Gazoo Toyota Racing Week Presents Your Motorsport Wrap for the Weekend
A busy racing weekend past saw a broad variety of international and local motorsport. It was highlighted by Toyota’s dominant 1-2 victory in its 100th World Endurance Championship start, while South African motorcyclists stared on and off the racetrack around the world. Here’s your weekend motorsport summary courtesy of Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa and Auto.
A Fine Century Celebration
Toyota celebrated that 100th World Endurance Championship start with a dominant victory at the Portimao 8 Hours on Sunday. Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley narrowly beat Gazoo Toyota GR010 Hybrid teammates Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez in the Portuguese race. The Toyota Hypercars used their hybrid advantage to best effect to beat the competitive Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere’s Alpine A480 by over a minute.
South African motorcyclists starred across the globe over the weekend. Botswana rider Ross Branch got his Dakar 2022 plans off to a brilliant start on Sunday when he rode his Yamaha home second in the final stage to win the 5-day Kazakhstan Rally 2021 motorcycle race overall from Mattias Walkner’s KTM and Yamaha teammate Adrien van Beveren. Dakar stage winner Branch won the first stage and was never out of the daily top 5 throughout the week as he retook an overall lead he would not relinquish on Friday’s third stage.
It was tears for car crew that led throughout. Frenchman Mattieu Serradori retired his SA-built Century after a suspension failure with 50 km to race on the final day, to leave the way open for Argentine Lucio Alvarez to take the win in his made in SA Toyota Hilux.
Supersport Superstar Odendaal
South Africa’s Steven Odendaal meanwhile continued to star in the World Supersport Championship in Italy. He fought to third on Saturday aboard his Yamaha but was docked 3 seconds after winning Sunday’s second race to drop to fifth. That handed Swiss fellow Yamaha rider Dominique Aegerter a double win for the weekend. Ducati’s Michael Ruben Rinaldi meanwhile beat Yamaha rider Toprak Razgatlioglu two World Superbike races to one as champion and title leader Jonathan Rea’s Kawasaki took the remaining podium spot each time. Young Darren Loureiro came from behind to take a fine fifth in the second 300 Superstock race.
And across the pond, SA riders also thoroughly impressed in the weekend’s Road America Moto America races. Cameron Petersen took a second and a third and Mathew Scholtz ended sixth and fifth in the weekend’s US Superbike races to provisionally leave in second and third in the title chase. Compatriot Sam Lockhof meanwhile ended second in the opening Supersport 600 race and ended fourth in the second heat.
In other major international results also in the US, Formula 1 refugee Marcus Ericsson became the fourth maiden winner in IndyCar this year when he benefited Will Power’s late retirement in Detroit on Saturday. Before Patricio O’Ward overcame a struggling Josef Newgarden to score his second win of the year, as Newgarden held Alex Palou and Colton Herta at bay for second. Also in Michigan, another F1 fugitive Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande’s Ganassi Cadillac took the IMSA Sportscar victory ahead of Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani’s similar car and Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque’s Wayne Taylor Acura.
Sticking with the ’States, Kyle Larson held Brad Keselowski off to take his fifth NASCAR Cup win of the season to scoop the $1 million All-Star prize at the Texas Motor Speedway Sunday evening. And back in the UK, four-time British Touring Car champion Colin Turkington scored his first victory of 2021 for BMW in the opening race of the second round at Snetterton. Reigning champion Ash Sutton came from 11th on the grid to take the second race for Infiniti. And Tom Ingram took Hyundai’s maiden BTCC victory in the finale.
Toyota Takes SA Rally Honours
In South African action this weekend, Theuns Joubert and Schalk van Heerden’s Toyota Yaris took a double win in the second and third legs of the SA Rally Championship at RallyStar’s Brakpan double header. Chris Coertse and Greg Godrich’s Hyundai was second both times after losing a close Friday win to a lateness penalty. R2 winners, young gun Jayden Els and Armand du Toit were third in a VW Polo and the Subarus of Johan Strauss and Elzaan Venter and Rinus Plomp and Johan Aucamp next up on Friday. AC Potgieter and Kesevan Naidoo’s R2 Polo was third from Strauss and Venter’s Subaru on Saturday.
Regional racing at Aldo Scribante in PE saw Deon Slabbert’s turbo Polo beat Class D winner Calvyn Ferreira’s Class D Golf and Kelsey Davidson in a Class C Polo in the EP Saloons. Shaun Gradwell took Class X in his BMW and Polo drivers Jeandre Marais and AMSC Academy lad Xolela Njumbuxa took Classes E and F. Gordon Bennett’s Opel Rekord beat Dinesh Coopoo’s BMW 2002 ti and Pat Fourie’s Maxima in the classic Coastal Challenge and Royce Griffin edged Syd Lippstreu in the Street Cars. On two wheels, Graigen Nel led Oliver McKay and Chad Bilsbury in a Kawasaki 1-2-3 and Dylan Grobler won both the junior CBR 150 and NSF 100 races.
Regional karting was at Killarney in the Cape, where the Rotax Max Challenge races saw Joseph Oelz dominate DD2, while Conor Hughes took Masters and Tate Bishop demolished the Senior Max pack. In the schoolboy classes Reza Levy took under-15 Junior Max, Joaquin de Oliveira under-13 Mini Max, Aiden Beaumont under-11 Micro Max and Michael Danks won the baby Bambinos. Sean le Riche took the Clubmans win and Reese Koorzen Mini Rok, while Kai van Rensburg and Luca Wehrli topped the sparsely supported Kid Rok and OKJ races.
Another big race weekend coming up!
This coming 18-20 racing weekend is another big one — The Toyota Gazoo Desert Race at Upington and Zwartkops’ annual Passion for Speed historic racing festival top the local attractions, there’s F1 in France, MotoGP in Germany, Formula E from Mexico and the new DTM starts at Monza. Add NASCAR from Nashville, Aussie V8s from Hidden Valley and Japanese Super GT out of Sugo. And it will all be right here waiting for you to read next Monday morning.