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VICTORY FOR TOYOTA’S POULTER/COETZEE IN BELA-BELA

VICTORY FOR TOYOTA’S POULTER/COETZEE IN BELA-BELA 22 June 2015

  • 1st overall for Poulter/Coetzee (Toyota Yaris S2000)
  • 1st in Class S1600 for Botterill/Vacy-Lyle (Toyota Etios S1600)
  • 3rd in Class S1600 for Vacy-Lyle/Van Heerden (Toyota Etios S1600)
  • Manufacturers Award for Toyota

Press Releases

CHALLENGE AWAITS CASTROL TEAM TOYOTA IN BELA BELA CHALLENGE AWAITS CASTROL TEAM TOYOTA IN BELA BELA

CHALLENGE AWAITS CASTROL TEAM TOYOTA IN BELA BELA 15 June 2015

The 2015 South African National Rally Championship will reach its halfway point on the weekend of 19 and 20 June, with the Bela Bela Motor Rally, which takes place in and around the Limpopo town of the same name. For Castrol Team Toyota’s Leeroy Poulter and navigator Elvéne Coetzee, defending champions, this event will offer a stern challenge in their campaign to retain their title.

 

“Leeroy and Elvéne have had a tough start to the year, with a combination of bad luck and small mistakes conspiring to rob them of better results,” says Team Principal Glyn Hall of the champions’ season so far. “With that said, they opened their defense with two second place finishes on rounds one and two. But a fourth place on round three in Secunda dealt their campaign a crushing blow.”

 

Poulter/Coetzee are still second overall in the championship standings, 17 points behind the Ford pairing of former multiple champions, Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton. But the Ford crew has taken three victories from three starts, and it will take a supreme effort to reel them in – and a good result in Bela Bela is imperative.

 

In 2014 Poulter/Coetzee were initially highly competitive on the inaugural Bela Bela Motor Rally. But their normally reliable Toyota Yaris S2000 rally car experienced a severe misfire on the second day of the event, forcing them to retire.

 

“We can’t let last year’s result influence our thinking this year,” says Poulter. “We have to take it one event at a time, and this time we know we have to go for the win.”

 

Giniel de Villiers, partnered with navigator Carolyn Swan, started the season with a fourth place on the Tour Natal Rally, but a retirement on the Sasol Rally, round two of the season, saw them drop down in the overall standings. The pair bounced back with a second-place finish on round three, and currently occupy fourth place in the championship, just 1.5 points behind Volkswagen’s Gugu Zulu.

 

In Class S1600, South Africa’s premiere rally class for front-wheel-drive cars with engines of 1,600 cc, defending champions Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle have had an up-and-down start to the season. The pair finished third on round one, retired on round two, and won round three. As a result the Yato Toyota Etios crew find themselves in third place in the Class S1600 championship, just one point behind second place (Paul Franken, VW) and three points adrift of the current championship leaders.

 

Those leaders are another Toyota Etios crew, in the form of Matthew Vacy-Lyle and Schalk van Heerden, who are supported by Fragram Tools. Vacy-Lyle and Van Heerden have challenged for championship glory before, and a steady start to the season (one second place and two third places) see them topping the standings going into round four.

 

The Bela Bela Motor Rally gets under way at noon on Friday, 19th June, with the official start ceremony at the Bela Mall. Day One features four special stages, with a total distance of 56 km. Day Two starts at 8am, and comprises six special stages, bringing the total rally distance for the event to 179 km.

 

As in 2014, the rally HQ is at the old caravan park in the center of town, across the road from the entrance to the Forever Resort. Entry to all areas is free of charge, and the event offers easy spectating within 40 minutes’ drive from Pretoria.

 

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, Innovation Group, Imperial Toyota Group, Bosch, Donaldson, Edgecam, Ferodo, Smith Manufacturing, NGK, SKF and Spanjaard.

 

Follow the fortunes of Castrol Team Toyota on motorsport.toyota.co.za

Twitter: www.twitter.com/toyotasa

Facebook: www.facebook.com/toyotasouthafrica.

