DELMAS, MPUMALANGA – Round 4 of the National Extreme Festival at the Red Star Raceway near the Mpumalanga town of Delmas proved to be a tough day at the office for the TGRSA team. The team’s three Global Touring Car (GTC) drivers had every intention to fight for victory and get their respective championship fights back on track, but lady luck was not on their side.
Saood Variawa celebrated his 17th birthday during the weekend and would have liked nothing more than to present himself with a maiden victory, but in the end the youngster had to be content with a fourth and second place finish respectively, earning him third overall for the weekend. “We had issues with our car’s brakes for the most part and I had to pit during qualifying for the team to look at the engine’s mapping which reduced my attempts at a flying lap. During both races I had my elbows out so all things considered I’m pretty happy with the result,” he commented afterwards.
Teammate Mandla Mdakane was in the hunt as well and bagged the valuable points that came with a fifth position in race one and a fourth in race two. “We are gaining more and more experience with the Corolla during each outing and I am now looking forward to taking on the fearsome East London Grand Prix circuit in August,” he said. For the experienced Michael van Rooyen, it was a weekend to forget. His qualifying was also compromised due to a lack of turbo boost and the man from Rustenburg was then forced to retire from race one early one. He got up into third position on the first lap of race two when an incident between two rivals left him with no space. The Corolla suffered extensive damage but still managed to circulate until the flag to collect a few valuable championship points.
The inaugural and innovative GR Cup sees six motoring scribes compete against each other in identical Toyota GR Yaris road cars. So far, Capetonian Ashley Oldfield seemed unstoppable, but Thomas Falkiner was determined to turn the tables at Red Star. Falkiner was setting the pace throughout the practice sessions on Friday, but Oldfield bounced back by claiming pole position during the Saturday morning qualifying session. Race one was a close affair with Falkiner and Sean Nurse in hot pursuit, but Oldfield held on to take yet another victory. Race two started as the sun was setting over Delmas. The darkness presented an extra challenge but Oldfield was up for it once again. The Capetonian started from the back of the grid but quickly made his way through the pack and eventually up into first place. As with race one, he was once again followed by Falkiner and Nurse.
The next round for both the GR Cup and the GTC series is scheduled to take place at East London’s historic Grand Prix circuit on 5 and 6 August.