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What Global Touring Cars Round 3 Report
Where Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria
When Saturday 20 May 2023
Community South Africa National

Bumping, barging & penalties in Global Touring Cars

The Global Touring Car championship treated an enthusiastic Extreme Festival crowd to some great racing at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria on Saturday, but some robust driving and a spate of post-race penalties handed out somewhat changed the complexion of the results.

On the track, runaway championship leader Saood Variawa added to his title advantage in a thrilling qualifying session in his Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla Hatch GTC. That crucial pole position swapped between him and main title rival, double reigning GTC champion Robert Wolk’s Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla sedan GTC several times throughout the session.

So Variawa lined up alongside Wolk with impressive rookie Nathi Msimanga’s Gazoo Racing Corolla Sedan GTC alongside Michael van Rooyen’s similar Hatch version on the second row. Josh Le Roux qualified fifth in his Master Stairs Investchem Audi S3 GTC, but first time winner last time out, Andrew Rackstraw’s weekend was over before it started after his Sparco RDSA VW Golf GTC suffered a qualifying engine failure.

The drama started from the get-go when Wolk got the drop on Variawa, who bumped him hard in turn 2. Van Rooyen went in even harder from way back on the table top to spin Wolk out of contention. Josh le Roux’s Audi then stopped early, leaving Variawa to trot off with Gazoo teammates Nathi Msimanga and Michael van Rooyen in pursuit, and Wolk limping home a lap down.

That’s at least how it appeared. Both Variawa and van Rooyen were slapped with three place penalties later on Saturday evening. That handed Msimanga a maiden GTC win from Wolk, with Variawa and van Rooyen classified behind Wolk a lap down in third and fourth. But it’s not over, with protests flying over what many see as a dire lack of discipline in what is purported to be SA’s premier racing formula.

Michael van Rooyen got the jump on Robert Wolk off the half-points reverse-grid second race lights out, while Saood Variawa did the same over Nathi Msimanga, with Josh le Roux holding a watching brief. And that’s how it stayed to the flag. That left rookie Nathi Msimanga to take a provisional overall win with all the off track action going down around him and due to wrangle on into the coming weeks.

Global Touring Cars to Gqeberha next for its midwinter midseason round action, hopefully more on the track than off it, at Aldo Scribante’s Extreme Festival in in just four weeks’ time. Don’t miss it!

Issued on behalf of Global Touring Cars

Photography by: iShoot Stories

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