Verstappen wins again, Toyota takes another World Endurance Championship
The past Gazoo Toyota Racing Week 46 was an intriguing one. Max Verstappen dominated in Mexico to take charge of the F1 World Championship. And Toyota wrapped up a compelling first Hypercar Hybrid era World Endurance title with a fine 1-2 in Bahrain.
It was double delight for Toyota Gazoo Racing as Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway clinched the 2021 World Endurance Championship. They finished second to Toyota teammates Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley and Sebastien Buemi in the Bahrain 8 Hour. Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg and Charles Milesi’s Oreca won LMP2. But there was drama as Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado provisionally sealed a controversial title for Ferrari.
Attiyah Toyota ahead in Abu Dhabi
On totally different terrain not far away, Toyota continues to prepare for Dakar 2022. Nasser Al Attiyah and Mattieu Baumel leading the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge after the first day of racing. Aboard their proudly South African Gazoo Hilux in the desert. Botswana’s Ross Branch made it a Southern African opening day double with a stage win for Yamaha on the bikes. South African Aaron Mare ended 8th on a KTM.
Max Verstappen meanwhile put one hand on the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. He out-braked Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas into the first corner before going on to dominate the Mexican Grand Prix. Hamilton fought Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to end second after Bottas spun in that first turn.
Comeback King Kyle Larson scored his 10th win of the year to clinch NASCAR Cup title for Chevrolet at Phoenix. Sticking with tin-tops, Tomoki Nojiri and Nirei Fukuzumi’s Honda took All Japan GT honours. After the third placed Hiramine-Matsushita Nissan ran out of fuel. And Shane van Gisbergen’s Holden won the first Aussie Supercar race, run under lights at Sydney. Anton De Pasquale took a strategic race 2 in his Mustang and Jamie Whincup’s Holden won a wild wet final.
Bagnaia wraps it up for Ducati
Moving over to two wheels on Week 46 and the Algarve MotoGP, Francesco Bagnaia clinched the constructors’ championship for Ducati. He won the red-flagged race from Joan Mir’s Suzuki and Jack Miller’s Ducati. Brad Binder was best of the KTMs in tenth. Remy Gardner closed in on the Moto2 world title with a win over title rival Raul Fernandez. And rookie Pedro Acosta clinched the 2021 Moto3 title with a win. After leader Dennis Foggia was eliminated in a late clash with Darryn Binder.
Back in SA in regional racing action, Eden Thompson took his fourth consecutive overall GTi Challenge and his sixth Class B title on the trot. In a thrilling season finale 1 Hour endurance race at Killarney on Saturday. The championship duel went down to the last lap. Thompson beat Class A champion, Jurie Swart’s Alpine Autohaus to second overall. Class C champion Kyle Wiltshire’s Golf 1 GTi was ultimately third in the title chase.
Jason Coetzee and Nian du Toit’s Polo passed Swart and Goslett to win late in the 1 hour to win. Du Toit also won Thunder Saloons in his BMW. And the Supercar races behind the V8 Masters won by Sean Moore. Sander Le Bon took V8 Silver honours. Steve Humble’s Pilbeam won Sports & GT from Gary Kieswetter’s Porsche and Mike Verrier’s Shelby. Byron Mitchell’s FVW was unstoppable in Libre. BMW men Ederees Achmat beat Cody Alberts and Jess Huggett in Clubmans.
Classic WEEK 46 action at Killarney
Franco Donadio’s Escort took the Week 46 Killarney Classic races. From Eric van der Merwe’s Porsche 924 and Trevor Momberg’s Capri. On two wheels, David Mcfadden beat Jacques Ackermann to a Kawasaki 1-2 with J-P Friederich in pursuit. Deon Ebel’s Honda won the Breakfast Run class from Danie Maritz. And Slade van Niekerk took Powersport honours on his Kawasaki.
An encouraging field delivered sizzling Gauteng Rotax Max karting action at Formula K in Benoni on Saturday. Wayland Wyman was the DD2 winner as Tinahe Ncube took Masters. Kian Grottis won the day in Senior Max and Jayden took Junior Max honours. Wian Boshoff won in Mini Max and Kegan Martin was unstoppable in Micro Max. Brodi Dowling had a perfect day in baby Bambinos. David Hollis won in FK Shifters.
An East London regional rounded off the Week 46 action. Darron Gudmanz’ Nissan GT-R, Chris Farley’s BMW and Steve Clarke’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evo shared out the Border Modified wins. Mike Forsyth’s Backdraft Cobra was unstoppable in Historics on a fun day at the Grand Prix circuit.