Local racing on hold as the focus shifts to overseas motorsport
With no motorsport to speak of in South Africa over the past weekend following recent enhanced lockdown measures that saw the various national meetings scheduled for Saturday postponed until further notice, this Toyota Gazoo Racing Week focus is squarely on overseas motorsport. It was also a quiet one with a few SA racers gracing podiums, leaving the spotlight squarely on top level motorsport.
TOYOTA AHEAD AMID SA DELAYS
One of the SA national events delayed was the national motocross at Legends, while the East London Grand Prix Circuit’s Extreme Festival was also shuffled along. Interestingly, the GTC races there were among the four series where Toyota Gazoo Racing’s main focus lies this year. Impressively enough Toyota Gazoo teams are leading both the World Rally and World Endurance chases, while it’s a Toyota 1-2 in both the SA National GTC and FIA Cross Country series too.
Getting back to the past weekend’s racing, both Kelvin van der Linde and David Perel flew the South African flag on GT racing podiums in Italy. Kelvin scored a couple of thirds for WRT Audi at the Fanatec races at Misano and David made it three SA podiums with a third for Kessel Ferrari at the Italian GT round at Mugello. And also in Italy but on two wheels, youngster KJ Monkonyane acquitted himself well with 19th on his Italian Moto3 debut at Imola.
The rest of the news was around the major motorsport events, starting at the Red Bull Ring where Max Verstappen was untouchable in a weekend where most drivers incurred the wrath of the race stewards. Dutchman Verstappen powered away from pole position to a lights to flag victory for home team Red Bull Honda from Valterri Bottas’ Mercedes and Lando Norris’ McLaren after fourth placed Lewis Hamilton slowed from fourth with aero issues.
NEWGARDEN BACK IN PERFECT TIME
Moving over the pond, Josef Newgarden finally shook off his bad luck of late at the perfect time to end his and Penske Chevrolet’s victory drought at Mid Ohio on the 50th anniversary of the team’s maiden Indycar. He held a charging Marcus Ericsson off. And in Nascar, Chase Elliott won the first NASCAR Cup race at Road America in 65 years as he drove his Chevrolet to his seventh left-right victory out of 12 races from Toyota duo Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch. Toyota driver Denny Hamlin meanwhile leads the Cup Chase by just two points from Kyle Larson.
While nationals remain on hold, South African racing returns this coming weekend with regionals at both Killarney in Cape Town and Aldo Scribante in Port Elizabeth.