So far, the 2016 South African National Rally Championship has seen the two Toyota Gazoo Racing SA, in association with Total Quartz, Yaris S2000 rally cars dominate proceedings.
Leeroy Poulter and navigator Elvéne Coetzee have won all four rounds to date, with teammates Giniel de Villiers and navigator Carolyn Swan recorded second-place finishes on each round. Now, the crews face a new challenge, in the form of the Heidelberg Rally – an event that hasn’t formed part of the national rally championship in more than two decades.
The town of Heidelberg borders on the eastern end of the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, which is well-known amongst cyclists for its steep climbs and high altitudes. Though the town itself developed as a typical rural Victorian town, thanks to its mining background, it played a key role during the Anglo Boer War. And it might be a strategic location yet again, as the 2016 South African National Rally Championship heads down the home straight.
The event is centred around the Heidelberg Mall, which will house all the rally-related activities, such as scrutineering, parc ferme, service park and the official start and finish podiums. Proceedings start at 16:00 on Friday, August 19th, and conclude around 15:30 on Saturday, August 20th.
“For us the new event is a chance to consolidate the overall championship,” says Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall. “We’ll be running the cars with the same setup as on last month’s Volkswagen Rally, so we have every reason to be positive about our chances.”
The Heidelberg Rally will also offer Gauteng-based rally fans a chance to see the two Toyota Gazoo Racing SA crews tackle each other without any team orders, and with De Villiers/Swan closing the gap to Poulter/Coetzee on every event so far this year, the battle for top honours is sure to be spectacular.
Beside the two factory-entered Toyota Yaris S2000 cars, the Heidelberg Rally field also includes privateer Ernie van der Walt in the Vecto Petroleum Toyota Yaris, who will benefit from the same dampers as used by the factory crews on the Volkswagen Rally.
Behind the S2000 crews, defending class S1600 champions, Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle, will again be campaigning their fast and reliable Yato Toyota Etios. The pair have won each round of the championship so far this season, finishing third in the overall standings on multiple occasions.
The Heidelberg Rally is round six of the eight-round South African National Rally Championship, and will be followed on the calendar by the visually spectacular Toyota Cape Dealer Rally, which takes place to the north of the Mother City on 16 and 17 September, 2016.
Source: Toyota SA