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Sasol GTC Championship revved up for penultimate round at Killarney Raceway

2018-09-18 08:45
Charl Smalberger - GTC2 - Q20 Volkswagen Golf GTi

Image: Charl Smalberger - GTC2 - Q20 Volkswagen Golf GTi

The eighth and penultimate round of the Sasol GTC Championship set to take place at Killarney sees the battle for the 2018 title continue unabated between the three-season-long rivals: Michael Stephen, Gennaro Bonafede and Simon Moss.

The trio has earned ten victories from the 14 races held so far with another 15 podium results to their combined credit.

All roads lead to Killarney

With 80 points still available from the last two rounds, the racing will be as fierce as ever and the only guaranteed winner will be the enthusiastic Cape Town fans who witness the door-handle-to-door-handle racing.

READ: SA GTC championship: Battle continues ahead of Zwartkops race

Michael Stephen has the relative luxury of a 16 point lead, allowing the Engen Audi GTC driver to pick his fights with care, while second-placed Bonafede has to go all out to fend off both Stephen and his Audi team-mate, Simon Moss, who is nine points adrift of the Sasol BMW racer.

Potential winners for the Cape Town races are triple race winner, Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta GTC) and the local hero Johan Fourie (EPS Couriers BMW GTC), who triumphed in East London. Rowe claimed his maiden win in Cape Town back in April and would love to put on another race-winning performance.

Fierce competition

Seasoned racer, Robert Wolk, hopes to power his Sasol BMW GTC to victory before the season runs out, although he may have to put his own ambitions on hold to support Bonafede’s title challenge.

Mathew Hodges - Volkswagen Jetta GTC

                                                          Image: Mathew Hodges - Volkswagen Jetta GTC

Another driver anxious to stand on the top step of the podium is Mathew Hodges in the second Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta GTC. Hodges has endured a hard season to date, with a single podium result for his efforts, but remain confident to turn his fortunes around.  

Privateer Michael van Rooyen (RSC BMW GTC) raced to three podiums in the first four rounds of the season but has gone off the boil since mid-year. Although ultra-quick, he has been unlucky in the races, slipping to sixth position on the points table. 

GTC2

The championship for two-wheel drive hot-hatches is a little more clear-cut but no less exciting with the defending champion, Keagan Masters, 18 points clear of his closest challengers.

Gennaro Bonafede - Sasol BMW GTC

                                                             Image: Gennaro Bonafede - Sasol BMW GTC

The teenager has won eight races and banked three runner-up positions this season in his Volkswagen Advanced Driving Golf GTi. Two non-finishes, both at Kyalami, dented his points haul ahead of the run to the final chequered flag of the year.

Competition for places

The Signature Motorsport Mini John Cooper Works pair of Devin Robertson (Champion Mini) and Brad Liebenberg (Ferodo Mini) is embroiled in a thrilling fight for second place in the GTC2 championship. Six-race wins and 11 podiums sees the duo extremely evenly matched and separated by just two points on the log.

Charl Smalberger - GTC2 - Q20 Volkswagen Golf GTi

                                                          Image: Charl Smalberger - GTC2 - Q20 Volkswagen Golf GTi

Trevor Bland (Universal Healthcare Volkswagen Golf GTi) has racked up points consistently throughout the season to secure fourth place but is coming under pressure from the ever-improving Adrian Wood (Kyocera VW Golf GTi). Wood has banked three second-place finishes in the last four races with more to come based on his current form.

Charl Smalberger (Q20 VW Golf GTi) and Capetonian Dayne Angel (Angel Autohaus Honda Civic Type-R) hold sixth and seventh places in the points rankings. Bob Neill (Delmon Mining Ford Focus ST) and Paul Hill (Kalex VW Golf GTi) round out the field of GTC2 competitors.

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