming weekend. Stefan Snyders (Telerex) will be eager to put his new Volkswagen Supa Polo through its paces while there is also a driver change in the Turn 1 Insurance Campos Racing Camp. Volkswagen Polo Cup regular Keegan Campos will take up the seat vacated by Rui Campos. Christiano Morgado (Morgado Racing) will also be making his debut.

Weekend programme and broadcast

There are three practice sessions scheduled for Friday. The afternoon will see the GTC SupaCup competitors conducting their qualifying session, while the GTC Championship session will take place on Saturday morning. Saturday’s two races will both run over a 10-lap distance and are scheduled for 11:30 and 14:15. The prohibition on the in-person attendance of spectators at sporting events remain in place, but all of Saturday’s races will be streamed live via the Global Touring Cars Facebook page as well as the 2Wheels YouTube channel.

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