SA Touring Cars

Variawa, Rackstraw and Liebenberg star in Cape Town GTC show

  • Saood Variawa extends his GTC Championship lead.
  • Andrew Rackstraw takes his maiden GTC Championship win at home.
  • Brad Liebenberg dominate the GTC SupaCup field.
  • Keegan Campos retains the GTC SupaCup points lead.

Saood Variawa and Andrew Rackstraw shared the GTC Championship wins, while Brad Liebenberg dominated the GTC SupaCup this past weekend (17-18 March) at Killarney International Raceway outside Cape Town.

Variawa’s win saw him extend his points lead, but Rackstraw’s maiden GTC Championship win brought the capacity crowd at Killarney International Raceway to their feet. Liebenberg, who had a GTC SupaCup season opener to forget, bounced back to dominate in Cape Town.

GTC Championship

There was drama on Friday when championship leader Variawa’s Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla suffered engine failure, but the team replaced the power unit, allowing the points leader to emerge on top of a Toyota top-three lockout in the qualifying session, just 0.017 ahead of defending champion Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla). This made it two-from-two Dunlop Pole Positions for Variawa in 2023.  2023 Debutant Nathi Msimanga (Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla) was in third place. Cape Town’s Andrew Rackstraw (Sparco / RDSA Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI) lined up in fourth place, ahead of Michael van Rooyen (Toyota Gazoo Racing Colla) and Josh le Roux (Investchem Audi S3).

The first race was tight, if a little static at the front as Variawa kept Wolk and Msimanga at bay, the three of them never much more than a second away from Rackstraw. Le Roux retired at the final hairpin on Lap 2, while Van Rooyen stopped after completing four laps.

Race 2 was a far more entertaining affair. Rackstraw led off the reverse race grid, but a feisty Msimanga made a solid move to lead Rackstraw and Variawa. Van Rooyen struggled as he ran in fourth further back, with Wolk fighting to make up distance after a first lap slip, with the recovered Le Roux in pursuit. But Rackstraw had none of it as he fought his way back past Msimanga in a stunning move to leave his Gazoo Racing rivals fighting over second.

That was enough breathing space to see the delighted 2021 South African Investchem Formula 1600 champion Andrew race off to his maiden GTC win to the rapturous applause of his family, friends, and fans. Variawa won his battle with an inspired and impressive Msimanga to take second to add a few more points to his title-leading tally. Wolk’s brave, if lonely, effort paid off as he caught and passed Van Rooyen for fourth to minimise the championship damage and put a little silver lining on a tough weekend, with Le Roux in chase in sixth.

GTC SupaCup

Brad Liebenberg (Hype Energy Drinks) bounced back from a comeback to forget last time out to dominate the all-Volkswagen SuperPolo races in Cape Town. Liebenberg took the Dunlop Pole Position before scoring double victories with the fastest lap of the day, chased by championship leader Keegan Campos (Carello Auto). The returning Arnold Neveling (Goscor Stradale Motorsport) ended third from second in the title chase, Volkswagen Motorsport’s Jonathan Mogotsi.

Liebenberg headed up the grid from points leader Keegan Campos Mogotsi started third from local rookie Tate Bishop (Angri Racing) and Neveling. Chemi Liquid Energy brothers Dominic and Calvin Dias, Tato Carello (Carello Auto) and JP van der Walt (Platinum Wheels)

Liebenberg made a perfect getaway from the rolling start to lead the way in Race 1 as drama brewed behind. Campos kept Liebenberg honest enough once he shook off Mogotsi’s efforts for second ahead of Neveling, who had also passed Bishop for fourth. Carello had a relatively lonely race to fifth ahead of Dominic Dias, who passed brother Calvin on the final lap after Van der Walt retired with engine failure.

Liebenberg had to work a little harder to win the second race after a wild first corner when four cars simultaneously tried to occupy the same tarmac. Campos emerged ahead after all of that from Liebenberg, Mogotsi and Neveling. That changed to Liebenberg, Campos, Neveling and Mogotsi through the course of the second lap, and it stayed that way through to the finish.

It was far wilder behind the top four. A splendid five-way tussle ensued between Bishop, Carello Van der Walt and the Dias brothers. Carello settled into an early fifth place but could not chase down the quartet up front. Dominic Dias, who came off worst in that first lap skirmish, drove a cunning race to come home in sixth place ahead of Bishop, Van der Walt, and Dias.

Next Event

The third round of the 2023 GTC Championship & SupaCup sees a return to Gauteng on 19-20 May at Zwartkops Raceway outside Pretoria.

GTC Championship
GTC SupaCup

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