Jari-Matti Latvala gave the new Yaris its first WRC win and the first for Toyota since 1999.    Picture: TOYOTA
Jari-Matti Latvala gave the new Yaris its first WRC win and the first for Toyota since 1999. Picture: TOYOTA

It was the Rally of Sweden, round two of the 2017 WRC (World Rally Championship) that stole the international motorsport thunder last weekend.

At the end of the 18 stages, it was Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota Yaris Gazoo Racing) who claimed the overall win, Toyota’s first in WRC since 1999.

Latvala was followed in second position by Ott Tanak
(M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS), while Sebastien Ogier (M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS) rounded off the podium in third. As the championship stands, two races into the season, Latvala leads the driver’s table with 48 points, followed by Ogier with 44 points and Tanak on 33 points.

Former Formula One racing ace David Coulthard, who visited SA in August 2016 was quoted by EWN (Eyewitness News) at the weekend as endorsing the country to be a perfect setting for hosting a F1 race in the future.

"The Kyalami racetrack would be a great facility to host an F1 race as it has a great history in the sport and has even seen a South African win a championship," says Coulthard.

With the new F1 governing body, Liberty Media, now in place, we can only hope that there are plans to review the FIA standards and ticket prices that could potentially see the country once again host a race here, but we are not holding out too much hope given the vast sums of money involved.

Still with F1, the first race of the season is only scheduled for March 26 in Australia, but there are already rumours as to who is likely to replace Valtteri Bottas, who has signed a one-year contract with Mercedes for the upcoming season. Former Mercedes F1 driver and champion Nico Rosberg has been quoted by Crash.net as endorsing Sebastien Vettel, currently with Ferrari, to replace Bottas when Vettel’s contract ends at the end of 2017. Fernando Alonso is also touted by Rosberg to replace Bottas when his contract at McLaren ends later in 2017, but Alonso has shot down any rumours of him leaving McLaren in 2018.

SA’s Jonathan Aberdein is within a few points of taking the Formula 4 United Arab Emirates title following another great weekend at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit, where he netted a couple of wins.

This was in spite of two of the four races having reversed grids and being taken out of the second race lead after being tagged by his team-mate in the last lap.

Aberdein, however, saw to it that his Motopark team wrapped up the team title.

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