Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle could clinch the 2018 SA National Rally Championship at the Lake Umuzi Secunda Rally that starts on September 28 – if they finish ahead of AC Potgieter.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Class R2N Toyota Etios crew have now recorded four victories on the trot in the Championship. This has put them in a position where they could potentially end up winning the title with one round of the championship to spare.
“We’ve had a look at the maths,” says Guy Botterill, “and it looks as if we only need to finish ahead of AC Potgieter to clinch the title.”
Botterill/Vacy-Lyle have won all but one of the five rounds thus far, having failed to finish the opening event of the season. This gave them 64 championship points, with Potgieter (Volkswagen Polo) their nearest competitor at 57 points.
“But remember, in rallying each driver has to drop the points from one event,” explains Botterill. “So even though the gap between us and AC is only seven points at the moment, our worst result is a DNF, so we don’t lose any points when we drop it.”
Potgieter’s worst finish was worth nine points, effectively increasing the gap between the two crews to 16 points – which just happens to be the number of points you score for a win.
“So, if AC wins the event and we have a DNF, we’ll be tied for the championship with just the final round to go. However, if we finish anywhere ahead of him, he won’t be able to catch us during the last round, even if we have a DNF then,” says Botterill.
With the mathematics in place, there is still the small matter of a rally to do, and the Lake Umuzi Secunda Rally is set for next weekend, September 28th and 29th. As in the past, the event will be centered in the area around the Lake Umuzi Waterfront in Secunda, with the event starting at 15:00 on Friday, September 28th, from the Eastvaal Ford/Mazda dealership in Secunda.
The Friday of the event will see the crews tackle four stages, with the final stage taking place after dark – and the crews tackling it in reverse road order. The action restarts at 8:00 on Saturday, September 29th, with eight stages forming the meat of the rally.
The Lake Umuzi Secunda Rally has become a firm crowd favourite over the last few years, and it forms part of a festival hosted by the town each year. Spectators can enjoy the rally, and take in the festival at the same time.
Entry to all areas is free of charge, and Secunda is within easy driving distance from both Johannesburg and Pretoria.
“We didn’t win in Secunda last year, so we’d really like to perform well this time out,” concludes Botterill. “A win would seal the championship for us, making it five in a row – and nothing would please us more.”