VICTORY AT ZWARTKOPS KEEPS VAN ROOYEN’S TITLE HOPES ALIVE
- 1st in Race 2 for Michael van Rooyen
A tough outing at the penultimate round of the 2021 Global Tourcing Car (GTC) season saw TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA’s Michael van Rooyen lose ground to his nearest rival in the title chase, despite winning the second race of the weekend. The points deficit has grown to 17, leaving the works Toyota Corolla driver with a mountain to climb at the final round at Kyalami, early in December.
“Our weekend started strong, with a good performance during the practice sessions, despite going out on used rubber,” said Van Rooyen after the race. “We fitted new tyres for qualifying, but suddenly found ourselves way off the pace, which was very disappointing. We couldn’t quite pinpoint what caused the pace to drop off, and I ended up starting the race from the fourth place on the grid.”
Things didn’t improve during the first race, as Van Rooyen continued to struggle for pace. The Rustenberg-based businessman lost on position over the 12 lap race, to finish in fifth place – hardly the result he needed in order to keep his title hopes alive.
“But then came the second race, and thanks to the reverse-grid that GTC uses, I started just behind my teammate Mandla,” continued van Rooyen. “I passed him early on, and while the car still didn’t perform the way it usually does, I managed to put in some consistent lap times to build up a buffer to the competition. In the end, I won race 2 without too much trouble, which certainly helped to keep my hopes for a title alive.”
Teammate Mandla Mdakane also started strong, posting good times in practice. However, his Corolla developed boost problems during the first race, which continued to plague the Johannesburger throughout the weekend.
“In the end we had to settle for less-than-ideal results, and it is clear that the problems that have plagued us throughout the season haven’t been resolved yet,” said Mdakane. “But we’ll keep testing and tracking down the gremlins, in preparation for the final round at Kyalami, early in December.”
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.