 

 

ENDS      

VICTORY FOR TOYOTA’S POULTER/COETZEE IN BELA-BELA VICTORY FOR TOYOTA’S POULTER/COETZEE IN BELA-BELA

VICTORY FOR TOYOTA’S POULTER/COETZEE IN BELA-BELA 22 June 2015

Defending South African National Rally Champions, Leeroy Poulter and navigator Elvéne Coetzee drove a near-perfect race in Bela-Bela, winning Round 4 of the South African National Rally Championship in fine style. The Castrol Team Toyota pairing won every stage on day one of the rally, and continued to put the competition under pressure throughout day two. They eventually completed the ten-stage event 28.8 seconds ahead of former champions Mark Cronje and navigator Robin Houghton, in their Ford Fiesta.

 

“Our Castrol Team Toyota Yaris S2000 ran absolutely faultlessly, and we were very happy with our pace throughout the event,” said a smiling Poulter after the rally ended in Bela-Bela, formerly known as Warmbaths. “This is exactly what we needed in order to keep our championship alive.”

 

The town and surrounding area first hosted a round of the National Rally Championship in 2014, but that was in early summer. This year’s mid-winter running of the event saw extremely dusty and sandy conditions that offered a stern test to the competing crews.

 

“Despite the conditions we set the pace right from the start,” explained Team Principal Glyn Hall. “We made some changes to the car after the previous event, and those changes clearly paid dividends today. Especially bearing in mind that Giniel and Carolyn were also right on the pace on day one.”

 

Giniel de Villiers and Carolyn Swan, in the second Castrol Team Toyota Yaris, traded blows with Volkswagen’s Hergen Fekken and navigator Pierre Arries over the first three stages of the event, fighting for third place behind Poulter and Cronje. But a puncture on Stage Four, the final stage of day one, cost De Villiers/Swan the best part of 50 seconds, sending them tumbling down the order.

 

“It was a crushing blow to our event,” said former Dakar winner, De Villiers, of the incident. “On an event as tight and short as this one, you simply can’t afford to lose nearly a minute. It just takes you right out of the running.”

 

With that said, the pair continued to push for good stage times on Day Two, while ahead of them a number of key players faltered. Fekken/Arries seemed on track for a podium finish, but they hit an embankment, destroying one of the wheels on their car in the process. This not only promoted privateer Japie van Niekerk, with navigator Gerhard Snyman beside him, to third place – but it also allowed De Villiers/Swan to climb back up the leaderboard.

 

“In the end we were lucky to be able to fight for third place again,” said De Villiers, “but Japie managed to hold both us and Gugu Zulu in the Volkswagen off. He got the last podium spot, with Zulu in fourth and us taking fifth place.”

In Class S1600, for front-wheel-drive cars with engines of 1.6 liters, it was again defending champions Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle who took the honours. The pair drove their Yato Toyota Etios to a second consecutive victory, putting the defense of their title back on track, after a rocky start to their season.

 

“We didn’t do too well on the opening rounds of the championship,” said Botterill after spraying sparkling wine from the top step of the podium. “But then we won in Secunda and again here in Bela-Bela. So we’re right back in the fight.”

 

Botterill/Vacy-Lyle beat Ford driver Chad van Beurden and his navigator Nico Swartz by more than a minute. Van Beurden/Swartz, however, were lucky to take second place by just 1.4 seconds over the third-placed crew of Matthew Vacy-Lyle and Schalk van Heerden (Fragram Toyota Etios).

 

Van Beurden/Swartz incurred a penalty of twenty seconds on day two, but managed to do just enough to pip Vacy-Lyle/Van Heerden for second place.

 

With Toyota taking first place overall, as well as first and third in Class S1600, the manufacturers award was also won by Toyota.

 

With the Bela-Bela Motor Rally done, the South African National Rally Championship has officially reached its mid point. Round five of the eight-round championship is the spectacular Volkswagen Rally, which again takes place in and around Port Elizabeth. This year the event will be held on 17 and 18 July, and promises to be as wet and wild as ever, with some of the traditional stages in the fearsome Longmore forest on the menu again.

 

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, Innovation Group, Imperial Toyota Group, Bosch, Donaldson, Edgecam, Ferodo, Smith Manufacturing, NGK, SKF, Reiger and Spanjaard.

 

Follow the fortunes of Castrol Team Toyota on motorsport.toyota.co.za

Twitter: www.twitter.com/toyotasa

Facebook: www.facebook.com/toyotasouthafrica.

 

 

ENDS