SA Touring Cars

Wolk, Van Rooyen, Kruger and Fourie share GTC wins on somber weekend for SA motorsport

Global Touring Cars (GTC) lit up Gqeberha on Saturday (May 28) as Aldo Scribante’s racing faithful turned out en mGlobal Touring Cars (GTC) lit up Gqeberha on Saturday as Aldo Scribante’s racing faithful turned out en masse to be entertained by brilliant racing. Toyota drivers Robert Wolk and Michael van Rooyen shared the GTC race wins, while Jeffrey Kruger and Leyton Fourie shared the GTC SupaCup honours. Despite Saturday’s racing, the weekend will be remembered for the tragic events involving the Volkswagen Motorsport transporter on Sunday, that took place outside Colesberg.

The action started Saturday morning in qualifying, where the pace was hectic and the gaps minimal, but it was reigning champion and 2022 log leader Wolk, who grabbed pole position in his Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla in the end. He edged Bradley Liebenberg’s Hype Energy Drinks Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI by a tenth of a second. Saood Variawa’s Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla was just as close behind in third.

Volkswagen Motorsport Golf 8 GTI pilot Daniel Rowe ended fourth ahead of Julian van der Watt’s Chemical Logistics Ford Focus RS and Mandla Mdakane’s Gazoo Corolla. Andrew Rackstraw’s RDSA Investchem Audi S3 shared row four with Michael van Rooyen in the final Gazoo Corolla and Jonathan Mogotsi’s second Volkswagen Motorsport Golf in ninth.

Wolk made no mistakes in the day’s opening encounter as the blue Corolla trotted to a flag-to-flag victory. He fended off an initial challenge from Liebenberg and Variawa, with van der Watt and Rowe hovering in the background, ready to pounce. Liebenberg looked set to make a move on Wolk, but a gearbox issue intervened as Variawa mugged him.

It was a bit more dramatic for third as Liebenberg was forced wide by an unsighted GTC SupaCup car, which allowed Rowe to make his way through. So Wolk took the win from Variawa with Rowe, Liebenberg, a solid Rackstraw and Van Rooyen as van der Watt hit trouble.

The inverted grid pole position paid off handsomely for wily Van Rooyen. He converted pole into a hard-earned race win in his Gazoo Corolla Toyota. He was destined to stay ahead, even with the intervention of the Safety Car on Lap 5, while Rui Campos liberated his Polo SupaCup from the tyre wall.

Liebenberg again hounded the leader for the entire race following the safety car period, but on the last lap, he ran wide by just enough to allow Variawa through for a Toyota one-two finish.  Liebenberg concluded the podium while Wolk pulled a final corner move on Rowe for fourth. Mogotsi ended up sixth from Mdakane, Van der Watt who dropped back after an ambitious move and Rackstraw who misfired home well down with a fuel pump issue.

In the GTC SupaCup,  a mere 0,047 of a second separated the two frontrunners in qualifying. Jeff Kruger’s Universal Healthcare Team Red Polo SupaCup just pipped Jason Campos’ Turn 1 Insurance Brokers / Campos Transport car to lock out the front row. Leyton Fourie’s Express Hire Universal car was next with Keegan Campos’s Turn 1 Insurance Brokers / Campos Transport Polo SupaCup alongside him on row 2.  
Team Perfect Circle’s Keagan Masters started on the third row in the company of Arnold Neveling’s Pagid Stradale Motorsport machine. Behind them came Jean-Pierre van der Walt’s Platinum Wheels car with Danie van Niekerk’s Titan Stunts machine for company.

Nothing phased Jeffrey Kruger as he led Race 1 from start to finish with Jason and Keegan Campos and championship leader Fourie in pursuit. The order up front remained unchanged for much of the race, despite the best efforts of all concerned, with the only positional change coming on the final lap, when Fourie went wide through the final corner to let Masters and Neveling through.

Van der Walt followed from Van Niekerk, Nathan Hammond’s Trinity Protection Services car, a delighted GTC SupaCup Masters winner, Rui Campos’ Turn 1 Insurance Brokers / Campos Transport machine and Damian Hammond’s second Trinity Protections Services car. Master Nic Davidson’s entry and Andre Bezuidenhout’s Perfect Circle car were next after Calvin Dias retired his Carello Polo.

Race 2 was all about Leyton Fourie and he stormed away from the line to race to victory over the ever-present Neveling  Kruger piled on the pressure in the early stages, but his efforts dwindled to allow Keegan Campos to finish up third ahead of Jason Campos. Masters was next from Van der Walt, Nathan Hammond, Van Niekerk and Damian Hammond.

Rui Campos’ entente with the tyre wall brought out a brief safety car period and allowed Davidson to take Masters for the day, while Calvin Dias was the final finisher.

Despite the excellent performance from all the competitors, celebrations were abruptly subdued on Sunday morning when the Volkswagen Motorsport team’s transporter was involved in an accident en route back to Gauteng. The accident claimed the lives of the driver, Roger van Schalkwyk and technician, Floyd Sipinyu. It also led to the destruction of both the team’s Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI race cars. The team has subsequently withdrawn from the remainder of the 2022 championship.

GTC Management would like to convey their condolences to the families and loved ones of both individuals who, through the years, became valued and loved members of the paddock. A memorial service will be held with more details to be provided in the days ahead.

Round 4 of the 2022 GTC Championship will take place at Red Star Raceway outside Delmas on June 1-2.

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