The Trade Brands Tour Natal Rally is only a week away, and the organising committee and the
National Rally Commission are excited that they have put together an exciting, spectator friendly
event. “We believe that some of the best rally roads on the North Coast have been used by Jimmy
Dewar and his team, and that with the new stages for most of the competitors, it will be an even
playing field,” said Rikus Fourie from the NRC.
With 21 entrants of today’s date, the stragglers will be making a major effort this weekend to ensure
that their cars are entered timeously. Topping the R2N class, is reigning SA Rally Champion duo Guy
Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle. “We have tested our new Toyota Gazoo Etios, and it is the first new
car we have had in four years, and I believe that we will have a great start to the season with a more
competitive car. There are a few improvements and the car has felt really great during our test
sessions,” said Botterill. The new Total Gazoo Toyota Etios was launched to the media today
together with the line-up of the 4×4 onslaught of the Toyota Off-Road team.
Richard Leeke and Henry Kohne were always on the pace last year, and once again they will be
putting in a tremendous effort to make Botterill work hard for any overall victories. Richard will be
campaigning the Ford R2N in the blue and white livery.
AC Potgieter and Nico Swartz will be out to prove their mettle in the VW Polo R2 N, after finding
themselves on the podium during the latter part of the 2017 season. Another crew that did well in
their very first outing in 2017 was Chris Coertse and Greg Godrich in the R2N Mazda. With this R2N
class being so closely contested, great performances will also come from Tjaart Conradie and Mari v
d Walt (Toyota Etios); George Smalberger and Chris Brand (VW Polo); JJ Potgieter and Tommy du
Toit (Ford Focus) and Jono van Wyk and Barry White behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta.
It will be a welcome return to rallying for Matthew Vacy-Lyle who has taken over the ex Botterill
Etios, as he and Schalk van Heerden run their Etios under the Just Tools banner. Matthew spent
two years in Dubai on business and has returned to Natal and what better way than rallying to catch
up on the motoring scene.
In action under the Open class we will see really competitive Subarus, a few VW Polos and even a
City Golf. Local rallyist Trevor Graham with Brian Clifton in the hot seat will be out in their BMW and
will do battle with the older, yet very quick Open class vehicles.
And who said rallying was a man’s sport – we have two lady teams and they will be out to show off
their talents at high speed on the sweeping gravel roads of Natal.
The Trade Brands Tour Natal Rally will start at 15h00 on Friday 9 March from the Lifestyle Centre
Ballito in the Dunlop Service Park. Closest gravel stages are only 10kms from Ballito, with cars
coming back to the Dunlop Service park at regular intervals. The Whirlpool night stage in Old Ballito
Village will start at 19h00. Overnight stop will be at Ashton International College before the
Saturday restart where the Bigfoot Express and Mica stages will be held in Doringkop and
Blythedale. A huge applause to the other co-sponsors – Dunlop Tyre Track, KIC, with Accesspoint
who will keep you up to date, and Red Bull. The spectator guide will be printed in this week’s copy
of Life and Style so pick up your copy and be right there in the midst of the action.