MALALANE, Mpumalanga – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa (TGRSA) would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the Horn family, following the loss of their father, Johan, this weekend. A stalwart supporter of the South African Rally-Raid Championship (SARRC), Johan Senior will be sorely missed. His unwavering dedication to the sport has left a lasting impact, and we honour his memory as we celebrate our team's achievements.
In the face of very hot and humid conditions, TGRSA's Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings claimed victory in the Nkomazi 400, Round 1 of the 2023 SARRC. The pair expertly navigated their GR DKR Hilux T1+ to a first-place finish, demonstrating remarkable teamwork and perseverance throughout the race. Their Hilux never missed a beat, and their winning margin was 6min 33sec.
“This was an amazing weekend for us,” said Lategan. “It started with victory in the Qualifying Race, and we managed to hold onto our lead throughout a very tough weekend.”
Their success is a testament to their dedication and skill, setting a strong precedent for the remainder of the season.
Teamwork also shone through in the efforts of teammates Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dennis Murphy, who secured third place despite the challenging conditions. The duo hit a guinea fowl early into the opening loop, and had to make do with a broken windscreen for the first part of the race, until the service crew could replace the broken screen at the mid-point stop. After that, the pair pushed their limits and showcased the reliability and performance of the Toyota Hilux. Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle completed the TGRSA lineup with an impressive fourth-place finish, despite suffering two mid-stage punctures, rounding off an excellent weekend for the team.
TGRSA Team Principal, Glyn Hall, commended his crews for their outstanding performance: "I am incredibly proud of our team's achievements at the Nkomazi 400. Congratulations to Henk and Brett on their well-deserved victory. The entire TGRSA team displayed exceptional skill and determination in challenging conditions, and I couldn't be happier with the results. This strong start to the season sets the stage for continued success in the upcoming rounds."
As TGRSA celebrates the Nkomazi 400 results, the team also acknowledges the invaluable support from fans and sponsors. This weekend's triumph would not have been possible without their encouragement and backing.
Looking ahead, TGRSA will shift its focus to the next round of the SARRC – the Sugarbelt 400. Taking place in the KwaZulu-Natal town of Eston during mid-May 2023, the Sugarbelt 400 promises to be another thrilling event. The team will use the valuable experience gained at the Nkomazi 400 to refine their strategies and prepare for the challenges ahead.
TGRSA remains committed to pushing the boundaries of performance, and the Sugarbelt 400 will provide another opportunity for the team to demonstrate their abilities and aim for further success in the championship. Fans are encouraged to stay connected with the team on social media and follow their progress in the upcoming races.