The South African Rally Championship moves to the Western Cape this weekend for the first time this year for the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally, the second of the two rounds of the eight-event championship sponsored by Toyota South Africa Motors.
It will also mark the sixth national championship outing of the all-new Toyota Yaris S2000, Toyota Motorsport South Africa’s latest weapon in the quest for an 11th national rally championship.
The two-door four-wheel drive Yaris, built and developed by Glyn Hall and his team at Toyota Motorsport’s Barbecue Downs workshop within earshot of the Kyalami grand prix circuit, has made an immediate impact on the rally special stages, improving with every outing as the team works hard on its development.
Four consecutive podiums in five events and a best result to date of second in the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally in round three – with Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan (Castrol Team Toyota Yaris) – have been encouraging, but Hall wants more.
“Johnny and Carolyn are third in the championship, but 36 points behind current leaders Cronje and Houghton in the car in which they won the 2012 championship. However they’re only 11 points behind Jan Habig and Robert Paisley. We have to push for our first win and to achieve this on an event sponsored by Toyota would be more than appropriate,” said Hall.
All three of Toyota Motorsport’s entries are strong contenders and each has been on the podium in the new car. Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee, fifth in the championship in the second Castrol Team Toyota Auris and second in round two, missed out on what would have been a well-deserved second place in the recent Ford Dealer Rally after being penalised a minute for an unintentional jump start.
Dakar Rally winner Giniel de Villiers and Greg Godrich are fourth in the championship in the Imperial Toyota Yaris after a consistent first season together in the top class that has seen them finish in the top six on three occasions with a best result of third in round four.
“Despite a lot of testing and making improvements we’re not seeing the results we expected,” said team principal Hall. “For the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally we’ve changed the set-up quite a lot – suspension and transmission in particular. The cars will be easier to drive, rather than faster, and more predictable. Results of testing have been encouraging. We have three good cars.”
The two-day 780-kilometre Toyota Cape Dealer Rally will start from Imperial Toyota CapeGate in Brackenfell at 11.00 on Friday September 13 and finish back at Imperial Toyota around 15.00 on Saturday. There will be five special stages on each day covering a total of some 175-kilometres of timed flat-out racing. Rally headquarters and the event’s single service park, which will be used twice on Friday and three times on Saturday, will be at Brackenfell High School.
Toyota Motorsport South Africa 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.