- Claims first and second positions ahead of Toyota in third and fourth
- “Our cars are work in progress” – Team Toyota’s Geriel de Villiers
Team Ford emphatically ended Toyota Racing Gazoo’s long time dominance at the Toyota Gazoo 1000 Desert Race in Jwaneng over the weekend where the competition was returning after a three-year hiatus owing to COVID-19 setbacks.
This comes after the South African duo of Gareth Woolridge (driver) and Boyd Dreyer (navigator) of team Castrol Ford delivered remarkable performance to win the race with a time of 11.14:33 ahead of their fellow teammates Lance Woolridge and Kenneth Gilbert who finished second.
Ford’s pole position
Team Ford started from pole position after their impressive run in the national qualifying race whereas Team Toyota started in second with a difference of three minutes. Ford had fielded a total of five cars in this year’s edition, two of which finished on the podium for the first time in five years.
Woolridge told Gazette Sports in a post-race interview that the victory is a true reflection of the hard work that they have been putting in throughout the years.
“One of the toughest races”
“We are very happy to have won the title this time around in Botswana and I must admit that this was one of the toughest races so far this year.
“The victory means a lot to every member and staff of Ford because they have been putting in the work in the car and we feel so special and great for winning this race.
“We have been busy working in the car and putting more special features on it. We intend to do more upgrades on the car so that we maintain our consistency.
End of an era
“Winning a championship of this magnitude needs a good and complete car, hence the efforts that we have made this year. We are happy with the return of the desert race and we are hoping for a good five years’ stay in Botswana.”
The rivalry between Toyota and Ford ended in favour of Ford this time around, with Toyota trailing in third and fourth position for the first time in many years of dominance.
Toyota’s most experienced and top driver Geniel de Villiers and his navigator Dennis Murphy finished fourth with a time of 11.39:23. De Villiers admitted that Ford drivers were better drivers with better cars on the day.
“I must say it is disappointing for us to finish third and fourth this year, but I must give credit to our rivals,” said de Villiers. “They came prepared and their cars were a bit strong.
“Our cars are a work in progress and we hope to redeem ourselves from this poor start next year.”