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All eyes on Killarney as Global Touring Cars prepare for battle

What    Global Touring Cars Round 2 Preview
Where    Killarney International Raceway
When    Saturday 18 March 2023
Community    South Africa National

Global Touring Cars returns to Killarney for what promises to be a high quality bout of racing at the National Extreme Festival powered by the City of Cape Town. If the action at Kyalami two weeks back was anything to go by, Western Province race fans are in for a treat.

Kyalami of course produced a dramatic overall result when rookie and Investchem Formula 1600 champion Josh Le Roux took a shock win on his GTC debut aboard his Chemical Logistics Audi S3. Le Roux simply kept out of trouble and picked up the pieces as the entire field ahead of him systematically decimated itself through two dramatic races.

The upshot of it all is that 2022 runner up and Kyalami first race winner Saood Variawa and his Gazoo Toyota Corolla hatchback arrive in the Cape leading a tightly stacked championship chase. Saood is just a few points clear of teammate and second race winner at Kyalami, Michael van Rooyen, who sits tied in second place alongside reigning double champion Robert Wolk’s Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla sedan GTC.

Variawa carries a warning into round 2 following a second heat clash at Kyalami. Wolk is hoping that his Corolla runs clean after an engine misfire troubled his first-round weekend. Van Rooyen is looking for two clean races in the Cape after a troubled first heat back at Kyalami. Rookie Le Roux sits a further point adrift in third place after his dream debut. He aims to be more competitive at Killarney as he comes to grips with his new charge.

Cape Town eyes will however all be on one GTC man on Saturday. 2021 SA Investchem Formula 1600 champion Andrew Rackstraw is another single point behind Le Roux in the chase. Now armed with his Sparco RDSA VW Golf GTC, the local hero is not only keen to show his true pace, which was thwarted by gearbox issues and then contact with Variawa last time out, but he’s also after that elusive maiden GTC win.

Another young man who thoroughly impressed at Kyalami, Polo Cup graduate and GTC rookie Nathi Msimanga qualified fourth before delivering an excellent podium third on his GTC debut aboard a third Gazoo Racing Corolla GTC. Nathi endured a second race to forget at the season opener, but he’s certainly laid down his marker and is very much one to watch at Killarney this weekend.

2023 is proving something of a watershed year for Global Touring Cars, which is expected to grow significantly with new cars, drivers and combinations preparing to join the class as the season progresses. The series suffered a blow when it lost two leading cars written off in a tragic road accident en route from a race last year. A third car was damaged at Kyalami and will take time to repair. All stakeholders are however working hard to ensure GTC rebuilds strongly in the coming months.

All that said, in spite of a limited grid at Kyalami, the racing was brilliant. Cape Town fans can expect another couple of high quality races this weekend. See you at Killarney!

Issued on behalf of Global Touring Cars

Photography by:  Andre Laubscher

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