An unlikely champion emerges from an astounding racing week 41
Valterri Bottas’ dominant Mercedes Turkish Grand Prix victory over Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes to see Verstappen slip back ahead of Hamilton in the title chase may have been a gripping race. But it had nothing on what went down at the highlight of Toyota Gazoo Race Week 41. Norisring’s DTM German Touring Car finale proved a fairytale epic.
Götz steals a dramatic DTM crown
Mercedes-AMG GT driver Maximilian Götz pulled off an incredible come from behind championship by winning both races. In a dramatic DTM climax, Götz dominated Saturday’s penultimate race to keep his vague championship chances alive. The weekend that proved action packed from the very first turn. Third placed Kiwi Liam Lawson extended his points advantage over fourth placed South African, Kelvin van der Linde.
Lawson somehow escaped a Saturday penalty for spinning Mercedes driver Philip Ellis. But van der Linde overcame a five-second penalty for tapping Lawson in the first turn. Lawson and van der Linde again started from pole and second on Sunday. And the pair clashed again after a bold move by van der Linde. Lawson’s Ferrari damaged its steering and fell behind, as van der Linde took another 5 second penalty.
Van der Linde then emerged ahead of Götz, but they then clashed. Götz tried to find a way past, causing van der Linde to pit to change a punctured tyre. That left Mercedes running 1-2-3-4 with Götz third. Team orders however soon inverted the top three to allow Götz to win and steal the title. He beat the dejected Lawson by a single point. In spite of his compatriot and Ferrari teammate Nick Cassidy’s late kamikaze efforts to scuttle the Mercedes ship.
NASCAR, WRX, BTCC, SA Rally & more
It was also chaotic across the pond at Charlotte Roval. Kyle Larson’s team did a masterful job keeping his ailing Chevrolet running to win the NASCAR playoff. The team changed batteries until it found the time to replace an alternator bel. Larson then avoided the chaos that ensured to pass Denny Hamlin on a restart and held off Tyler Reddick off for the win. Hamlin now leads Larson and Joey Logano in the palyoffs.
Elsewhere, Johan Kristoffersson came from behind to win the Belgian World Rallycross at Spa. And in the UK, Gordon Shedden’s Honda won the opening British Touring Cars race at Donington. Tom Ingram then came from behind to take race 2 for Hyundai, but was penalised, promoting Shedden to the win. Colin Turkington’s BMW dominated the final. Also at Donington, SA youngster Aqil Alibhai survived a crunching weekend to score a 9th, 13th and 17th in Ginetta Junior.
Closer to home in Gazoo Race Week 41, Theuns Joubert and Scalk van Heerden and Gazoo Racing crew Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle’s Toyota Aurises shared out the wins and seconds in the fifth and sixth South African Rally rounds at a muddy Lake Umuzi. AC Potgieter and Rikus Fourie and young Jayden Els and Armand du Toit’s VW Polos also shared the top podium steps in NRC2. And Edward and Larine Strydom’s Toyota Tazz won NRC4.
The Gqeberha Challenge
Meanwhile at Gqeberha, Charl Arangies’ Lamborghini Huracan took a dominant triple G&H Extreme Supercars victory at the Aldo Scribante. He beat Cape lad Dayne Angel’s Porsche 911 GT2 in the opening heats with Kris Budnik and Paulo Loureiro sharing the thirds, while Loureiro was second from Benjamin Morgenrood’s Lexus in the final. Ricardo meanwhile beat Gianni to Balance of Performance GT3 class honours in the battle of the Giannoccaro Lamborghinis.
Also at Aldo Scribante’s away Extreme Festival, Dawie van der Merwe took VW Challenge from Wayne Masters and Cape Town visitor Marco Busi to the Pozidrive VW Challenge. Stiaan Kriel beat Leyton Fourie in Class B and Pierluigi Muzzilini took Class C. Robert Neill’s Ford Focus beat Mark Du Toit and George Economides to Car Care Clinic 111 honours. And Lendl Jansen won Formula Vee from Gert van den Berg and Brandon Hills.
A wet Killarney WP Rotax Max regional karting meeting dried out for some quick Week 41 action. SA champion Joseph Oelz fought damp opening race winner Jason Coetzee off two races to one to take DD2 and Conor Hughes won Masters. Kyle le Riche edged Storm Lanfear two Senior Max races to one, Reza Levy ran away in Junior Max, Joaquin de Oliveira dominated Mini. And Keagan Beaumont Micro Max, while Michael O’Mahoney won a tight Bambino encounter.