Verstappen, Lategan & Swanepoel on Top in Gazoo Racing Week 12
While Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix duel will dominate the weekend’s motorsport headlines, there was also great racing back home and elsewhere around the world in Toyota Gazoo Racing Week 12 of 2022.
GAZOO HILUXES DOMINATE DULLSTROOM
The biggest local action was on two fronts off-road, in the Mpumalanga 400 opening round of the newly re-named SA Rally-Raid Championship at Dullstroom, and the second round of the Trademore SA Cross Country Motorcycle Championship at Dalton in KZN. Starting at a rough, tough, muddy and rocky Dullstroom, the results may defy the conditions, but it was a familiar outcome up front as Toyota Gazoo Racing ruled the roost when the chequered flag finally flew.
SA Production champions Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings Gazoo Hilux took the first ever SA T1+ class win. They beat Hennie de Klerk and Adriaan Roets’ TreasuryOne Amarok in the time trial, before trotting off to a Hilux 1-2-3 from Gazoo teammates Shameer Variawa and Danie Stassen, and T1 Class winners Eben Basson and Leander Pienaar. Wors Prinsloo and André Vermeulen’s Ranger won Class T, Ernest Roberts and Henry Köhne’s Century won the Specials and Werner and Ian Mostert’s Can Am took lightweight Class G.
Moving on to Dalton, home hero Brett Swanepoel’s Husqvarna took the Cross Country win from 350 cc OR2 rival Scott Heygate and Open OR1 trio, Mike Pentecost’s Franchise Co. Kawasaki, Hayden Louw’s Yamaha, Gas Gas man Travis Teasedale and William Slater on a KTM. Davin Cocker took the OR3 win for Husqvarna, Kawasaki men, Kenny Gilbert won Seniors and Mielies Le Roux Masters, Luke Walker took High School 125cc on a KTM and Husqvarna lads Brandon Clarke took the 85cc and GJ Coetzee the 65cc Junior wins.
ZWARTKOPS’ EXTREME THRILLS
2022’s Regional Extreme season kicked off at Zwartkops. Rookie Hannes Scheepers dominated his first ever race in Pabar VW Challenge Class B. Francois van Zyl won race 2, Rory Atkinson took both separate A wins, where Pierluigi Muzzulini won Class C. Greg Wilson won Formula Vee, Jeffrey Kruger and Thomas Falkiner thrilled in Lotus Challenge. Karel Stolts’ Civic took Car Care Superhatch and Louis Scholtz’s Golf 111s. Deon du Plessis’ KTM won the Sportscar races, Marius Jacobs’ Tigra took Silvercup and Louis Cloete’s Beetle Clubmans.
Getting back to that Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Verstappen’s epic win over Leclerc points to another thrilling F1 season ahead. Sergio Perez’ Red Bull took pole over the Ferraris before leading the way. Until he stopped just before a safety car, which handed the lead to Leclerc from Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. Champion Verstappen and Leclerc raced furiously. Until the world champion took charge with two laps to race, to beat Leclerc by 0.5 seconds. Sainz was third from Perez, George Russell’s Mercedes and Alpine survivor Esteban Ocon.
Also in Saudi Arabia, Liam Lawson won a chaotic Week 12 Formula 2 sprint race. From Jüri Vips and Felipe Drugovich, after Jake Hughes was excluded from third. Drugovich took a dominant feature race win from Richard Verschoor Jehan Daruvala to grab the championship lead. Moving across to Austin, Texas, Ross Chastain took his first NASCAR Cup win in the Texas left-right race. From Alex Bowman and Christopher Bell. And down under, Shane van Gisbergen’s Holden won all three Symmons Plains Aussie V8 Supercar wins.