Saood Variawa, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA’s (TGRSA) young gun in the Global Touring Cars (GTC) championship, extended his lead at the top of the standings, thanks to a power performance at the Aldo Scribante Race Circuit in Gqeberha this weekend. Variawa qualified his GR Corolla on pole position for the first race, and scored maximum points from there, by setting the fastest lap time in the race, and taking the win as well.
“Race one was nothing short of perfect for me,” said Variawa. “Things were quite heated at the start, but settled down once the field spread out a little. I’m very pleased to have set pole and the fastest lap time, in addition to winning the race.”
Teammate Michael van Rooyen, the Rustenburg Rocket, struggled to find pace during qualifying, and started in fourth place. Despite a valiant effort, he was unable to improve on that position during the race, and had to settle for fourth by the time the chequered flag was waved.
Nathi Msimanga, driving the final GR Corolla for TGRSA had a tough weekend. He had to sit out most of the Friday practice sessions due to an engine problem caused by overheating during the first stint of the day. This left him with very little track time, before qualifying. He managed only the seventh-fastest time, starting at the back of the GTC grid before out-braking himself and running into the back of a fellow competitor. This caused some damage to the front-left of his car, and the youngster had to settle for seventh in the end.
Race 2 saw the Top 6 from Race 1 start in reverse order, putting Variawa way down in sixth, with Van Rooyen in third for the start. Variawa had a blistering start, moving up from sixth to second before completing the first lap – a position that he maintained over the course of the twelve-lap race, despite pushing eventual race winner, Robert Wolk (privately-entered Toyota Corolla) all the way to the finish.
Van Rooyen lost track position after an opening lap altercation with a fellow competitor, dropping down to last place as a result. He clawed his way back through the field, eventually settling for third despite the early setback. Msimanga was unable to improve on his seventh place starting position, and will be looking forward to the next round in order to recreate the pace he showed earlier in the season.
Round 5 is up next, and is scheduled for 21 and 22 July, at the fearsome East London Grand Prix Circuit.