CAPE TOWN – It was an excellent weekend for Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Michael van Rooyen, when the Toyota Corolla driver tackled Round 7 of the 2019 Global Touring Car (GTC) championship at the Killarney Raceway in Cape Town. The “Rustenburg Rocket” finished third in Race 1, and improved to second in Race 2 – leaving him tied for second in the title fight, just two points adrift.
“It was a great weekend for us,” said the affable racer after the event. “In hindsight we could probably have bagged one or two more points, but the reality is that we are now within reach of the title, and anything can happen at the final round in October.”
The weekend started with a tough qualifying session for the Toyota Corolla driver: “It was a highly competitive session, and the top 5 cars were separated by less than 0.1 s. I managed to peg fourth place on the grid, which was far from ideal, but acceptable in the circumstances.”
When the lights went green, Van Rooyen pulled off a magnificent start, and quickly moved up to third place. The Toyota Gazoo Racing SA driver shot past VW’s Keagan Masters, and quickly caught up with privateer Johan Fourie, in his BMW.
“But getting past Johan was tricky, and eventually Keagan caught up with us again,” explained Van Rooyen. “After a bit of a tussle, Keagan and I went through the fast Malmesbury corner side-by-side, with me on the outside – never the best place to be.”
As a result, Van Rooyen arrived at the next bend – Cape Town Corner – carrying debris in the tyres of his Corolla. He tried to slow the car down, but ended up leaving the track, and losing a number of positions as a result.
“But luck was on my side, as a couple of the leaders ran into trouble – and each other. There was a penalty too, for Masters, after he and Robert Wolk collided, and suddenly I found myself scoring points for third place.”
This meant that Van Rooyen would start Race 2 from fourth on the grid, in the reverse-grid configuration. Volkswagen’s Masters again offered stern resistance, but after a ding-dong battle, Van Rooyen managed to pass the VW driver.
“Next up was Daniel Rowe, also in a VW,” continued Van Rooyen. “I had saved a push-to-pass for the end of the race, and used it before the final corner – which meant I overtook Rowe after the last bend, and ended up second in Race 2.”
Victory on Race 2 went to Robert Wolk (BMW), but a second place, together with the points from a third place in Race 1, saw Van Rooyen close the gap to log leader, Masters significantly. As a result, the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA driver is now just two points behind Masters, tied for points with Audi’s Simon Moss. The final round of the season promises to be a cracker-jack, and the action is set for the weekend of 25-26 October, at the Red Star Raceway in Delmas, Gauteng.
Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Acknowledges Its Sponsors and Specialist Official Suppliers and Technical Partners
Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Total, Toyota Financial Services and the Innovation Group. Also Hallspeed, Imperial Toyota, SKF, Spanjaard, OMP, Donaldson, Mastercraft, Edgecam, 3M, Shatterprufe, Supreme Springs, Smith’s Manufacturing, TRD, Peritus Forex, First National Battery, STR8-LIGN, Duxbury Netgear, Lumotech and Plan-C Productions.
MVR Racing Acknowledges the Following Partners
Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa, Total Quartz, Automark, Toyota Financial Services, Meanwraps, Isilo Steel and RSC.