Toyota dominates rally

Mechanical niggles see Leeke/Kohne surrender SA Rally Championship lead.

Gazoo Toyota Etios crew Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy Lyle took the overall points lead in this year’s South African Rally Championship on Saturday by winning the Electrothread Bronkhorstspruit Rally overall.

The pairing set the quickest times in six of the event’s 11 special stages. Second was former SA champion Hergen Fekken and Elvéne Coetzee in an Electrothread-backed Toyota Etios. Having lost the championship lead to Richard Leeke/Henry Kohne (ATS Ford Fiesta) last month, Botterill and Leeke waged a titanic war across the dusty farmlands, with stage times often separated by tenths of a second.

In the end, small mechanical niggles kept Leeke, who won three stages, in third place – comfortably ahead of AC Potgieter/Nico Swartz (Lake Umuzi VW Polo). Nico Nienaber/Gert Van Rensburg (Parker Store VW Polo) put in a spirited drive to end fifth overall ahead of Tjaart Conradie/ Mari van der Walt (Silverton Engineering Toyota Etios) and George Smalberger/Terry Brand (Shield VW Polo).

The sponsors’ curse struck Chris Coertse/Greg Godrich when their Electrothread Mazda 2 developed a misfire in the open section on Saturday morning and was forced to retire, while Jono van Wyk/Scott Howden (Swazi Cow boy Ford Fiesta) retired in stage five with a broken side-shaft.

The Classic rally class was won by Roelof Coertse/Barry White (Ford Escort Mk2) ahead of Pierre de Clerq/Mauritz Britz (Toyota Corolla Mk2) and Natie Booysen/ Les McKenzie (DigiMag Ford Escort Mk1).

Victory in the Open class for regional competitors went to Rory Eland/Erwee Badenhorst in their Subaru Impreza ahead of Etienne Lourens/Matt Kohler (Toyota Tazz).

The penultimate round of the 2017 SA Rally Championship will take place in the Western Cape on September 16 and 17.

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