Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring


Motorsport euphoria awaits The Citizen in GR Cup at Kyalami

The only place to go is up after leaving Killarney in last place in the standings.


While the next round of the Toyota GR Cup at Kyalami is only the second of seven events, it is the season’s standout event.

The privilege of piloting a factory-built racing car around a world-renowned circuit like Kyalami is as close to motorsports heaven as you could come. From the superb condition of the 4.529 kilometre track to its rich 63-year history, it will be an experience the six of us will forever cherish.

The event incorporates the National Extreme Festival and its regional equivalent, so is a three-day event instead of the usual two. That means we’ll have one practice session tomorrow, another practice and qualifying on Friday and then the two races on Saturday.

ALSO READ: The Citizen hangs tough to finish third in Toyota GR Cup

GR Yaris returns at Kyalami

The GR Yaris also returns to Kyalami alongside the motoring media’s GR Corollas and the GR 86s of the GR academy boys. Toyota dealers from around the country are piloting a five-strong Yaris field.

Three sets of GR cars on the track at the same time could make for interesting racing action, although allocated time gaps should keep daylight between classes, barring any incidents.

Weather could also play a huge role. The wet weather over Johannesburg is expected to dry out later in the week, but we can’t rule out unexpected downpours. Especially not after the unexpected shower before qualifying at Killarney on the first leg.

Unlike the opening round, where four of us had to learn the track from scratch, all six of us have clocked plenty of laps around Kyalami, not all of them in proper racing conditions, but enough times to feel more confident than we did in Cape Town.

ALSO READ: Toyota GR Cup opener proves to be a steep learning curve

Bottom of the log

The Citizen Motoring heads into the event in sixth (last) place in the championship, which means the only place we can go is up over the next six rounds.

Sean Nurse (AutoTrader) leads the title race after his two wins at Killarney, followed by Hannes Visser (La’t Wiel), Alex Shanini (CarMag) and Bernie Hellberg (Driven).

The Citizen Motoring is tied on three points with Kumbi Mtshakazi (Kumbi-M on Cars), but officially in sixth place. The puncture suffered in Cape Town after going farming in the first race meant that we were a lap down limping home in last place.

But hopefully the lessons learned at Killarney will come in handy during the Extreme Festival at Kyalami, the most important one being not to go farming – for obvious reasons.