Poulter-Coetzee team in ding-dong battle to take first place at Secunda rally championships

The second Secunda Motor Rally, round three of the 2016 South African National Rally Championship, turned into an epic battle between former champions Leeroy Poulter and his navigator Elvéne Coetzee, and Toyota Gazoo Racing SA teammates Giniel de Villiers and navigator Carolyn Swan.

001-off-my-wheelsBrian Joss – The two Toyota Yaris S2000 crews were embroiled in a ding-dong battle that saw Poulter/Coetzee enter the 14th and final stage of the event with a lead of only 1.2 seconds over De Villiers/Swan. They won the final stage of the event by a single second over their teammates, winning the rally by just 2.2 seconds.

“What a race we had today,” said an ecstatic Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal Glyn Hall after the Secunda Motor Rally. “We made a decision to let the lads race flat out, because we believe it is in the best interest of the sport, and this was the result. But they are giving me grey hair!”

First overall: Leeroy Poulter and Elvene Coetzee driving to a win in their Toyota Yaris S2000. Picture:  Waldo van der Waal, Toyota Gazoo Racing
First overall: Leeroy Poulter and Elvene Coetzee driving to a win in their Toyota Yaris S2000. Picture: Waldo van der Waal, Toyota Gazoo Racing

The two Toyota Gazoo Racing SA crews both had perfectly clean events, with no damage to either car. On the fast, flat stages of the area around Secunda, it came down to mere moments between them, keeping the large crowd of spectators entertained throughout the two-day event.

Behind the two factory teams, youngster Ernie van der Walt, partnered with new navigator Gerhard Snyman, posted the third-fastest overall time of the event, behind the wheel of his Vecto Petroleum Toyota Yaris S2000. Van der Walt was also embroiled in a battle for third place with Ford driver Wilro Dippenaar, but the latter experienced a mechanical problem forcing him to retire. This left Van der Walt comfortably in third place, completing the Toyota clean sweep of the Secunda Motor Rally podium.

In Class S1600, for front-wheel-drive vehicles with engines up to 1,600 cc, it was double defending champions Guy Botterill and navigator Simon Vacy-Lyle who made it three wins in a row, when they took a convincing flag-to-flag victory in their class.

“This year’s Secunda Motor Rally proved extremely entertaining for the fans, and highly successful for Toyota,” concluded Hall. “We couldn’t have asked for a better result, and we are proud that we delivered a spectacular race for the spectators.”

The next event on the 2016 South African National Rally Championship is the very popular Volkswagen Rally, which takes place on the weekend of July 15 and 16 in and around  Port Elizabeth. The spectacular Longmore Forest will again play host to several stages, including the fearsome Culturama, which is considered one of the top rally stages on the South African rally calendar.

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