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Toyota commits to SA rallying

2006-10-09 11:23
They also have exciting plans to bring the most spectacular form of motorsport on the planet closer to the economic heartland of Africa in 2007.

The renamed Toyota Tzaneen Rally will settle no less than 12 rally championships at the end of what has been a thrilling, spectacular and dramatic rally season. The magnificent scenery and forests around the Limpopo town host the rally fraternity over the weekend of 20 and 21 October for what promises to be a gripping encounter.

Toyota is already celebrating their 15th Manufacturer's Championship, with an unprecedented run of nine consecutive titles from 1998 to 2006. Their position as the most successful marque in the sport includes 86 rally victories, up to and including their most recent victory in September 2006.

Toyota has used rallying over the decades to build and promote the brand's attributes of durability, reliability and as exciting cars to drive and own, leading to ever increasing sales of Toyota vehicles.

Brian Eades, General Manager ? Marketing Communication and PR at Toyota South Africa says: "Toyota has a long involvement and deep commitment to rallying in general and the privateer teams, who form the backbone of rallying. Our sponsorship of the Toyota Tzaneen Rally will bring our considerable marketing expertise to the event, further assisting growth of the sport to an ever wider audience".

"I am concerned about the future growth of rallying", Brian added. "To this end, we need to make the sport more accessible to a new market of enthusiasts. We need to have more events near big cities and Toyota is firmly considering, with the Pretoria Motor Club, to hold this event in the Gauteng region next year. The Tzaneen Rally, while a superb event, is extremely expensive for the privateer teams, especially those from the coastal regions".

Leon Botha, Chairman of Pretoria Motor Club, is ecstatic about the future possibilities that Toyota's sponsorship brings. "I am extremely pleased that Toyota and PMC have re-united ? we've had a long and successful association. PMC shares Toyota's vision of marketing and developing rallying, which is the fastest growing spectator sport in the world. We have some very exciting plans for the future of the Toyota PMC Rally".

Going into the final round of the 2006 Sasol SA Rally Championship, Toyota is set to win no less than another five titles to add to the six they have already secured.

Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich lead the class A7 championship challenge, five points ahead of JP Damseaux/Cobus Vrey, both driving the powerful Toyota RunX RSi. Demonstrating the durability inherent in all Toyotas, Eugene Lourens/Derek Jacobs head the class A6 chase in their venerable Toyota Conquest, a single point ahead of exciting newcomers Mark Cronje/Chris Birkin's Toyota RunX RS.

Class N2 is a dead heat at the top of the points log between Kosta Koumantarakis/Barry White and the defending class champion, Mike Nathan/Rikus Smit, both teams behind the wheel of Toyota Corolla RSis. White has secured the class N2 co-driver?s championship.

Titles already secured, besides the prestigious Manufacturer's crown, are class N3 which saw Chris de Wit/Patrick Yende (Toyota RunX RSi) extend their run of championship successes to three-in-a-row, while the defending class A5 championship pairing of Michael Houghton/Bryn Doherty also successfully secured back-to-back titles in their Toyota Tazz.

The Toyota Tzaneen Rally starts at 11h00 on 20 October at the Limpopo Tourism Centre, R71 Gravelotte Road, Tzaneen and ends at the Tzaneen Showgrounds at 15h30 on Saturday, 21 October.

Spectator guides will be available at the start.


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