TGRSA Dominates at Vryheid 400 with One-Two-Three Finish

Victory for Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa (TGRSA) didn’t just show up to the Vryheid 400—they owned it. With a performance that would make even the most seasoned rally veterans green with envy, TGRSA snatched a glorious one-two-three finish in the 2024 South African Rally-Raid Championship (SARRC), leaving the competition in the dust—literally.

The Dynamic Trio

Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings: The pair that topped the charts did so in style, clocking in at 6 hours, 43 minutes, and 1 second. Their Toyota Hilux IMT EVO roared through the route, making the rest of the field look like they were driving their mom's old sedan to Sunday church.

Guy Botterill and Dennis Murphy: These two came in second, just 5 minutes and 43 seconds behind the leaders. Close enough to keep things interesting but not close enough to swipe the top spot. Think of it as getting a silver medal in the Olympics—still impressive, just not golden.

Giniel de Villiers and Elvéne Vonk: Our bronze medalists finished 12 minutes and 42 seconds behind Lategan and Cummings. It's like they decided to stop and enjoy the picturesque landscapes of the Vryheid route before rolling across the finish line. Priorities, right?

The Route: A Farmer’s Nightmare and a Racer’s Dream

The Vryheid 400 isn't for the faint-hearted. Picture this: farmlands, rocky paths, and stunning vistas that could easily distract you from the task at hand. This route was a true test of grit and mechanical endurance. While most would consider it a scenic route for a Sunday drive, these racers tackled it like they had a vendetta against dirt and rocks.

Shameer Variawa, the TGRSA Team Principal, summed it up perfectly: “We are thrilled with the results from the Vryheid 400. Our crews showed remarkable skill and determination, navigating the challenging terrain with precision. The one-two-three finish is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire team.” Translation: "We came, we saw, we conquered, and we’re still finding bits of KwaZulu-Natal dirt in our teeth."

A Quick Recap of the Action

The event started with a 14km Castrol Qualifying Race, setting the stage for what was to come. Friday afternoon and Saturday saw the real action with stages that pushed the limits of both man and machine. Henk Lategan, riding the wave of his victory, said, “It was a challenging race, but we pushed hard and managed to secure the win. The team did an incredible job preparing the car, and we are thrilled with the result.” In other words, “We floored it, held on tight, and it worked.”

Even the team’s fourth crew, Saood Variawa and Francois Cazalet, managed to finish despite a run-in with a tree that left their car with a bent steering arm. They limped home, showing that even when the going gets tough, the tough keep going—if a bit crookedly.

What’s Next?

Next on the calendar is the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Safari 1000. This is TGRSA’s own shindig, happening from June 21-23 around Thabazimbi. With a couple of wins already under their belt, TGRSA is looking to keep the momentum going. So, if you’re planning to be in Limpopo in late June, expect some high-octane action and maybe bring earplugs. It’s going to be loud, fast, and a whole lot of fun.

In conclusion, TGRSA’s performance at the Vryheid 400 wasn’t just a win—it was a masterclass in rally racing. Stay tuned, because if this is how they’re starting the season, the rest of the championship is going to be a wild ride.

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