BY SETSHABA MASHIGO

Expectations were high for team the ASAMM car #777 of Setshaba Mashigo heading into the second round of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Cup at Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town this past weekend. With a fantastic free practice performance, topping the timing sheets by 7 tenths of a second through all three sessions, a maiden win looked very likely.

However, Cape Town’s infamously unpredictable weather reared its ugly head on Saturday morning and drenched the circuit just before the Qualifying session. The pressure of qualifying, coupled with a virtually unrecognisable track, were a baptism of fire for a racing novice like myself. Nevertheless, I slipped and slid around the wet Killarney circuit and managed to secure a fifth place qualifying position – 0.5 seconds off of pole sitter Chad Lückoff whose drifting exploits shone through. I knew the track would be dry by the time Race 1 was due to begin, giving me a chance to fight to the front of the pack more aggressively.

The lights went out and Lückoff had a tangle with Reuben van Niekerk in the #75 car in the first corner, dropping Lückoff all the way to the back of the pack. In the midst of the chaos Mark Jones slipped into the front and I managed to claw my way to third and went on the attack to take second position from van Niekerk. What followed were several laps of ducking, weaving, punting, off-road excursions and defending that would leave a Gran Turismo online lobby in awe! The strategy then became to maintain pressure on the #75 car until he faltered, which duly happened on the second to last lap. Lückoff took advantage and found his way into third, but relinquished the position after I took him on the inside of Cape Town corner just before the chequered flag.

Race 2’s starting grid was determined by Race 1’s finishing order, which meant that I was now in third behind Denis Droppa and Mark Jones. Droppa put up an incredible fight and made the compact GR 86 wider than a Putco bus. I finally found a way around him and then gave chase to Jones who, until this point, was cruising comfortably in first place. Alas, it was too little too late. The Boksburg Bomber took the chequered flag once again and I followed 1.1 seconds later.

That maiden win has so far proven elusive, but Round 3 at Zwartkops Raceway on May 20th is set to be a an epic chase for the top step on the podium.

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