SA Touring Cars

Wolk, Liebenberg stay on top of GTC points tables as debutant takes victory

Robert Wolk and Brad Liebenberg retained the lead of their respective GTC Championship and GTC SupaCup points tables this past weekend (September 24-25) at Red Star Raceway while Keegan Campos impressed with a race victory on his GTC SupaCup debut.

Wolk took his second race win of the 2021 season while his main rival Michael van Rooyen continued his record of a race win per round. The gap between Liebenberg and Jonathan Mogotsi stayed the same while Campos and Kruger celebrated the race wins.

GTC Championship

Saturday morning’s qualifying session saw Van Rooyen (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Corolla) taking his third Dunlop Pole Position with Wolk (Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla) next to him on the front row of the grid. Julian van der Watt (Autozone Ford Focus ST) and Scott Temple (Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla) shared the second row ahead of Lee Thompson (Universal Racing BMW 2 GTC) and Mandla Mdakane (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Corolla).

In Race 1, after a few early cat-and-mouse battles, the drivers consolidated their positions in the closing stages. Van Rooyen took his fifth win for the season while setting the fastest lap, also keeping his 100% pole-to-victory record intact. Despite pushing hard, Wolk finished as runner-up continuing his superb 2021 form of consistently finishing on the podium. Further back, Van der Watt took his first podium finish since Round 3. Temple hung onto fourth place despite pressure from Mdakane who passed Thompson early on. 

The afternoon’s reverse-grid race saw Thompson taking the early lead, but retiring after seven laps with an engine failure. The early stages of Race 2 saw superb teamwork from the Chemical Logistics team to get both their cars into the top three. Thompson’s retirement saw them crossing the line in a one-two formation with Wolk taking only his second win for the season. Van Rooyen crossed the line in third place while setting another fastest lap, closely pursued by Van der Watt. A post-race enquiry into an incident between the pair saw them exchanging positions. With Wolk, Temple and Van der Watt’s cars all being prepared by the WCT Engineering stable, this also marks the first occasion that a single entrant locked out the entire podium. Mdakane battled with mechanical problems but completed the 10 laps in fifth place while Thompson was classified in sixth place after completing 67% of the race distance.

GTC SupaCup

Qualifying for the GTC SupaCup took place on Friday afternoon with Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Racing) taking his third Dunlop Pole Position ahead of points leader Liebenberg (Sparco / Nathan’s Motorsport). Jonathan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa) who set the pace in the latter two of Friday’s three practice sessions lined up in third place ahead of Keegan Campos (Turn 1 Insurance Campos Racing) who topped the times in Practice 1 on debut. Fellow debutant Christiano Morgado (Morgado Racing) qualified in fifth place ahead of Jason Campos (Turn 1 Insurance Campos Racing). Saood Variawa (Varia / SV / Mariner) shared the fourth row of the grid with the last of the debutants Stefan Snyders (Telerex). Johan de Bruyn (OdorCure) and Nicky Dicks (Curvent International) completed the top ten ahead of Sam Hammond (Trinity Protection Services) and Andre Bezuidenhout (Motul Team Perfect Circle).

Kruger also maintained his 100% pole-to-win ratio, but had his work cut out in the final stages of the first race to stay ahead of Lebenberg who set off after the leader following his initial battle with his nearest rival Mogotsi; the latter finishing in third place. Kruger also set the lap record in the race, making this the fourth circuit where he currently holds the lap record. Keegan Campos, Morgado and Jason Campos completed the top six. Variawa finished seventh on track but was disqualified from the results following an infringement. This promoted De Bruyn to seventh place with Hammond, Bezuidenhout and Dicks in pursuit. Snyders completed the finishers.

The gird for the second race saw the top seven results from Race 1 inverted. Jason Campos took the early lead with his brother Keegan in close pursuit. On Lap 2, Keegan passed Jason for the lead. The team looked set to record their first one-two finish, but on Lap 4, Jason retired with gearbox issues. Keegan went on to win the race, becoming the first driver in the class to do so on debut following Kruger and Liebenberg’s victories in 2020’s inaugural event. He also set the fastest lap on his way to victory. Behind him, Mogotsi and Liebenberg battled for the runner-up spot. This time it was Mogotsi who finished in second place while Liebenberg completed the podium, the latter retaining his seven-point lead in the championship. Kruger finished in fourth place closely behind Liebenberg while Morgado made it two fifth-place finishes on debut. Variawa’s Race 1 exclusion resulted in him having to start the race from last on the grid, but he skillfully picked his way through the pack to finish in sixth place. De Bruyn matched his best result of seventh for the fourth time ahead of Hammond who now holds a best result of three eighth-place finishes. Hammond was pursued by Snyders who also took his first points on his debut weekend. Dicks made it four consecutive final points-paying finishes from four starts, trailed by Bezuidenhout.

Next event

The penultimate round of the 2021 GTC and GTC SupaCup Championship will take place at Zwartkops Raceway on October 22-23. With the changes to the original calendar brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Zwartkops Raceway will be the only venue to host more than one championship round in 2021.

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