|What||Global Touring Cars Round 7 Report|
|Where||Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria|
|When||Saturday 23 October 2021|
|Community||South Africa National|
Chemical Logistics wins against the odds in Pretoria
Chemical Logistics Racing enjoyed an excellent weekend at one of its toughest Global Touring Car season challenges at Zwartkops on Saturday. Championship leader Robert Wolk won overall to extend his title advantage aboard his Chemical Logistics Corolla at the team's rivals’ home track as Scott Temple consolidated his title third in the second Chemical Logistics Corolla and Julian van der Watt placed a crucial role in his Autozone Focus.
Lee Thompson emerged on a surprise pole position to some in the Universal Racing BMW M220i GTC. But those who know the Zwartkops expert would have expected a strong home effort. Wolk was lined up alongside him on the grid, three tenths of a second adrift, with Temple third ahead of championship Michael van Rooyen’s Gazoo Toyota Corolla GTC and van der Watt between van Rooyen and his Gazoo teammate Mandla Mdakane. Just four tenths split those four.
Wolk got the drop on Thompson at the start and closed the door into turn 2. A nudge dislodged the Corolla’s rear bumper, but Wolk was gone as the race soon settled into a rhythm. Wolk led Thompson, Temple, van Rooyen, van der Watt and Mdakane. The enthusiastic returned Zwartkops crowd may have expected van Rooyen to attack, but instead it was van der Watt who made the move on Michael to drop his teammate Wolk’s title rival to fifth.
Michael van Rooyen however rapidly moved ahead of teammate Mdakane to lead the reverse grid race 2 but Robert Wolk was just as quickly past Thompson, van der Watt and Temple before the end of the first tour. He then disposed of Mandla and settled for second as van Rooyen cleared off. It took Thompson, van der Watt and Temple a few more laps to find a way past Mdkane, before Thompson put one over van der Watt and mid distance to claim fourth behind Temple.
The upshot of all that, is that Robert Wolk has added a further seven points to his already 10 point title advantage to head to the 3-4 December Kyalami finale with a 17 point GTC championship advantage, subject to MSA ratification. Lee Thompson took the lion’s share of the weekend’s bonus points with pole position and the race 1 fastest lap while Scott Temple was quickest in race 2 to close their title duel for third down to just four points with van der Watt close behind.
“Today went pretty much our way,” Robert Wolk confirmed. “We had a great quali, even if Lee really was on fire so I knew I had it all to do off the line. "I made it work and from there it was just flat out to the flag and another crucial win. “Best of all was that Julian was able to find a way past Michael and make it stick so that meant I was able to take ten points out of Michael in the championship chase in heat 1.
“We knew Michael would get ahead off the front row of the reverse grid second heat, so I had to get to second to minimise his points fight-back. “I was most of the way there by lap 2 and then managed to pass Mandla pretty smartly too. “This is a team game and we are all in it together. “So huge thanks to Julian and Scott, Stuart Thompson and the WCT team and my boss Ian Schofield. “We're 17 points ahead, but there are 43 on the table at Kyalami. “We still have it all to do!”
“We had a brilliant day at the races today,” Scott Temple admitted. “I managed a double podium with a couple of thirds, so the Chemical Logistics Corollas were pretty well on it today and it was a special weekend for the team. “I also scored a bonus point with the fastest lap in the second heat, but Lee was also very quick and managed to close up a couple of points in our fight for that title third. “So it’s all going down to the wire at Kyalami — that should be an awesome weekend!”
Julian van der Watt also played a key team role in a crucial race weekend in his Autozone Ford Focus. “My second race fourth place was an important one!” Julian pointed out. “Not just for the team, but it was a clean move to pass Michael and just so satisfying to beat him on track this time around! “We are still very much in the title fight for third and close enough behind Lee and Scott to make Kyalami all that much more worth the while in December. “Bring it on!”
“We came to Zwartkops with a few objectives that may have been bold, considering that this is all our championship rivals’ home track,” WCT Engineering team manager Stuart Thompson explained. “So to pull all of those off en main, is a pretty strong testament to our entire team! “Kyalami is our home track though, so now we need to be sure that they don’t return the compliment. “But hats off to the lads today — that was superb!”
“This year’s Global Touring Car championship is proving very good for us,” Chemical Logistics team boss Ian Schofield admitted. “We've maintained and grown our title advantage throughout the season against some wily competition and now there’s just one weekend left to race. “Congratulations to every one of our team from Scott and Julian, to Stuart and the lads. “And not least of all out title fighter Robert. “Now we must keep focus on the prize — we're almost there, guys!"
Issued on behalf of Chemical Logistics GTC
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