I predicted that Round 3 of the National Extreme Series at Aldo Scribante Racetrack would produce a few thrills and spills in the Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa GR Cup. But what I didn’t get right was exactly how these thrills and spills would be served up.
Getting to grips with the short but technical circuit was not easy. At least I was finding pace each time I went out, and then a brake pipe popped on The Citizen’s Toyota GR Yaris entering the rather fast turn 1, and that was the end of my practice day.
The pipe was replaced overnight, and it would then be straight into qualifying on the Saturday morning, without as much seat time as I had hoped for.
The track was cold and damp, and it took me a few laps to get going. But just as I started pinning it, wily production car veteran Mario de Sousa came onto the power too soon coming out of turn 1, ran wide and went ice skating into the tyre wall at high speed. This brought out caution flags and messed up what was left of me qualifying.
Luckily for him, he had already banked a decent lap, escaped the incident without injury, and his Toyota GR Yaris would be duct taped up ready for Race 1.
Qualifying saw the ever-quick Ashley Oldfield lock out the front row with Thomas Falkiner, leaving me and De Sousa on the second row, with a hard charging Sean Nurse, Jeanette Kok Kritzinger, and Lerato Matabese right behind us.
Oldfield and Falkiner disappeared into the distance, and an accident damaged De Sousa and technical gremlin befallen Nurse fell back a bit, with De Sousa ultimately retiring. This allowed me to open a nice gap that I held to the end for an easy third.
Race 2 of the Toyota GR Cup was a case of Ground Hog Day. The two fast guys at the front checked out quickly and that left me to defend against a persistent Nurse, who continued to struggle with intermittent gearbox issues.
De Sousa started at the back, was caring his way through the field, and looking like he could be making ground, but he outbraked at the hairpin and ran off the track, cementing his fate and fifth place.
I am under no illusion that if Nurse and De Sousa had no issues, my third overall would have been a massive dogfight right till the end. But that’s racing.
Round 4 of the Toyota GR Cup will form part of the National Extreme Series and will be run at the Red Star Raceway on 2 July.
For more information on the Toyota GR Yaris, click here.