Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Guy Botterill and navigator Simon Vacy-Lyle secured yet another South African National Rally Championship, when they won the Zane Rencken National Rally on Saturday, 24 August 2019. This is the pair’s third consecutive overall national title, adding to the three Class S1600 titles they won before their first national championship – all behind the wheel of their (now) Class R2N Toyota Etios 1600.
“It is an unbelievable feeling to make it three titles in a row,” said an overjoyed Botterill after the event. “We’ve had a really good season this year, and wrapping up the championship with two rounds to go is testimony to our technical crew, as well as our reliable Etios.”
The pair started their 2019 campaign with a flag-to-flag victory on the Cape Overberg Grand Prix; and followed up with another win in the Rally of South Africa, in the Lowveld. The King Price Rally in Gauteng was up next, and saw Botterill/Vacy-Lyle achieve a hat-trick of victories.
“The only blip on our season came when the Baywest National Rally, down in P.E., was cut short due to heavy rains,” said Botterill. “We were in second place after some issues on Day 1, but were just 8 sec off the lead and ready to attack on Day 2. But then the heavens opened, and we had to settle for second place.”
Victory in Round 5, the recent Zane Rencken National Rally, saw the pair clinch the title with two rounds to spare.
“It was a close-run thing, in the end, as AC Potgieter was in second place right until the final stage,” explained Botterill after claiming victory. “Unfortunately, he had an off into the sugar cane, lost some time, and received a penalty on top of that – which meant that he wasn’t in title contention anymore.”
Second place went to Jono van Wyk and navigator Barry White (Ford Fiesta) in the end; while Chris Coertse and Greg Godrich, in their Mazda 2, rounded out the podium.
The Lake Umuzi Rally in Secunda is next on the calendar, and is scheduled for the weekend of 27 and 28 September, 2019.