29 July 2019, Pretoria. Round 5 of the Global Touring Car Championship (GTC) returned, for the second time this year, to Zwartkops Raceway, the home base for most of the competing teams. Simon Moss arrived and left as championship leader, adding a sixth win to his campaign, combined with a pole position and fastest lap finish.
The All Power Audi team’s approach was slightly different on Friday’s practice session (26th July), compared to the usual strategy. Instead of “going fast out of the blocks”, the Audi duo that is Simon Moss and Tschops Sipuka, focused on race trim and ensured that unnecessary risks were avoided. Moreover, the Eastern Cape teammates stuck to old tyres to preserve fresh rubber for race day. Regardless of the strategy, Moss made the competition look poor when he consistently finished in the top three. The Transkei Tornado, as he is fondly referred to, Tschops Sipuka, was straight seventh throughout the entire day.
After a trouble-free Friday, the team returned to the 2.1 kilometre Pretoria track on Saturday (27th July) morning for an extra warm-up session. The All Power Audi team stuck to their guns and remained on the same strategy. When the first important session of the weekend – qualifying – commenced, Moss without hesitation, put his Audi S3 GTC on pole position. Much to the frustration of his competition, who were expecting a slight “off-pace” Moss for the weekend. Tschops maintained his pace and qualified in seventh.
Race one was a textbook example of race control by Simon Moss. While the starting grid entertained the crowd, Moss stayed in his Audi S3 GTC to make the final set-up adjustments, with the additional benefit of shade from the striking winter sun. When the lights turned green, Moss had a clean start and took the lead, while multiple incidents occurred behind him. After the first turn, Moss took control over the race and with the fastest lap, he crossed the finish line in first to claim his sixth victory of the season. With his win, Simon extended his championship lead from 7 to 10 points over his closest rival from Volkswagen, Keagan Masters.
The reversed grid second race was going to be a challenge for Moss, who was last on the grid. Sipuka, on the other hand, lined up in third and had his eye on the prize. But, his dreams were short-lived when was pushed off, once again, at the fastest part of the track in the opening lap. Miraculously, Sipuka avoided big damages to his vehicle and continued his race, unfortunately well out of contention for a podium.
Moss, in the meantime, had settled in the sixth position right behind Keagan Masters. “I was struggling with my tyres throughout the race and I was happy to hold on to my position”, Moss elaborated after the finish flag dropped.
“All in all it has been a good weekend for our team” Terry Moss, All Power Audi’s team manager, explained after the race. “Simon’s maturity did the job this weekend and he increased his championship lead to 8 points with three races left on the calendar. He executed our plan perfectly, and at this stage of the season, this is what we have to do. It’s sad that Tschops’ aim at the podium was interrupted, once again, after being pushed off from the second position. However, it was beyond his control and his time will come this season. Watch this space.”
Round 6 of the 2019 GTC Championship will take place on 31 August at the East London Grand Prix Circuit.
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) July 29, 2019