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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

The Citizen chases title race podium in Toyota GR Cup finale

Too close for comfort as four drivers battle it out for second and third place at Zwartkops.

Just like that, it’s the final round of the Toyota GR Cup 2023 in the National Extreme Festival this weekend.

We are off to Zwartkops o settle this thing once and for all. It’s all still up for grabs. Well, almost.

Ever-consistent and quick Setshaba Mashigo has already locked down the championship, leaving the rest of us to fight it out for the remaining silverware in what is going to be an epic battle.

I was once safely clear of the field and out of harm’s way, so to speak, but in a year of extreme highs and soul-destroying lows mixed with some solid driving in between, I now find myself right in the middle of this war where second, third, fourth and fifth places are all still to be decided.

ALSO READ: The Citizen goes from hero to zero in Toyota GR Cup

GR Cup catfight

Denis Droppa, who has fought back the whole GR Cup season after missing the first race, has edged ahead of me into second by a single point. Chad Lückhoff and I are tied in third, with a hard-charging Brendon Staniforth a mere two points adrift in fourth.

ALSO READ: WATCH: The Citizen sneaks onto GR Cup podium on dramatic day

Droppa must stay ahead of all of us to hold onto second; I must finish ahead of him for second to be mine, while also keeping Lückhoff and Staniforth behind me. Lückhoff must get past me and Droppa, while keeping Staniforth behind him, and Staniforth must mug us all to steal second from fourth.

What happens if somebody finishes first then fifth, or second then fourth etc? I have no idea to be honest

Toyota South Africa Motors vice-president of marketing Glenn Crompton will be making his GR Cup racing debut and with the return of Riaan Esterhuysen, the Toyota South Africa GR boss who has already proved he can mix it up when he wants to. The permutations are endless.

ALSO READ: The Citizen gets another drive in Toyota GR Cup

Elbows out

So, the bottom line is, if I want to claim one of the two final spots on the podium, I must go out there and win those last two races. But simple is the last thing this is going to be.

Zwartkops is a short track, and there are only two race heats of eight laps each. And with the guys having got quicker over the year, as expected, and not being afraid to get their elbows out when required, there won’t be any easy passes.

With bragging rights on the table and egos at play, there will some exciting and equally robust racing as in front of a packed Toyota South Africa Gazoo Racing HQ.

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