SA Touring Cars

East London set for Global Touring Cars battles

Round 5 of the 2023 Global Touring Cars (GTC) Championship and SupaCup will see the field heading to the East London Grand Prix Circuit this weekend (21-22 July), with the title battles evenly poised.

GTC Championship

The battle at the front will see points leader Saood Variawa (Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla) face off against reigning double champion Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla). While Variawa heads the statistics with wins, Dunlop Pole Positions, and fastest laps, Wolk’s consistency sees him still within a 13-point striking distance. Born in East London, Wolk will be eager to add to his first win of the year, which came in the most recent outing in Gqeberha.

Debutant and CompCare Polo Cup graduate, Nathi Msimanga (Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla), trails Wolk by 22 pooints. He has successfully transitioned from the front-wheel-drive category and will look to continue his impressive form. Nine points behind him is Michael van Rooyen in the third Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla, who will also look to achieve success at the coast.

Both Msimanga and Van Rooyen have also won races this year, as have the otherwise luckless Andrew Rackstraw (Sparco / RDSA Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI). After an impressive outing at his home circuit in Round 2, it has been a pretty lean spell for the 2021 Investchem Formula 1600 Champion, something he will look to change this weekend. The driver who followed in Rackstraw’s footsteps in the single-seater series, Josh le Roux, will be eager for a strong result in his Master Stairs Audi S3. Julian van der Watt (Chemical Logistics BMW 128ti) will continue his heroic comeback, which commenced in Round 4 following his horrific incident in the season opener.

Rackstraw is 16 points adrift of Van Rooyen and six ahead of Le Roux. Van der Watt opened his 2023 account in Gqeberha with 20 points.

GTC SupaCup

After Keegan Campos (Veloce Automobili) returned to winning ways in the all-Volkswagen Polo SupaCup class, he heads former double-champion Brad Liebenberg (Hype Energy Drinks) by 15 points. From eight starts, the pair has split the 2023 race wins equally, and while Campos will look the extend his advantage, Liebenberg will look to close the gap ahead of the return trips to Cape Town and Pretoria.

Jonathan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Motorsport) has kept himself in close contention with a host of podiums. Still winless in 2023, Mogotsi trails Liebenberg by nine points.

Fourth-placed Arnold Neveling (GOSCOR Lift Truck Company) is 39 points adrift. However, having missed the season opener, he has gradually been collecting points while being a contender at the sharp end throughout. Tate Bishop (ANGRi Racing Academy) trails Neveling by 13 points and is the highest-ranked debutant on the points table.

Danie van Niekerk (Titan Stunts / Van Niekerk Racing) finds himself in eighth place and also heads up the GTC SupaCup Master honours from teammate Paul Luti (Finishline UK / Van Niekerk Racing), who occupies 12th place on the points table. Karah Hill (Kalex) will also look to continue her impressive debut season, having joined the grid in Round 3.

The latter three’s quest for points will be aided by the absence of sixth-placed Tato Carello (Carello Auto), seventh-placed Dominic Dias (Chemi / Liquid Energy) and ninth-placed Calvin Dias (Chemi / Liquid Energy). Jean-Pierre van der Walt (Platinum Wheels), in 12th place, is yet to enter the event at the time of writing.

Weekend Programme

A timetable for the weekend ahead is yet to be made available by the event promoter. Saturday will feature two races, with the times and distance to be confirmed.

Spectator tickets can be purchased from the Border Motorsport Club and selected outlets in East London. The full Extreme Festival race programme will be broadcast live on the Global Touring Cars Facebook page and 2WheelsTV YouTube Channel. The start time is subject to the final timetable and will be communicated by the event promoter in due course.

GTC Championship
GTC SupaCup

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