The 2016 South African National Rally Championship moves to the Eastern Cape for Round 4, the Volkswagen Rally, on 15 and 16 July. And Toyota Gazoo Racing SA in association with Total Quartz is poised to tackle some of the most spectacular and challenging rally stages on the calendar. Both Leeroy Poulter and Giniel de Villiers will be in action, behind the wheels of their highly reliable Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Yaris S2000 rally cars.
“The Volkswagen Rally is one of the highlights of the rally season,” says Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall. “The stages in the Longmore Forest are undeniably fast and technical, and demand the utmost from not only the crews, but also the cars.”
In addition to the quality of the stages, the weather often also plays a role in the windy city of Port Elizabeth. The last number of Volkswagen Rallies saw waterlogged stages that forced the crews to pick their way through the Longmore Forest with great care.
After three rounds in the 2016 season, former champions Poulter and navigator Elvéne Coetzee lead the standings by 12 points over teammates De Villiers and his navigator Carolyn Swan. Privateer Toyota driver, Ernie van der Walt, is in third place.
In Class S1600, for front-wheel-drive vehicles with engines up to 1,600 cc, defending champion Guy Botterill has a healthy lead of 21 points, driving his locally-built Toyota Etios S1600.
“Leeroy and Elvéne remain unbeaten in the 2016 rally championship, and as a matter of fact, Leeroy is unbeaten so far in both rallying and cross-country racing,” concludes Hall. “With that said, the Volkswagen Rally demands respect and diligent preparation, and while we always work towards a good result, we won’t take anything for granted in the Eastern Cape.”
The 2016 Volkswagen Rally takes place on the weekend of July 15th and 16th, and features an innovative new layout. The number of Longmore stages have been reduced, though the event retains the most challenging and best-known stages, such as King’s View and Culturama. However, spectators will have easy access to the stages around the P.E. Oval.