Toyota Gazoo Race Week 50: Formula 1 on the brink in wild Jeddah
Toyota Gazoo Racing Week 50 split fans around the world down the middle. The sensational first Arabian Grand Prix was controversial in Jeddah. Lewis Hamilton drew level with Max Verstappen in the 2021 World Championship with only the coming weekend’s Abu Dhabi GP left to race. Hamilton somehow persevered after the two clashed on several occasions. The twice red flagged race with too many safety cars to mention set the social media alight.
JEDDAH TRACK DRAWS UNIVERSAL CONDEMNATION
It was no better in Formula 2, where countless stoppages and safety car periods marred the weekend. Including an horrendous startline crash that sent Theo Pourchaire and Enzo Fittipaldi to hospital. Between the chaos, Marcus Armstrong avoided trouble to claim a maiden F2 win in the opening race. Aussie Oscar Piastri then kept his nose clean to take the second and shortened final races. He has a firm grip on the ’21 title amid universal condemnation of the new racetrack.
There wasn’t much other notable international action on an otherwise quiet week 50. Chaz Mostert, who has South African parents, and Lee Holdsworth closed off the Australian Supercar season. They took a a dominant swansong Bathurst 1000 win for Holden. They beat Cameron Waters and James Moffat’s Ford Mustang and Brodie Kostecki and David Russell’s Holden. The great Australian brand’s motorsport arm now joins Holden in extinction as Chevrolet takes up the GM reins down under.
Moving closer to home to regional action on two wheels. Kawasaki rider Mike Pentecost rounded of an incredible comeback season for his team. He won the Carletonville Gauteng Cross Country round to clinch that overall championship to add to his National OR1 title. He beat OR2 winner Ian Rall’s Husqvarna, OR1 second man D’artagnan Lobjoit’s Kawasaki. And OR3 top two, Davin Cocker’s Husqvarna and Taki Bogiages’s Kawasaki.
MORE CHAMPIONS, CANCELLATIONS IN WEEK 50
Rotax Max karting crowned its Gauteng champions at Zwartkops. Brandon Smith won to take the DD2 title. Carlo Gil held winner Philippe Chapat off to take Masters on a count back of wins. Champion Kian Grottis won Senior Max as KC Ensor Smith beat Junior champion Jayden Goosen to second. Caleb Odendaal won Mini in champion Wian Boshoff’s absence, Rafael Da Silva beat Micro Max champ Kegan Martin. And Brodi Dowling defeated Bambino champ Matthew Shuttleworth.
Earlier in the week, the Kyalami ICGT 9 Hour was postponened. The cancellation of its support races means Robert Wolk is the 2021 SA Global Touring Car Drivers champion. Toyota are Manufacturer’s champions. Bradley Liebenberg is 2021 SupaCup champion. The Volkswagen Polo Cup finale however shifted to this coming weekend’s Killarney Festival races. That champion will be decided on track.