• Pole position in qualifying for Van Rooyen
  • Victory in Race 1 for Van Rooyen
  • 3rd in Race 2 for Van Rooyen
DELMAS, MPUMALANGA - TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA’s Michael van Rooyen showed his class at the Red Star Raceway this weekend, by placing his GTC Toyota Corolla on pole position during qualifying, This was followed by a power performance that saw the Rustenburg Rocket, as he is also known, take a flag to flag victory in Race 1 of the weekend.

“We had a really strong weekend at Red Star,” said Van Rooyen after the race. “We dominated from the get-go, and posted the fastest times throughout the practice sessions and qualifying. Race 1 was a relatively easy victory, starting from pole.”

Race 2 saw the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA driver start at the back of the grid, in the traditional reverse order. The experienced campaigner made no bones, passing one competitor after the other, though he eventually had to settle for third place, behind the Toyota Corollas of Robert Wolk and Scott Temple.

“My only disappointment was not being able to give my team the results they so richly deserved,” continued Van Rooyen. “I was desperate to push for a second victory on the day, but with two teammates ahead of me, this was always going to be a tough task.”

Van Rooyen entered Round 5 of the 2021 GTC Championship at Red Star eight points behind Wolk, and was hoping to close the gap before heading to the final round at Zwartkops during the last weekend of October. But Wolk’s victory in Race 2, together with a second place in Race 1, saw the Chemical Logistics driver extend his lead slightly, with one round to go.

“It certainly isn’t over yet, and we saw last year that a lot can happen during the final two races,” concluded Van Rooyen. “I simply won’t have a choice at Zwartkops: It’ll be maximum attack throughout the weekend.”

Van Rooyen’s teammate, Mandla Mdakane, had another tough outing at Red Star. The Johannesburger qualified in sixth place, and finished 5th in Race 1 of the weekend. Race 2 saw him in a tussle for a podium position, but the Toyota Corolla driver ultimately lost the fight, and was classified as 16th in the race; fifth place in the GTC category.

Only one round remains in the 2021 GTC championship, with the action set for the weekend of 23 October at the Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria.