Flag-to-flag win in N. Cape

After a rare did-not-fin­ish in their back­yard, KZN pair led the pack in Al­goa Rally by a minute

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING -

PORT EL­IZ­A­BETH — It was a re­sound­ing, flag-to-flag vic­tory for Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing SA’s Guy Bot­ter­ill and co-driver Si­mon Vacy-Lyle, when they bagged max­i­mum points on the Al­goa Na­tional Rally in Port El­iz­a­beth on Satur­day, July 7.

The Class R2N Toy­ota Etios crew led the rally from the very first stage, and never re­lin­quished their lead.

“There’s no such thing as an easy vic­tory when it comes to the SA Na­tional Rally Cham­pi­onship, and even less so when rac­ing in Port El­iz­a­beth,” said Bot­ter­ill after reach­ing the parc ferme at the end of the rally in the Friendly City. “But we were for­tu­nate to have a clean run this time round.”

The Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing SA Etios never missed a beat, and Bot­ter­ill/Vacy-Lyle man­aged to set the pace right from the start.

The pair won all but the fi­nal three stages of the 11-stage event, win­ning by a mar­gin of 01:27 over the Volk­swa­gen Polo crew of AC Potgieter and Nico Swartz.

Third place went to Richard Leeke and Henry Kohne in their Ford Fiesta.

“Once our lead got to over one minute, we de­cided to fo­cus on pro­tect­ing our cham­pi­onship points,” con­tin­ued Bot­ter­ill.

“We man­aged to bring the Etios home with no is­sues, and scored max­i­mum points — so we have ev­ery rea­son to be pleased.”

The 2018 Al­goa Na­tional Rally — for­merly known as the Volk­swa­gen Rally — again took place near Port El­iz­a­beth, with a num­ber of stages set fur­ther afield, in the Long­more For­est, in­land from Jef­freys Bay. While th­ese stages cer­tainly pro­vided the meat of the event, the stages closer to PE proved a stern test in their own right. “We have to give the Al­goa Mo­tor­sport Club a lot of credit for pre­par­ing such an amaz­ing event,” con­cluded Bot- ter­ill.

“In all the years of ral­ly­ing here, we’ve never seen the roads quite as good as this. It was a world­class event, and we are grate­ful to the club for putting it to­gether.”

Bot­ter­ill/Vacy-Lyle started their 2018 cam­paign with a DNF at their home rally in KwaZu­luNatal, but have since come back with three con­vinc­ing vic­to­ries on the trot. The pair started the Al­goa Na­tional Rally just a sin­gle point be­hind cham­pi­onship lead­ers Potgieter/Swartz (Volk­swa­gen).

Their re­sult in Port El­iz­a­beth, how­ever, will see them lead­ing the SA Na­tional Rally Cham­pi­onship with three rounds left in the sea­son. The next round in the SA NRC will take place on Au­gust 17 and 18, in the area around the Gaut­eng town of Bronkhorstspruit, to the east of Pre­to­ria.

‘In all the years of ral­ly­ing ... we’ve never seen the roads quite as good as this.’

PHOTO: MOTORPRESS

Fly­ing the Hill­crest flag high with their NU reg­is­tra­tion plate are Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing SA’s Guy Bot­ter­ill and co-driver Si­mon Vacy-Lyle.

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