One lap. That is all that stood between Murray Lloyd and Ralph Lehmann leading the Super 1600 SA Rally Championship and slipping to 5th after the 3rd round of the series, the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally was done and dusted.  The MLC Computer Solutions Rally Team endured a tough two days of what Lloyd would argue was “fun”!

The event started with a puncture in the first stage which Lloyd and Lehmann managed to change in less than 4 minutes.  With no spare, the MLC crew were forced to take things relatively easy in the 27km long second stage but were solidly in 5th place and looking at a healthy haul of 16 points, enough to put them in the championship lead after their title leader Megan Verlaque fell out.

In stage three, while running flat out in 6th gear, the engine cut out.  Rolling along, Lloyd turned the ignition off and restarted the car, a problem that recurred few times over the remaining day’s mileage.  “We had installed some new parts and the ECU needs to be configured so the car ran in limp mode through the SuperSpecial stage”, Lloyd said. “When we found the cause we bypassed it and the problem disappeared”.

4th in class and 18th overall was a good reward for the team’s persistence at the end of the first day’s activities.  Sunday would best be described as a day the pair should have stayed in bed.  Sub-zero temperatures were a highlight of the day.  In the opening SuperSpecial stage, Lloyd went too hot into a tight corner and beached the car “in the middle of nowhere”.  1½ minutes were lost.  Not settled, Lloyd overshot a corner in stage 7 and wrong slotted in stage 8, forced a pair of U-turns as the car was lost in its own dust.  “If someone showed a video on YouTube, they would have seen a car just going round in circles”, Lloyd laughed.

In the final long stage, a wrong slot in the route inadvertently caused the VW pair to cut 15km out of the stage.  In spite of the accompanying penalty for their error, they remained in 5th place in S1600.

At the final stage at Zwartkops raceway, the MLC Computer Solutions VW Polo Vivo cried enough and stopped with one lap to go.  “I had no power in the hairpin although the gauges showed all was well with the car, it just died.  I opened the bonnet and there was an oil fire under the bonnet caused by a hole in the engine block and our rally was run.  I really wanted to maintain our 100% finishing record”, rued Lloyd.

MLC Computer Solutions is an infrastructure management company specializing in hardware, WAN and LANs, offering superior customer service and support in the IT field.  The Team has added backing from BP Ultimate, ITEC Printers (South), Tiger Wheel and Tyre, Steval Engineering and Mechanics in Motion.

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Issued by the MLC Computer Solutions Rally Team.