• 3rd place for Mandla Mdakane / Kes Naidoo on opening round
  • Stage win on Round 1 for Jono van Wyk / Nico Swartz

There was sparkling wine for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA's (TGRSA) Mandla Mdakane and Kes Naidoo as the end of Round 1 of the 2024 South African National Rally Championship (SANRC) when they brought their Rally Toyota Starlet home in third place overall. Teammates Jono van Wyk and his co-driver, Nico Swartz, showed promising pace throughout the event, but were forced to retire just 200 metres from the finish.

Mdakane/Naidoo posted consistent competitive stage times throughout the opening round, which took place on Friday, 12 April, in the area surrounding the Swartland town of Malmesbury. Their consistency was rewarded with a third place overall, while Van Wyk/Swartz were left to wonder what could have been, had they not suffered a problem with the steering system on the final, short stage of the day.

"The final stage of the day took place at the Killarney Race Circuit, and we're still not exactly sure what Jono hit," explains TGRSA Rally Manager, Guy Botterill. "Somehow the rod end was pulled out of the steering rack, which then bent the rack to the point where the driveshaft came out of the gearbox, all within sight of the finish! There was a 30min post-rally service before the cars had to enter parc ferme for the night, but our technicians just couldn't quite get the job done in time."

This left Van Wyk/Swartz to spectate on Round 2, which took place on Saturday, 13 April, in the same area. Mdakane/Naidoo started the second round in the same way they had finished the previous one: driving clean and consistent stages, which saw them running in second overall with just one stage to go. Then, disaster struck when a suspension component gave up the ghost, forcing the TGRSA crew to retire.

The next round of the SANRC is the Secunda Rally, which will take place on 31 May and 1 June, 2024. TGRSA will be hoping for a better run on this event, which will represent Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2024 championship.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa Acknowledges Its Sponsors

Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Toyota Financial Services, Innovation Group Services and Kinto.