Wolk, Stephen in SATC 1-2, van der Watt takes feature race

Chemical Logistics Racing made the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit its own on Saturday as Double South African Touring Cars champion Robert Wolk led Michael Stephen to a team BMW 1-2. Julian van der Watt meanwhile scored a poignant feature race victory in this Investchem Volkswagen. In so doing Wolk consolidated his 2024 championship lead on a weekend where his substitute wingman Stephen starred, and van der Watt closed off his own, dramatic Kyalami story.

Robert Wolk qualified his Chemical Logistics BMW 128TC on pole position before bringing it home second in both races. But it was not that simple. Robert’s BMW suffered a suspension failure on a subsequent hot lap and slammed into the Kyalami retaining wall. The team then put in an all-nighter to repair the significantly damaged machine, which was duly ready in time to take its pole position. 

“Friday’s off was a huge scare as for a bit we did not know if we’d have the car ready in time,” Robert confessed. “The team however did a brilliant job, not only to repair it to a raceworthy condition, but to also ensure it was back on rails, as always on Saturday. I have every one of the guys to thank for that great effort. Unfortunately Julian had something special for breakfast and despite our best efforts, neither Stephen nor I could keep him at bay, but we’re all so happy for Julian after his ordeal here last year.

“Second behind Julian in race 1, duct tape and all, meant a good points haul over my rivals, but that also gifted me fifth on the reverse second race grid. I was able to make quick progress to catch Saood Variawa, who had started from pole, but I could not find a clean way around him so decided that discretion was the better part of valour and settled for second. We still won the day and extended our championship lead even further, so it was a very good weekend after all. Thanks to Ian, Stuart, and the guys for an incredible car. Now to keep progressing!”

Kyalami was no ordinary race weekend for Julian van der Watt either. The Capetonian suffered a horrendous accident in practice for the 2023 Kyalami race and ended up in serious condition in hospital. He took six months to recuperate, before returning to the wheel at. Saturday was his Kyalami first race since his accident. “Well, that closes that chapter, doesn’t it?” Julian smiled. “My Investchem Volkswagen Golf GTI TC was on rails all weekend and it was a proper thrill to catch and pass two multiple champions to win! The second race can go to File X, but we’ll take that first race win with both hands.”

Michael Stephen clearly enjoyed every second of his return to the championship he won four times in its previous Global Touring Cars guise. Stephen substituted for the absent Andy Schofield in the second, FlySafair Chemical Logistics BMW 128TC at Kyalami. “All I can say is a huge word of thanks to Ian Schofield, Stuart Thompson and the rest of the team including Rob and Julian for an incredible weekend. These cars have improved so much since I last raced one. It was great to be competitive and score some solid results.”

“We have had a pretty good run with two, maybe three championship wins over the past three seasons, but so far, 2024 has started as our best South African Touring Cars season yet,” Chemical Logistics team manager and WCT Engineering chief Stuart Thompson pondered. “The trouble with that is, like Friday evening’s curve ball so well proved, there are so many anecdotes to be aware about successfully continuing a good winning streak. All I can add is a huge word of congratulations to our drivers, crew, and the entire team for another mega effort this weekend. Let’s keep this up, guys!”

“I’d say that Stuart has summed it all up pretty well,” Chemical Logistics Racing team boss Ian Schofield concluded. “Kyalami was another special result, but now the biggest challenge is to keep the momentum going. Rest assured, we will all be doing our utmost to do just that. Zwartkops next race is already a very different challenge on 18 May. See you there!”


Issued on behalf of Chemical Logistics Racing

What:Chemical Logistics Kyalami Report
Where:Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit
When:Saturday 13 April 2024
Community:South Africa National

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