WINNING FORM: Leeroy Poulter and his navigator, Elvéne Coetzee, took their second victory of the season at the Sasol rally earlier in April 2016. Image: Quickpic
Sabie, Mpumalanga – Leeroy Poulter and navigator Elvéne Coetzee recorded their second victory in the 2016 South African National Rally Championship, when they triumphed in the 25th running of the Sasol Rally.
The pair led from flag to flag, with the only competition coming from team mates Giniel de Villiers and navigator Carolyn Swan, racing an identical Toyota Yaris S2000 rally car.
Poulter/Coetzee won the opening stage of the rally on Friday, April 22nd, and never relinquished their lead. They won all but two of the rally’s 14 stages, sharing the spoils with De Villiers/Swan.
Master class performance
“The Toyota Yaris ran faultlessly this event,” said Poulter from the service park near Sabie, after recording his second consecutive victory in the 2016 South African National Rally Championship.
Poulter said: “The only moment came when a stone shattered the rear window of our car, but despite the dust in the cabin we managed to battle on.”
In the meantime, De Villiers/Swan, in the sister Toyota Yaris S2000, posted stage times that matched the pace set by Poulter/Coetzee. The only exception came on Stage 12, when the former Dakar winner lost more than a minute due to a puncture near the end of the stage. Even so, De Villiers/Swan ended in second place overall.
With two consecutive one-two finishes, the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA crews are at the head of this year’s championship.
Toyota still leading the way
In Class S1600, Toyota stalwart Guy Botterill and navigator Simon Vacy-Lyle not only won their second event on the trot but also recorded the third-fastest time in the overall standings, giving them a career best overall finish of third.
This meant that the Yato Tools-supported Toyota Etios crew moved well clear of the competition in the overall standings, adding to the Toyota clean sweep of the podium on the Sasol Rally.
Next up in the 2016 Championship is the Secunda Motor Rally, which takes place on May 20th and 21st. This event proved to be a firm favourite with spectators and crews alike in 2015, and it promises to be no different this year.