There is an air of expectation building ahead of this weekend’s rally double-header at Lake Umuzi with Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Guy Botterill and co-driver Simon Vacy-Lyle hoping to see their Starlet on the top step of the podium.
The promise shown in the opening two rounds of the 2022 South African National Rally Championship (NRC) held in the Western Cape last month were offset by teething problems that saw them unable to score meaningful points during either day of the event.
As such, the pair will be hunting for significant points at this weekend’s Lake Umuzi Rally, held in the area surrounding the Mpumalanga town of Secunda.
“The new car is clearly very fast, and we haven’t even tapped into its true potential yet,” says Botterill. “We’ve made a number of changes to the car since the last event, and we’re hoping for better reliability this time around.”
The Toyota Starlet rally car was fully built and developed in South Africa, and represents the Durban-based team’s first development of this nature. Despite their relative lack of experience in terms of designing and building a car from scratch, it was immediately evident at the Cape Overberg Rally they have built a highly competitive rally car.
“Now we just need to work on the reliability, which is to be expected with a completely new car,” continues Botterill. “We’ll be pushing hard to make up the ground we lost in the championship during the opening rally, but need to strike a balance between good results and ensuring that we finish both days of the event.”
The Lake Umuzi Rally will represent Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2022 SANRC, with the first round taking place on Friday, June 10. The second round follows on Saturday, utilising different stages.