CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Guy Botterill and co-driver Simon Vacy-Lyle took part in this weekend’s Cape Overberg Rally, with the all-new Toyota Starlet rally car making its debut.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing SA crew showed good pace throughout the event but had their points-scoring efforts thwarted by teething issues with the new car.
“It was very quick,” said Botterill after the event, which served as rounds 1 and 2 of the 2022 championship. “However, a couple of niggles meant that we were unable to convert our pace into points at the opening round.”
SECOND-FASTEST – FOR A WHILE
The car was fully built and developed by the Durban-based team – a first for them. With limited time available for testing before the opening rally, Botterill and Vacy-Lyle were cautiously optimistic before the event, but were immediately quick once the rally started.
“We were second-fastest in the opening three stages on Friday, before upping the pace in stages four and five,” Botterill added. “Unfortunately, an errant oil pressure sensor curtailed our progress through Stage 6, and we went tumbling down the order.”
The TGRSA crew were classified eighth at the end of the. started Round 2 on Saturday, but took a puncture on the opening stage. This saw them post only the fifth-fastest time, trailing the leaders by 32.6sec.
“From there we pushed quite hard and won the next three stages,” said Botterill. “This put us back in the lead of the rally, with a 14.9sec lead over Theuns Joubert.”
TEETHING TROUBLE, TOO
Disaster came knocking on Stage 5, however, as a lower control arm broke on the Starlet, leaving the crew stuck in the stage – a disappointing end to an exciting weekend, though the crew remains upbeat about the season.
“Having some teething issues with the new car wasn’t unexpected,” concluded Botterill. “Of course we would have loved to bag our first podium with the new car but we’re confident that we’ll get the last niggles sorted before the next event.”
The next points-scoring opportunity will be the Secunda Rally over June 10-11 in Mpumalanga.