You might think that after winning the drivers’, co-drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships in the penultimate round in the Free State six weeks ago, Toyota Motorsport would adopt a relaxed approach to the season-ending Atlas Copco Gold 400 in Westonaria on November 22 and 23.
You would be wrong. “While Toyota’s involvement in motorsport is all about demonstrating the qualities of the product, defeating our marketplace rivals and winning races and championships is a very important part of the exercise,” said team principal Glyn Hall.
“It’s business as usual this weekend and we’ll be aiming to win, as we always do, and add to the five victories out of seven races we’ve already enjoyed in what has been a great season for the team, Toyota and our sponsors.”
The Castrol Team Toyota Hilux, which competes in the premier class SP in the Production Vehicle category of the Donaldson South African Cross Country Championship, has been peerless this season in the hands of new champions Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy and outgoing champions Duncan Vos and Rob Howie. Taylor and Murphy have dominated the series, winning four races in succession from round three to round six, including the blue riband Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana.
Team-mates Vos, a five-time champion, and 2012 champion Howie have given a good account of themselves, winning round seven in the Free State and finishing on the podium another four times, twice in second place behind Taylor and Murphy and twice in third place.
Championship scores after the first seven rounds are 1 Taylor/Murphy (Toyota) 147.5, 2 Chris Visser/Japie Badenhorst (Ford) 134.5, 3 Vos/Howie (Toyota) 117, 4 Gary Bertholdt/Siegfried Rosseau (Toyota/Nissan) 59, 5 Johan van Staden/Mike Lawrenson (Toyota) 52.5, 6 Lance Woolridge/Ward Huxtable (Ford) 52.
While the champions might already have been crowned – and recorded Toyota’s 16th championship - the runner-up spot is still up for grabs and Vos and Howie will be putting in maximum effort to secure this consolation prize that will mean a lot to Toyota.
With a maximum of 25 points up for grabs, second-placed Visser and Badenhorst are
17.5 ahead of Vos and Howie. “It’s a bit of a long shot, but it’s possible and we’ll be aiming to displace Chris and Japie,” said Vos. “A Toyota 1-2 in the championship would be appropriate.”
Manufacturer standings after seven rounds are: 1 Toyota 505, 2 Ford 270, 3 Nissan 139. Toyota has won this championship six times in a row and seven times in the 12 years since it was established.
Toyota Motorsport South Africa Acknowledges Its Sponsors and Specialist Official Supplier and Technical Partners
Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Castrol, Toyota Financial Services, Imperial Toyota Group, Innovation Group, Bosch, DeWalt, Donaldson, Edgecam, Ferodo, NGK, SKF and Spanjaard.