The disappointment of the early cancellation of the previous round of the 2019 South African National Rally Championship (NRC) in July, which rained out on the second day after heavy overnight rains in the Eastern Cape, makes Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Guy Botterill and navigator Simon Vacy-Lyle even more determined for Round 5 this weekend (Friday and Saturday 23 and 24 August) in and around the KwaZulu-Natal town of Dalton, less than 50 km northeast of the provincial capital.
Classified second overall after the cancellation of Day 2 of the Baywest National Rally a month ago – their finishing position after Day 1 – Botterill and Vacy-Lyle are hoping for an unassailable lead if they can assume their winning ways this weekend.
“After our three consecutive victories and the second in the Algoa Bay Rally – not by our own doing, but because of weather conditions that compromised the safety of all competitors – we’ve gone to extra lengths to make sure we have a mechanically sound car,” says Botteril. “If we manage to win this event, it will be very difficult for others to beat us in the championship. So, it is very important that we keep it together and win this event.”
Contrary to general belief, the Zane Rencken National Rally is not a home event for Durbanites Botteril and Vacy-Lyle.
“We’ve never raced in this area of KZN, and although everybody thinks it is my home-town event, I’ve never really driven up there and we never practise up there either; it’s a fairly new event for us and it will be new for the other competitors as well,” says Botteril.
Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team manager Glyn Hall says the new rally promises to be a great event. “The organisers have really come together to produce a great rally and we’re all eager to let the Class R2N Toyota Etios continue its winning ways. Simon is also very keen; he needs a win because he missed out on the third round with the birth of his baby girl.”
Botteril says they are hungry for the win. “We’re going out there to do the best we can and hopefully on Saturday we can greet the crowd from the top step of the podium.”
The Zane Rencken National Rally 2019 starts on Friday at the Dalton Agricultural Hall with all 11 stages run on Saturday, starting with Stage 1 at 07:40. Stages 1 to 5 will each be run twice, with Stage 3 run three times (as SS3, SS8 and SS11). Travelling distances between the service park and spectator points on the stages are compact, so rally enthusiasts will be able to follow all the action.