Toy­ota all set to clinch Rally Cham­pi­onship

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING -

ROUND six of the seven-round South African Na­tional Rally Cham­pi­onship is the Toy­ota Cape Dealer Rally, which takes place to­mor­row and Satur­day in the Swart­land — and vic­tory for Leeroy Poul­ter and nav­i­ga­tor Elvéne Coet­zee on Toy­ota’s home event, will see them clinch the 2016 cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

The pair have won each round of this year’s cham­pi­onship, in their Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing SA, in as­so­ci­a­tion with To­tal Quartz, Yaris S2000.

“It’s been an amaz­ing sea­son so far,” said Poul­ter. “We’ve had a great run, and the Toy­ota Yaris has been ab­so­lutely fault­less. We had a tough event in the Cape last year, and we’ll be look­ing to make good this time.”

Team-mates Giniel de Vil­liers and nav­i­ga­tor Carolyn Swan are the only other crew with a math­e­mat­i­cal chance of steal­ing Poul­ter/Coet­zee’s thun­der. If De Vil­liers/Swan win the Toy­ota Cape Dealer Rally, the ti­tle fight con­tin­ues to round seven.

“Both Leeroy and Giniel have been ul­tra-con­sis­tent this year,” said Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing SA team prin­ci­pal Glyn Hall. “Nei­ther of them made any se­ri­ous mis­takes, and we couldn’t be hap­pier with the re­sults.”

Cur­rently third in the cham­pi­onship stand­ings is Ernie van der Walt in the Vecto Pe­tro­leum Toy­ota Yaris S2000, giv­ing Toy­ota a clean sweep at the top of the leader­board.

In Class S1600, for fron­twheel-drive rally cars with engines up to 1 600 cc, de­fend­ing dou­ble-cham­pion Guy Bot­ter­ill reigns supreme in the Yato Toy­ota Etios S1600. He has a 39-point buf­fer over sec­ond-placed Richard Leeke (Ford), which means that he too can seal the cham­pi­onship with a win in the Swart­land.

“It couldn’t be more ex­cit­ing,” said Toy­ota SA Mo­tors vi­cepres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing Glenn Cromp­ton. “This is our ‘home’ event, and we have two cham­pi­onships pos­si­bly be­ing de­cided. What’s more, both ti­tles could go to Toy­ota crews.”

The rally gets un­der way with scru­ti­neer­ing at 6 pm to­day at Im­pe­rial Toy­ota Cape Gate. To­mor­row sees a cer­e­mo­nial start at McCarthy Toy­ota Ta­ble View, be­fore the crews tackle four stages at the Killarney race­track. The event con­cludes on Satur­day, with a restart at Malmes­bury Toy­ota, and stages around the Swart­land town of Malmes­bury.

Leeroy Poul­ter and Elvéne Coet­zee are set to clinch the Na­tional Rally Cham­pi­onship in their Toy­ota in the Swart­land this week­end.

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