SA Touring Cars

GTC Championship battles and spectators return to Zwartkops Raceway

The penultimate round of the 2021 GTC Championship and GTC SupaCup heads to Zwartkops Raceway this coming weekend (October 22-23) with Robert Wolk and Brad Liebenberg both eager to extend their advantages on the respective points tables.

Following the amendments to South Africa’s National State of Disaster regulations, this will also be the first round of the series to be held in front of spectators since the 2019 season finale. With the calendar revision, Zwarkops Raceway is also the only circuit to host multiple championship rounds in 2021.

GTC Championship

The pressure will be on both the title contenders heading into Round 6. With only four races remaining, Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla) leads Michael van Rooyen (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa) by 10 points and a successful weekend for Wolk could see him heading to the season finale with a relative degree of comfort. In the same manner, Zwartkops Raceway will be a do-or-die scenario for Van Rooyen’s title aspirations. It is Wolk who has the most consistent record for podium finishes in the season while Van Rooyen tops the wins, pole positions and fastest laps scorecards. Van Rooyen won when the series previously visited Zwartkops Raceway for Round 2, a weekend that also saw him take his only double-podium finish for the year. In contrast, this was the only round that didn’t see a double-podium finish for Wolk. Respectively, they have accumulated 174 and 164 points thus far.

Scott Temple (Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla) with 122 accumulated points and will have fond memories of his last visit to Zwartkops Raceway, this being the venue where he took his sole victory in the reverse-grid race following an accident earlier the day. His main rival will be Lee Thompson (Universal Motorsport BMW 2 GTC) who in the last two rounds also showed his skill in the reverse-grid format. With 116 points to his name, he was unfortunate not to take a win at Red Star Raceway following an engine failure and like Temple, would also want to add his second race victory. Julian van der Watt (Autozone Ford Focus) trails Thompson by only four points. Red Star Raceway saw him record his first double-podium result and he is another driver eager to add a second victory to his tally. Mandla Mdakane (Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota Corolla) has 99 points to his name and will hope that his share of mechanical problems has come to an end. Like Temple, he will draw inspiration from his last visit to Zwartkops Raceway where he recorded his best result to date as runner-up.

GTC SupaCup

It is equally competitive at the top of the GTC SupaCup points table. Brad Liebenberg (Sparco / Nathan’s Motorsport), with 164 points, holds a seven-point margin over Jonathan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa). The last visit to Zwartkops Raceway marked Liebenberg’s first weekend of not taking a single victory while Mogotsi missed out on the win through mechanical difficulties. With 140 points to his name, Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Motorsport) could become a late contender to the dominance that this pair had throughout the season. Kruger is also the driver with the best record at the circuit, having recorded four wins in six starts and being the current lap record holder.

Saood Variawa (SVR, SV Safaris, Varia, Mariner) remains the highest placed 2021 debutant with 102 points and heads Jason Campos (Turn 1 Insurance Campos Racing) by two points. Zwartkops Raceway is the circuit where Campos took his maiden victory back in April. After missing Round 5, Mikaeel Pitamber (Toys R Us / Creative Ink Media) still has 50 points accumulated for the season. Andre Bezuidenhout (Motul Team Perfect Circle), with 44 points, will be looking to close in on a top-six spot as well.

The points table could see further shake-ups if Keegan Campos (Turn 1 Insurance Campos Racing) continues his superb learning curve. At Red Star Raceway, he took a race win on his debut weekend to slot into eighth place with 33 points. Nick Davidson (Stu Davidson & Sons) and Dawie Joubert (Wild Rose Gin Rembrandt Racing) will both be back on the grid after missing Red Star Raceway. The pair has accumulated 32 and 29 points respectively. Johan de Bruyn (OdorCure) slotted in between them with 30 points to his name.

Christiano Morgado (Morgado Racing) also had a strong debut with two fifth-place finishes and 20 points to his name. Samuel Hammond (Trinity Protection Services) with 12 points, Nicky Dicks (Curvent International) with 4 points and Stefen Snyders with 2 points will also be eager to improve on their best results.

Round 6 will also see Danie van Niekerk (Wingfield Motors Van Niekerk Racing) making his debut. The multiple Western Cape Champion will be making his first appearance at the national level in more than a decade.

Weekend programme and broadcast

Practice will take place on Friday with the individual qualifying sessions taking place on Saturday morning. Saturday’s first race will be run over 12 laps and will start at 11:55 with the 15-lap second race scheduled for 15:10

A limited amount of 2 000 vaccinated spectators will be allowed to attend the event. Non-pharmaceutical measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 will also need to be adhered to. Tickets can only be purchased directly from Zwartkops Raceway in advance. No tickets will be sold at the gate on Saturday.

The event will also be streamed live via the Global Touring Cars Facebook page and 2WheelsTV YouTube channel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.