South African Rally Preview Rd 7/7
20-21 October 2017
Boksburg, South Africa
2017 South African Rally Championship came to a close this past weekend with the SCC Rally held at Carnival City where the new Class and Overall Champions were declared.
Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lylle were crowned the R2N Class Champions as well as the South African Rally Champions in their Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota Etios. In the South African Classic Championship, Lee Rose and Elvene Coetzee became the inaugural champions with their Bardahl Ford Escort mk2. Also a new class for 2017 was the Open class where Lune Strydom clinched the drivers’ championship with her Toyota Tazz and Erwee Badenhorst claimed the Navigator’s title due to him competing in events with more than one driver.
Going into the Last rally of 2017, all the classes were still undecided and promised all the drama and nail-biting moments for each crew and supporters. The Open class had one of two outcomes for the championship, Rory Eland in his Subaru was leading the points and the only other person who could spoil his party could be Lune Strydom. As lady luck would have her say, Rory had an unfortunate moment on the opening stage of the rally when his movable vehicle collided with an immovable object which then lead to his retirement. All Lune had to do now was take each stage in her ever consistent pace and ensure to bring her Toyota Tazz home and despite some issues along the way, she managed to bring it home safely and in the process win the Open Class title in her first season of national rallying.
The race of the Classic Class was also a two way title chase with Lee Rose and Roelof Coertse. Lee Rose had one task, to ensure that he brings the Bardahl Ford Escort home in one piece and take the title due to his big points lead in the class. Sounds simple but in rallying nothing is guaranteed as the stages proved very technical and rough in places. Lee had other intentions and was not about to nurse it home, he pushed his Escort as hard as it could go posting very impressive stage times between the R2 cars. Roelof Coertse in the Ford Escort had an outside chance to win the title from Lee and tried his very best until he and Barry White had to throw in the towel with 3 stages to go due to a propshaft issue. With Roelof retiring it secured the championship title for Lee Rose. Elvene Coetzee had already won the navigators title after the previous event in Caledon.
In the Premier 1600 class known as R2, the battle lines were drawn with Richard Leeke and Henry Kohne in the ATS Ford Fiesta leading the championship by 4 points from Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lylle in the Toyota Gazoo Racing Etios. These two crews have been battling it out all season for stage honours and of late AC Potgieter with Nico Swartz in the Lake Umuzi VW Polo have been in the mix as well even winning the class on the previous event. The permutations were very simple for Richard and Guy, win the event and you win the championship.
First blood went to Richard on the first stage when he put in the fastest stage time whilst Guy faltered by overshooting the first junction on the stage. From there it was game on and the times were close with Richard being victorious in the battle leading Guy and AC Potgieter by more than 11 seconds after the first day’s 5 stages, but then all hell broke loose when Richard and Henry left the routine service on route to the overnight stop the car suddenly died. It would be terminal and lead to the retirement of the Championship hopefuls. A gutted crew had to call it a day after trying everything in their power to revive their Fiesta engine. This immediately changed the title algorithms for Guy and Simon whom now only required finishing on the podium to be able to clinch the title.
By their own admission the crew was still pushing but not taking risk to be able to stay focussed to ensure a steady pace. The young gun of day 2 was Jono van Wyk and Scott Howden in the Swazi Cowboy Ford Fiesta who put in some blistering stage times with AC Potgieter winning the some stages in the process. When the dust had settled AC Potgieter and Nico Swartz bagged another Class win, their second on the trot and Guy Botterill with Simon Vacy-Lylle had done enough to secure second spot and their first South African National Rally title. Jono and Scott also did enough to take their podium finish in the 1600 class.
The rally was won overall by Theuns Joubert and Ettiene Lourens in the Salom Toyota Auris S2000. They had entered in the Open class and were not eligible for the overall points finish due to the previous four wheel drive vehicles being dropped in favour of the two wheel drive 1600 vehicles, unfortunately due to cost and the dwindling support for the s2000 class.
Details will published on the website (www.sarallying.co.za) and Facebook (sarallying).
*Image credit: RAO Inspired Designs
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For further information contact:
Jean Els – 082-339-6519
Rikus Fourie – 084-673-8786