What Global Touring Cars Round 5 Preview
Where East London Grand Prix Circuit
When Saturday 22 July 2023
Community South Africa National
Variawa & Wolk continue their epic duel into Border country
Not only is the East London Grand Prix Circuit the spiritual home of South African circuit racing, but it is also the most daunting racetrack in the land. Superfast yet technically challenging, it will reward the Global Touring Car brave this weekend, as much as it did the grand prix superheroes Rosemeyer, Seaman and Villoresi in the ‘30s, and Clark, Moss and Brabham in the 1960s.
That is why the Border Region racetrack is also favourite among the stars of the South African Global Touring Car championship, which heads to the Extreme Festival at the classic circuit on Saturday 22 July. And that’s where local race fans can look forward to more epic GTC action this weekend.
The heart of the matter is the ongoing war between Toyota Corolla GTC archrivals, title leading youngster Saood Variawa and his white Gazoo Racing Hatchback version, and double reigning champion Robert Wolk’s blue Chemical Logistics Sedan. Variawa has proven lightning quick throughout the season so far. It is in fact his pole position and fastest lap bonus points that make up the lion’s share of the 13-point difference between them.
Saood has scored eleven of the available thirteen bonus points so far, versus Robert’s one. And while Variawa has won more races, Wolk has been more consistent in his results to keep the gap tight between them as they arrive at East London. Rookie sensation, former Polo Cup racer Nathi Msimanga has proven the find of the GTC season and sits third in the championship chase aboard his Gazoo Corolla Sedan GTC. 22 points behind Wolk and nine clear of teammate Michael van Rooyen.
Both Msimanga and van Rooyen have also won races this year, as have the otherwise luckless Andrew Rackstraw and his troublesome Sparco LTR RDSA VW Golf GTC, and rookie Josh Le Roux’s Master Stairs Investchem Audi S3 GTC. Which is why Julian van der Watt, who heroically returned to action last time out following his horrific accident before the first race of the season, will also be looking to add a ’23 victory to his name in his new Chemical Logistics BMW M 128 ti.
All of which is why the Global Touring Cars can be expected to thrill on the fast and demanding East London Grand Prix Circuit come the 22 July Extreme Festival. Don’t miss the action if you are anywhere near there, this weekend!
Issued on behalf of Global Touring Cars
Photography by: Andre Laubscher
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