What Global Touring Cars Final Round 7 Report
Where Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria
When Saturday 14 October 2023
Community South Africa National
Robert & team face frustrating GTC champion delay
Chemical Logistics Racing emerged bewildered from a chaotic Zwartkops Global Touring Car Extreme Festival finale which failed to crown a champion on Saturday. Nobody yet knows whether double reigning GTC champion Robert Wolk, or his Gazoo Toyota rival Saood Variawa took the title in a mad Pretoria weekend that saw the results perpetually change. It was ultimately however unsolved previous wranglings that caused Saturday’s commotion.
In an opening race that saw the championship rivals clash on the first lap before the race leaders did the same a lap from home, Chemical Logistics Racing’s Julian van der Watt was first to take the flag. But it was his satellite teammate Andrew Rackstraw who picked up the pieces to be declared the winner after both Wolk and Van der Watt incurred penalties.
The second heat was a far more straightforward affair, although the three Gazoo Toyotas that started at the front of the reversed grid ran interference as Wolk, van der Watt and Rackstraw followed to deliver a result that should have served as an epic decider with likely less than a handful of points separating the two title rivals. Instead, it was not possible to declare the champion as outstanding wranglings left more points on the courtroom table, than those separating Wolk and Variawa. So an MSA courtroom must still decide who will carry the Global Touring Car number 1 plate in 2024.
All of which left Robert Wolk frustrated: “That was a tough weekend all round,” the still double reigning GTC champion shrugged. “We must wait and see what a Court of Enquiry decides before we can either celebrate a third championship or congratulate Saood and the Gazoo boys on a hard fought title. “It certainly was hard fought and a pity that we must wait, but I salute my Chemical Logistics team on the huge effort they put in every step of the way. My BMW M128ti GTC was spot on throughout the weekend as my pole and fastest lap proved. Those two bonus points could well prove fundamental once all is said and done.”
Satellite Lee Thompson Racing teammate, Andrew Rackstraw was as surprised as any to emerge winner of the day after picking up that first race win in his LTR Sparco Volkswagen Golf GTC. “We have had our fair share of shocking luck through the season, but today it went the right way for once and I certainly picked up all the pieces for a welcome first away GTC victory!” Cape lad Andrew admitted. Both Rackstraw’s previous GTC wins came at home at Killarney. “Thanks to Lee and the team for a great effort all season.”
Crossing the line first in the opening heat culminated a meteoric comeback for Julian van der Watt in his Chemical Logistics Corolla. Julian missed the first two rounds of the year after his horrific Kyalami crash, but his meteoric return from injury has been a talking point of the season. “Crossing the line first today completed a long, hard trek, so I’d rather concentrate on that this weekend,” Julian smiled. “Thanks to the team for all the support and effort throughout his arduous journey.”
If his Chemical Logistics Racing teammates had tough weekends, it was even harder for junior teammate and GTC rookie Josh Le Roux, who was forced to park his Master Stairs Investchem Audi S3 after qualifying issues. “I suppose all I can do is look back on the highs and lows of a season where I learned so much,” Joshua reflected. “I even won a race, among so many highlights, so I must thank my team for making all that possible.”
“Well, that’s not how we wanted to end our championship year!” Chemical Logistics Racing’s WCT Engineering team boss Stuart Thompson shrugged. “We’d far rather know who the champion is, be that Robbie or Saood, than all of us be left hanging like this. But I also need to commend the whole team, from our drivers Rob, Julian, Josh and Andrew, and every other member who contributed to an epic season, well done all of you!”
“Pity that we must wait to see who the champion is, but that’s another Global Touring Car season done and dusted,” Chemical Logistics Racing team boss Ian Schofield concluded. “If Saood emerges champion, congratulations young man, and to the Gazoo Toyota team. If Robert has won, well done to our entire team on a great effort throughout a trying season. Good job guys!”
Issued on behalf of Chemical Logistics GTC
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