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A tough opening weekend for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA’s Global Touring Car (GTC) crews marked the start of their 2022 campaign, but all three drivers are primed and ready to attack at this weekend’s second round, which takes place at Zwartkops Raceway, near Pretoria in Gauteng.

“We had hoped for a better start to the season,” says TGRSA driver Michael van Rooyen. “But we’ve historically struggled at Killarney, and Round 1 was no different. But we’ve worked hard to sort out the various niggles that held us back in the Cape, and we’re looking forward to a better performance at Zwartkops, which is the home circuit for the team.”

As at Killarney, the team will be fielding three GTC Toyota Corollas, with Van Rooyen taking charge of one of them. Mandla Mdakane will again be in action in the second car; with young Saood Variawa taking to the track in the third Corolla.

Were it not for bad luck, Variawa may not have had any luck at all during the Killarney weekend. With that said, the young racer showed impressive pace when things went his way, and will be sure to be pushing for a solid points haul at Zwartkops.

As for Mdakane, the experience campaigner struggled with a variety of issues during the opening round, but showed good pace towards the end of the weekend, before failing to finish the second race, due to heavy impact during an on-track fracas.

“The impact of the crash was quite big, but surprisingly there wasn’t significant damage to the car. The team has done an amazing job to get it back to perfect condition, and our recent shakedown showed that the car was back to running as expected. I’m excited to get behind the wheel again this weekend.”

As things stand, Van Rooyen is the leading TGRSA driver, in 4th place on the championship standings. He has 18 points, and trails the title leader, Robert Wolk (privateer Toyota Corolla) by 22 points. Variawa is four points further adrift, in 5th overall; while Mdakane is in 9th place with 10 points on the board.

This weekend’s racing will get under way with practice sessions on Friday, before Qualifying and two races follow on Saturday. Spectators are welcome to attend the race, and tickets are available from the gate.