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The Toyota Gazoo Racing Junior Academy’s (TGRJA) young talents showcased their skills at the South African Rotax MAX Challenge (SARMC) Karting Championship and African Open, held at the Killarney Kart Circuit, Cape Town, from 22 to 23 March.

The academy’s mission is to nurture the next generation of racing drivers and pave their way to success in the motorsport arena. The academy’s efforts to cultivate the talents of the next generation of drivers contribute to the growth and development of the motorsport industry, supporting its continued success and sustainability.

The championship, renowned for its fierce competition and high stakes, provided the perfect platform for these budding racers to test their mettle against some of the best in the country. Under the guidance of Leeroy Poulter, the drivers were primed and ready to tackle the challenges of the Cape circuit on a national stage.

Leading the charge for the academy was Jason Coetzee, whose stellar performance in the DD2 class earned him a heat win and the overall national runner-up spot. At the same time, stable-mate Karabo Malemela regularly placed within the top seven to finish seventh overall. Coetzee claimed another podium in the African Open when he finished third, with Malemela in seventh.

While Senior MAX driver Kent Swartz started his weekend off strongly with a fourth-place qualifying position, his weekend was marred by several incidents, which saw the reigning National Junior MAX Champion finish 16th overall. Swartz registered a DNF in the African Open heat to add insult to injury.

Both Junior MAX pilots, Emma-Rose Dowling, and Reagile Spice Mailula, struggled with poor results after being caught up in on-track skirmishes, which have become commonplace in the Junior MAX class. Mailula’s weekend was further wrecked following his exclusion from the final national heat result due to a technical infringement and a DNF in the African Open final. Similarly, Dowling recorded a DNF in the final heat of the national competition before recording a 12th-place finish in the Open.

Not to be outdone, Tshepang Shisinwana, competing in the Mini MAX class, was a regular podium finisher with second and third place to claim the overall runner-up spot in the national round. A tough African Open heat saw him finish ninth.

While the results did not go as expected for some, the academy’s unwavering commitment to excellence and continuous improvement served as a testament to its holistic approach to driver development, focusing not only on raw speed but also on race craft, sportsmanship, and mental fortitude. As they prepare for the next chapter of their journey, one thing is sure – the future of South African racing looks brighter than ever, thanks to the unwavering commitment of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Junior Academy to nurturing the stars of tomorrow.

Published by: Motorsport Fanatix

Picture Caption: Tshepang Shisinwana (Mini MAX)

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