There are several reasons why the Toyota Dealer 400 on 30 and 31 August at Sun City -- round 5 of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship -- is shaping up as an important outing for Team Castrol Toyota factory and privateer entries. -

- First and foremost is the fact that the Toyota contingent would love nothing better to shine on an event that is being sponsored by Toyota dealers. Toyota is also the only South African manufacturer or distributor to field factory teams in the national off-road, circuit racing and rally championships, and sponsoring the event strengthens ties with the off-road fraternity. -

- "Motorsport has always been an integral part of Toyota’s worldwide philosophy, and we are more than happy to be associated with an event that forms part of a highly competitive and high profile championship,” said Toyota's Director of Marketing Communications, Francois Loubser. -

- It is against this background that Toyota teams will want to perform well. On top of that, however, is the fact that Team Castrol Toyota teams and privateers will want to put behind them the spectre of last month's O’Hagan’s/Kopanong Hotel 500 in North West Province. For the first time since most people can remember, Toyota failed to win a class. Toyota also lost the lead in the Manufacturers' Championship to Nissan, and the Toyota Dealer 400 offers the opportunity to put matters straight. -

- "The last event was one of those races you want to put behind you and forget about,"said Toyota Motorsport manager Wammy Haddad. "However, those sort of nightmares happen in motorsport. Now we have to pick up the pieces and show some character, and there is no better event for us to come up with the goods.” -

- Leading the Toyota challenge in Class T are former SA champions Apie Reyneke and Robin Houghton in the Team Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser. The pair won the opening event of the season, the Barberspan 500, and have since campaigned the new Team Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser. -

- "The vehicle has shown plenty of potential but niggly problems have cost us," said Reyneke. "With a clean run, I think we can come up with the win we need." -

- The conditions at Sun City will also be familiar to veteran Kassie Coetzee, who again teams up with Ockie Fourie in the Team Castrol Toyota Condor running in Class E. Fully recovered after being struck in the face by a stone thrown by a hooligan on the O’Hagan’s/Kopanong 500, Coetzee’s vast rally experience will come to the fore on this event. -

- "The stone throwing incident was highly unfortunate but I am fit and looking forward to the race," said Coetzee. "We have had a few disappointing results since winning our class on the Barberspan. Now it is time to get back into a winning mode, and this would be a good event for us to get back into the championship race.” -

- Class E is currently being led by Toyota Hilux privateers Jaap and Hugo de Bruyn, who have emerged as the surprise packages of the season. Sheer consistency has taken them to the top of the championship, and the pair will be looking at maintaining a 100 percent finish record this season. -

- Other Class E entrants carrying the Toyota flag will also be looking for good results. They include Piet Heunis and Coetzee Labuscagne, Gawie and Elaine van Deventer and Hannes Steyn and Ferdi Seegers. -

- Also hoping to get a title challenge back on track will be Piet Haasbroek and Christo Bosch in the Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser. They started the season with a flourish and, after three events, led both the Production Vehicle overall standings and Class D. -

- Recent events have produced a few hiccups for the pair, with Nissan crew Duncan Vos and Mike Griffiths now leading the overall and Class D championships. Class D is highly competitive but Haasbroek and Bosch are a class act and, given a clean run, will be looking for a class win and a top five finish. -

- Shumie van Vuuren and Steve Parker, in the Castrol Kwa Nokeng Lodge Land Cruiser, will also be looking for an improved result this time out. They have the ability to challenge for class honours, while Carlos de Abreu (Toyota Land Cruiser) and Cecil Fincham and Hein Moolman, in a Toyota Hilux, could also make worthwhile contributions to Toyota’s overall effort.