Season One of the Toyota Esports Challenge for WRC9 in 2020 saw some of the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Team’s drivers battling it out for the very first time in the digital world.

While some of the drivers made the crossover with relative ease, others struggled and found themselves failing to finish at times. 

In 2020, TGR driver Guy Botterill stood head and shoulders above his real-life teammates in the digital realm, while Giniel de Villiers was regularly off the pace.

Race one of the 2020 season, on Ngema in Kenya, saw Guy complete as the fastest TGR driver with a respectable time of just over four minutes. Giniel however found the going a lot tougher in his first run, and failed to make an impact on the leaderboard with a time of over six minutes.

A New Year. Same Old Track.

Now, one year later, the two drivers were back at their simulators to see if things had changed. And to say it had, would be putting it mildly.

Both drivers are familiar with racing Kenya in the real-life. Combined with the familiarity from racing Ngema in Season One, there was really a story waiting to unfold.

Guy managed to get off the start line confidently in first place in his Toyota Yaris. Unlike 2020, Giniel was hot on his heels with less than a two second time difference. This gap narrowed quickly to below one second within the first few corners, and saw Giniel running slightly behind Guy for the first third of the race.

As the drivers hit the village, the time difference was below half a second, which Guy extended slightly as the two exited the village, and moved back into the open track. As the stage’s road widened in the final third, Guy was clinging to a time difference of around one second. A slight case of over-confidence appeared to kick in for Guy as he flew awkwardly over the bumps and slightly wide on the road, but it appeared to have little effect on his time. 

While Giniel had been figuratively watching Guy’s exhaust for the majority of the race, as the two drivers hit the final quarter, Giniel showed more composure and control through the bends and quietly slipped ahead of Guy. 

The final sprint to the finish line saw the two drivers separated by less than point one of a second, with the race being there for the taking by either of the TGR teammates.

The race could not have been closer, and it took the final race leaderboard to fully confirm the spectacular turnaround of fortunes for Giniel.

From 2020’s pedestrian run through Ngema, Giniel took top spot with a blistering time that outperformed Guy’s best from last year. And while this meant a change in fortunes for the two drivers, Guy can feel aggrieved to have lost by such a narrow margin. It made for spectacular viewing however and sets up another potential showdown between these two legends of South African racing in the near future. 

Final Standings

  • 1st Place: Guy de Villiers | 03’40”569
  • 2nd Place: Guy Botterill | 03’40”621

If you are looking to win your share of R70,000 in cash, get your submissions in today for the WRC9 Season Two Series on The Toyota Gaming Engine.

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