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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

East London Toyota GR Cup result bitter pill to swallow

Coastal circuit the perfect place for feisty GR Yaris to showcase its capabilities.

The East London Grand Prix circuit is not known as the fastest racetrack in the country for nothing, as my experience this past weekend confirmed.

We are partaking in the inaugural GR Cup hosted within the National Extreme Series for 2022, and we are using almost stock standard Toyota GR Yaris cars with some safety stuff added to meet the regulations requirements.

The GR Yaris runs a potent 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo engine that produces 198 kW of power and 360 Nm of torque and this means it can hustle when pushed.

I would dab the brakes at the end of the main straight at 200 km/h before turning into the much-feared Potters Pass corner at around 200 km/h, scrub off some speed while hitting 220 km/h by the time I had to get on the brakes after the very fast Rifle Range corner. Anybody who knows anything about racing will know that these are not speeds you want things to go wrong, and this is exactly what happened to me.

My confidence was growing after each session, and I thought I just might have enough to run right on the tail of the fast guys out front, but then I had an off at Potters, and went farming next to the track at 180 km/h, and that was the end of my weekend mentally.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Mark Jones burns rubber in The Citizen’s Toyota GR Yaris

Qualifying came about and I hung back like usual so not be that guy that tries to race over the top of you during qualifying, only to watch the top four blast off and run nose to tail and bang in fast lap after fast lap. I was already done for pace this weekend, and by missing that memo, my qualifying was worse than my practice.

Could it get any worse? Of course it can. I was the victim of some “interesting” driving which I was not expecting from the caliber of the guys around me, and found myself being blocked even before the lights would go out. I am all for hard racing and I am not afraid to block or dive into a gap that may, or may not, be there.

Make no mistake, I understand it will be paid back with interest, as this is part of racing, but there are some rather weird tactics seemingly being employed as we head to the end of the season.

I finished the first race in fifth position and by the time the second race came about, it was proper dark and I had no answer to that. I grabbed fifth overall for the weekend. My worst result in a GR Yaris so far this season.

Round 7 of National Extreme Series is next up and that will be back at the Killarney Raceway in Cape Town on the weekend of 17 September.

For more information on the Toyota GR Yaris, visit the manufaturer’s website.

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