There is a big weekend in the offing for Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), which will host the third round of the 2021 Global Touring Cars (GTC) championship as well as the Volkswagen Polo Cup this weekend, at the Aldo Scribante Race Circuit.
Toyota is hoping for a good showing in GTC that will offer Michael van Rooyen the opportunity to extend his lead at the top of the championship standings.
“We head to Aldo with a lead of only one point over Robert Wolk (Toyota Corolla), so there’s a tight battle on at the moment,” says Van Rooyen.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Corolla driver has been embroiled in a chase for the title with Wolk since the opening race of the season, and the ding-dong battle is clearly set to continue in Gqeberha.
“We’ve done some more testing, and refined our car even further,” continues the Rustenburg Rocket, as Van Rooyen is also known. “To make things even more interesting, this weekend’s second race will be contested over a period of 30 minutes, which is always interesting.”
At the same time, Van Rooyen’s teammate, Mandla Mdakane, is looking forward to the weekend from a different perspective:
“We’ve been getting to grips with the new car as well as GTC racing in general, but I’ve gained a lot of confidence since the start of the season. I know the Aldo Scribante layout well, and I’m hoping for a strong result this weekend.”
Mdakane is currently in 5th place in the title chase, but with only 16 points separating him from the lead, and a gap of only four points to 4th place, the Johannesburg-based driver will be on the hunt for valuable points in Gqeberha.
It is also a big weekend for Volkswagen, which has its manufacuring home in nearby Kariega (Uitenhage) and Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport says: “We are big supporters of circuit racing in the country and we are excited about the prospect of seeing how the youngsters battle it out in one of the country’s most successful racing series.”
Unfortunately, the battle will once again be fought in front of empty grandstands as motor sport continues to run under a set of strict pandemic regulations.
If the previous round at Zwartkops is anything to go by, the Volkswagen Polo Cup should once again provide the highlights of the weekend. After three separate races at Zwartkops, less than a single second is all that separated Leyton Fourie and Arnold Neveling at the end of the day. As a result, Fourie’s name appears at the top of the points table, a mere 3 points ahead of Neveling. Round 1 winner Jurie Swart lurks in third, ahead of Natalian Clynton Bezuidenhout and Jayden Els.
The Volkswagen Polo Cup will however not be the only source of action on the day as several drivers in the SupaCup category of the Global Touring Car (GTC) series will aim to close the gap to the championship points leader.
Bradley Liebenberg was dominant in the opening round, but arch rival Jeffrey Kruger fought back with a win at Zwartkops. The result is a 8 point lead in Liebenberg’s favour. Volkswagen Motorsport’s Jonathan Mogotsi missed out on a maiden victory at Zwartkops and will be more than determined to make amends in Gqeberha. He is currently third in the championship with youngster Saood Variawa hot on his heels.