Castrol Team Toyota out of luck in Toyota Cape Dealer Rally
information supplied by: Toyota South Africa - Rally
25 September 2011
25 September 2011
CASTROL TEAM TOYOTA OUT OF LUCK IN TOYOTA CAPE DEALER RALLY
It is rare that a car manufacturer wins the motor sport event it sponsors. And so it was at the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally, which ended at the Killarney motor racing circuit near Cape Town on Saturday.
The factory Castrol and Innovation Group-backed Super 2000 class Toyota Auris rally cars in the hands of Johnny Gemmell and Drew Sturrock and Leeroy Poulter and Elvene Coetzee dominated day one of the two-day penultimate round of the South African Rally Championship.
Gemmell and Scottish co-driver Sturrock, second in last year’s championship, were on track to score their first victory of the season after reaching Friday’s overnight stop at Killarney with a lead of 6,1 seconds over team-mates Poulter and Coetzee in the second Castrol Team Toyota Auris and 15,1 seconds in front of the Ford Fiesta of Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich.
Gemmell powered the Auris to wins in the first two gravel stages and did enough in the two tarmac stages at Killarney to lead the field with the comfort of having his team-mate holding off the rest of the strong field.
As leader of the rally, Gemmell was first away from the start on day two and had the disadvantage of clearing the route. Confusion over a route note saw him miss a turn and lose time on the day’s opening stage five as he found his way back on to the route. Pushing hard to make up the lost time, he hit a yump hard and launched the Auris into the air. The car absorbed an enormous impact as it landed on its nose, which resulted in extensive damage.
Gemmell was still able to complete the stage in the second fastest time, losing 12 seconds to eventual event winners Conrad Rautenbach and Nicolas Klinger (Ford Fiesta). With the restricted service time that followed the team was unable to immediately repair the car for fear of incurring a time penalty for lateness and by the end of stage six Gemmell and Rautenbach were tied in the lead.
On stage seven, the longest stage of the event at 38 km, which Gemmell had won convincingly the previous day, the Toyota suddenly lost power. Gemmell, realising there was a problem with the engine, immediately stopped to avoid any further damage.
Poulter in the meantime had made a cautious start to the final day and finished seventh on stage five. He was back on song on stage six with second fastest time after Rautenbach. Then came the pivotal stage seven. The Toyota suffered a flat wheel just six kilometres into the stage, but the reigning S1600 champion elected to carry on to the end of the stage, driving 32 km on the flat tyre.. He was 10th
quickest and dropped to sixth place, 1 min 22 sec behind leader Rautenbach.
He pushed hard in the final stages to catch the fifth-placed Peugeot 207 of Hein Lategan and Johan van der Merwe, claiming second place behind fellow tarmac specialist Charl Wilken (Ford Fiesta) in the final stage at Killarney. But it was not enough and he had to settle for a disappointing sixth place overall, three seconds behind Lategan and 1 min 19 sec behind event winners Rautenbach and Klinger.
Second were defending champions Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson in a factory Volkswagen Polo, ahead of Wilken and Godrich and privateers Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Carolyn Swan (Team Total Toyota Auris). Team Total’s Mohammed Moosa and Grant Martin made it three Toyotas in the top 10 with a hard-fought eighth place overall.
Privateers Dolf Coetzee and Henry Adams were the sole survivors of the two-wheel drive Super 1400 class in a Toyota Tazz, finishing a creditable 24th
“This was not the result we were expecting for Castrol Team Toyota at the start of the day,” said team principal Glyn Hall. “The cars and drivers were on the pace to win and with just one gravel stage remaining it all slipped away. All the work had been done in opening the road and we’d got the difficult parts behind us.
“Johnny and Leeroy did a great job throughout the event and the cars were working well. The performance is there. We shared in the decision to let Leeroy have a full go in stage seven, to give us an opportunity for a Toyota 1-2 on this Toyota-sponsored rally. Judging by the split times in the stage it was all on track, the guys were flying. I am very surprised about the engine problem. We’ve had 100% reliability for nearly two years. It seems the big impact in stage five caused a problem we didn’t see.
“Now we must regroup and prepare for the final round in Limpopo in October, where we’ll be pushing hard for that elusive second win of the season.
“Our appeal against Johnny’s exclusion from the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally in June for a rules infringement will be heard before the next round and we’re confident he will have his second place in the June event restored. This will put him firmly in line to challenge for the championship.”
The final round is the all-new Polokwane Rally in Limpopo on October 22 and 23.
Toyota Acknowledges Its Sponsors and Specialist Official Supplier and Technical Partners
Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Castrol (lubricants), Innovation Group (specialist provider of software and outsourcing solutions), NGK (sparkplugs), Imperial Group (logistics, car rental, tourism, financial services, vehicle distribution and retail), SKF (bearings), Ferodo (brake pads), Spanjaard (lubricants), Edgecam (machining software specialists) and Donaldson (filtration solutions).
Follow the fortunes of the Castrol Team Toyota rally and off road teams on Twitter, www.twitter.com/@ToyotaLive
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