Castrol Team Toyota’s Leeroy Poulter and Johnny Gemmell finished first and second in the regional championship Ocean Basket Rally in Port Elizabeth on Saturday to give the new Toyota Yaris S2000 rally car its first ever victory anywhere in the world.
Poulter and co-driver Elvene Coetzee won four of the seven special stages and team-mates Gemmell and Carolyn Swan won one. Third were Henk Lategan and Barry White in a factory Volkswagen Polo.
“This was not about winning a regional rally, this was an important opportunity for us to test the changes and improvements we’ve made to the rally Yaris in preparation for the next round of the South African rally championship, the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally on May 31 and June 1,” said Castrol Toyota team principal Glyn Hall.
“Winning this rally and finishing 1-2 ahead of the three factory VW Polos in their own back yard was a bonus. We needed to test the cars under proper racing conditions and the regional rally provided these.”
Both Poulter, currently second in the SA championship, and Gemmell, who is sixth, were happy with their cars and reported that the new developments worked well.
“There is a definite improvement in performance,” said Gemmell.
Poulter was full of praise for the team. “This is a great result for the team who have worked really hard to get the brand new Yaris rally car to the level it’s at in just its third event. We’ve made great progress and this give us a lot of confidence for the next round of the national championship.”
Toyota Motorsport Acknowledges Its Sponsors and Specialist Official Supplier and Technical Partners
Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Castrol, Toyota Financial Services, Imperial Toyota Group, Innovation Group, Bosch, DeWalt, Donaldson, Edgecam, Ferodo, NGK, SKF and Spanjaard.