The Toyota Gazoo Racing SA rally stars Guy Botterill and navigator Simon Vacy-Lyle rounded of their South African National Rally (NRC) championship in fine style by making a clean sweep in the TracN4 Rally held on 27 and 28 November 2020.
Winning Rounds 5 and 6, the pair continued their unbeaten run in the 2020 season in their Class R4 Toyota Etios and took the shortened season with a perfect score of six out of six victories.
Driving their four-wheel-drive Etios, the pair set off on their winning ways where they finished the Delmas double-header last month – on the top step of the podium, sealing the 2020 title in the process.
The defending 2019 champions claimed their 2020 season after winning Friday’s race, the fifth round of the second Mpumalanga double-header, and went into the event on Saturday as the new 2020 champions.
“That makes it seven championships in a row and four consecutive South African National Championships – quite phenomenal for us as a small, privately-run team, albeit with the support and sponsorship of Toyota Gazoo Racing SA,”
said an elated Botteril on Friday night, with one round still to go.
“To maintain and service these cars is a huge task and to have the TGRSA crew behind us, is phenomenal. It allowed Simon and me to win our fourth national championship in a row, which is not an easy task.”
With all the pressure off their shoulders, the team took to the route on Saturday with a slightly more relaxed approach, not wanting to take any risks and damage the car unneccessarily.
“We had a good day on Saturday back in the forests, and the car ran like clockwork, although it was a bit tricky as it rained overnight and there was a lot of mist around,”
the newly-crowned driver’s champion said.
“Inside the forest it was very wet and slippery on an awkward kind of clay in some corners where other corners didn’t have it.”
And just to remind the team that the going is not always plain sailing, they suffered a puncture on the last stage with 9 km to go.
“We decided to keep going, which was the right call, because our lead was only 1 minute 23 seconds and we would have struggled to change a wheel in that time. We kept on going and made it to the end, winning the stage!”
“Simon was fantastic on the notes all weekend and besides the broken rim because of racing with a flat tyre, the car doesn’t have a scratch,”
Botteril/Vacy-Lyle hung onto their lead in the last stage and in spite of taking it easy on three wheels, increased the gap over runners-up Theuns Joubert/Charl Peskin (Toyota Yaris) by crossing the finishing line 1 min 44 seconds ahead of the pack.
“With six wins in six events, we’re all very happy and we’re really looking forward to 2021 after a break over the year-end holidays, and we’ll give it a full go again next year!”
said an elated Botterill after completing the event.
“Apart from the flat, the car never missed a beat, and we managed to control our pace to the end.”
For Botterill/Vacy-Lyle the final two rounds cemented their position as the rally leaders on the South African rally scene.
“Now we are looking forward to the Africa Rally Championship early in the new year, but first a relaxed year-end break!”
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