What a dramatic final 2021 Toyota Gazoo Racing Week 51!
The entire 2021 racing season came to an incredible head when Max Verstappen stole a dramatic if fortuitous last lap Formula 1 world championship victory for Red Bull Honda in a seismic Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Dutchman controversially grabbed the race win and the title from long-time leader Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in a wild, rushed restart. Mercedes took the makers title from Red Bull as third placed Carlos Sainz clinched third for Ferrari.
Piastri wraps up F2 title
Also at Abu Dhabi, rookie Oscar Piastri wrapped up the Formula 2 title. With third in an opening sprint race won by Jehan Daruvala. F1-bound Guanyu Zhou took his fourth win of the season from Robert Shwartzman in an incident-filled second race. Piastri then ended his season in style with another victory in the final. Despite taking a unique Formula 4, 3 and 2 title triple, Piastri could not crack an F1 nod for 2022.
In the only other real Week 51 international racing action, Toyota Gazoo Racing star Nasser Al Attiyah wrapped up his fifth FIA Cross Country Rally World Championship when he won the Hail Rally. Nasser and notes man Matthieu Baumel took a comfortable victory aboard their Proudly South African Hilux. As they completed their race training for Dakar 2022. Starting of course in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on New Year’s Day.
Closer to home, local hero Jurie Swart never put a foot wrong to dominate both Killarney’s bruising adopted Polo Cup Final races in his Alpine Autohaus machine. That was not enough to prevent Universal driver Leyton Fourie from clinching the ’21 title. Jurie Swart beat Tasmin Pepper’s Puma and Tate Bishop’s Angri cars, King Price kid Jayden Els. Universal trio Clinton Bezuidenhout, Fourie and Dawie van der Merwe, and Stradale racer Arnold Neveling in race 1.
Swart wins, Fourie is Polo Cup Champion
Swart then did a compelling double in heat 2. He beat Nathi Msimanga’s Squadra Corse machine, while Charl Visser shielded Fourie from Neveling, Els, Pepper and Giordano Lupini’s Bullion IT machine in race 2. That allowed Fourie to take the title by all of three championship points. Swart won eight races through the season to Fourie’s six.
Arnold Neveling and Charl Arangies’ Stradale Lamborghini later took a dominant 14 lap Killarney 9 Hour SA Endurance victory from Gavin Cronje, Bradley Scorer and Michael Pitamber’s Ferrari, Henk and Heinrich Lategan and Verissimo Tavares’s Porsche and Jaki Scheckter, Hennie Groenewald and Sarel van der Merwe’s Ginetta. Fifth placed Franco Scribante and Jason Campos’ tin-top winning VW Polo SupaCup wrapped up the 21 SA Endurance title.
Those races were part of the splendid end of season Killarney G+A Motorsport Festival. Willie Hepburn’s Opel Rekord and Rudolf de Vos’ Little Chevy Can Am V8s shared the faster classic saloon car wins. As Chris Champion’s MGA and Jaco Lambert each won a smaller saloons class race. Steve Humble’s wieldy Mallock beat de Vos’ rumbling Can Am in the classic sportscar races. And Byron Mitchell’s Vee did the single seater double ahead for Graham Knight’s Ray.
SA’s oldest race closes the ’21 season
And in the oldest race in South Africa, Chris Farley’s BMW led Allan Spies’ Lotus 7, BMW men Brady Choudree, Manfred Schroder and Mornay Swanepoel and Eli Vergara’s Golf to victory in the annual East London Grand Prix Circuit Border 100. Jayson Lamb beat Yamaha duo Michael Smal and Bradley Rehse to the motorcycle 100 and Mike Forsyth’s Backdraft Cobra took the Border Historics win from Wayne Botha’s Escort and Brendan Smith’s BMW 635i.
That also ends a fine South African and international 2021 motorsport season. Week 51 brings the final Toyota Gazoo Racing Week to a close too. It all gets going again with the Dakar from January. Bring it on!