TOYOTA GAZOO RACING SA’S LATEGAN/CUMMINGS WIN THIRD CONSECUTIVE PRODUCTION TITLE
- 1st Overall for Lategan/Cummings
- 3rd Overall for Variawa/Stassen
- Al-Attiyah/Baumel and De Villiers/Murphy both complete successful Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ tests
PARYS, FREESTATE – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA’s Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings sealed their third successive overall production championship when they won the final round of the 2021 South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS), the TGRSA Parys 400, this weekend. The Toyota Hilux crew went fastest in qualifying, and effectively lead from flag to flag to secure the title.
The 2021 SACCS was characterised by a year-long battle between Lategan/Cummings, and Lance Woolridge/Elvene Coetzee (Ford Ranger). The two crews traded blows throughout the year, but a strong finish saw Lategan/Cummings take the crown again. Co-driver Cummings had secured the navigators’ championship with one round to spare.
At the same time, teammates Shameer Variawa and co-driver Danie Stassen, secured third place in the race, despite suffering three punctures during the main event; while both Giniel de Villiers and Nasser Al-Attiyah, fielded their all-new Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ race cars. While unable to score championship points, or to be classified in the field, the two drivers clearly showed the pace of the new cars, as they put the finishing touches on their Dakar preparations.
The Parys 400 sported a tough route over varied terrain types. This took a toll on many of the competitors and their cars, but the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA crews prevailed despite the tricky conditions. With that said, Al-Attiyah/Baumel elected to retire from the race to preserve their car, after encountering a stray piece of barbed wire that tangled around the right front wheel of their Hilux.
Next for the team is a final test session in the Kalahari Desert, before shipping their cars to Saudi Arabia in preparation for the start of the 2022 Dakar Rally, on January 1st next year.
Glyn Hall, Team Principal: “We are overjoyed to be crowned champions again, and we are very proud of Henk and Brett, who pushed their own limits throughout the year as they chased the title. They started on the back foot after missing the opening round of the season due to an injury that Henk suffered at Dakar 2021. However, they fought back from there to bring the title home for the third successive time.”
Henk Lategan: “This year was a really challenging one for us, especially after missing the opening round. However, the arrival of the new turbo-charged engine from the Land Cruiser 300 breathed new life into our challenge, and we managed to emerge victorious. The Toyota Hilux showed its mettle throughout the year, and we never had any serious mechanical problems.”
Giniel de Villiers: “We gave up our championship in order to concentrate on the development of the new Hilux T1+, and I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made. This weekend was the last competitive event for the SACCS, and we have one more test session planned before the Dakar Rally. So far, the new car has delivered exactly what we wanted, and I am confident that we’ll be able to put the final touches in place during the upcoming test.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “It was really enjoyable to take part in the race in South Africa. I have been here many times, but this was the first opportunity for me to enter one of the local races. I was really impressed by the quality of the field, and even though we didn’t finish the race, we made good progress with the new car.”
Shameer Variawa: “The Parys 400 was a really tough one for us. Even so, we pushed hard in the main event, and even though we suffered multiple punctures, we managed to finish on the podium. Our attention shifts to the Dakar Rally now, and I can’t wait to get to Saudi Arabia to take on the toughest automotive race on the planet.”
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa Acknowledges Its Sponsors and Specialist Official Suppliers and Technical Partners
Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Toyota Financial Services and the Innovation Group. Also Hallspeed, Motus Toyota, SKF, Spanjaard, OMP, Donaldson, Mastercraft, Edgecam, 3M, Shatterprufe, Supreme Springs, Smith’s Manufacturing, TRD, First National Battery, STR8-LIGN, Duxbury Netgear, Lumotech and Plan-C Productions.
Follow Toyota Gazoo Racing SA at www.tgrsa.co.za