SA Touring Cars

Variawa and Campos remain on top in GTC at Gqeberha

  • Saood Variawa remains on top of the GTC Championship points table.
  • Champion Robert Wolk takes his first win of 2023.
  • Keegan Campos took a double GTC SupaCup win to extend his points lead.
  • Brad Liebenberg and Campos now both have four wins for the year.

The Global Touring Cars (GTC) Championship and SupaCup crossed the midway mark of the season at Aldo Scribante Racetrack, with Saood Variawa and Keegan Campos consolidating their positions at the top after Round 4 this past weekend (16-17 June).

GTC Championship

Saood Variawa (Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla) took another Dunlop Pole Position in a red-flagged qualifying session that saw archrival Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla) line up second after setting Friday’s fastest practice day time. Julian van der Watt returned from his Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit crash to slot his brand new Chemical Logistics  BMW 128ti into third on the grid. Van der Watt shared Row 2 with Michael van Rooyen (Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla). Andrew Rackstraw’s Sparco /  RDSA Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI, Josh Le Roux in the Vitro Frameless Glass /  Master Stairs Audi S3 and Nathi Msimanga Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla were all troubled by issues in Friday’s practice sessions, but their cars were ready for Qualifying, and they filled the rest of the grid in that order.

Although the first race went down without a single overtake, the action was close throughout. Variawa led Wolk, Van der Watt, Van Rooyen Rackstraw, Le Roux and Msimanga home in a line. The biggest drama was when Msimanga and Le Roux made contact in his attempt by the former to get by at the hairpin at mid-distance, a move that compromised both their races.

The reverse grid second race saw Le Roux initially leading Rackstraw, Van der Watt, Wolk, Variawa and Van Rooyen. The two most recent Investchem Formula 1600 champions’, Rackstraw and Le Roux, race-leading performances abruptly stopped when they clattered together in the final corner of that first lap. That left Rackstraw out and under observation for the next round and Le Roux circulating a few laps adrift once he had re-joined.

Wolk and Variawa were ahead of Van der Watt by the time the leaders took each other out, to gift them the lead fight. Van Rooyen put one over the BMW driver for third a lap later, after which the order remained to the flag despite Van Rooyen’s side skirt digging onto a kerb and ripping it and a fender off the car. This saw defending two-time consecutive champion Wolk take his first win of the season.

GTC SupaCup

If the Volkswagen Polo SupaCups’ new treaded semi-slick Dunlop tyres slowed the pack a little, they also considerably closed the grid up as the top seven cars qualified within a second. The top three, championship leader Keegan Campos (Veloce Automobili), his relentless pursuer Brad Liebenberg (Hype Energy Drinks / Sparco) and Volkswagen Motorsport driver Jonathan Mogotsi (CompCare), were split by all of four-tenths of a second, with Campos taking the Dunlop Pole Position.

Arnold Neveling (GOSCOR Lift Trucks) lined up fourth ahead of Tate Bishop’s (ANGRi Racing Academy), Jean-Pierre van der Walt (Platinum Wheels) and top Masters’ driver Danie van Niekerk (Titan Stunts / Van Niekerk Racing). Karah Hill (Kalex) and another Master, Paul Luti (Finishline UK Van Niekerk Racing) were not far adrift as they closed off the grid.

Campos however, made no mistakes off the line as he took the Race 1 lead he would not relinquish, no matter what Liebenberg tried. Campos opened up a 1.5-second lead by the flag to consolidate his championship lead. It was line astern behind them as Neveling kept Mogotsi kept at bay, only to be docked a place post-race. Van der Walt held Bishop and Masters winner Van Niekerk off for fifth, only for Van der Walt to also be handed a startline penalty to drop behind those two, with Luti and Hill in chase.     

There was a bit more action in Race 2 as Campos had to work harder to stay ahead of Liebenberg, with Mogotsi and Neveling in close pursuit. Bishop jumped Van der Walt at the start and stayed there to end up fifth, while Van Niekerk did the same to grab sixth from Van der Walt on the final lap. Van der Walt’s day went from bad to worse when he was found underweight post-race to hand seventh to Luti.

Next Event

Round 5 of the 2023 GTC Championship & SupaCup will see the field head to East London Grand Prix Circuit on 21-22 July.

GTC Championship

GTC SupaCup

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