The forests of Mpumalanga will come alive this weekend to the sound of rally cars as the season finale, the TRACN4 Rally takes to the fast forest stages between Belfast and Dullstroom.
It is certainly not yet over with series leaders Chris Coertse and navigator Greg Godrich and their new NRC1 Rally Technic Mazda2, who start the event just 64 points ahead of their nearest rivals, Theuns Joubert and Schalk van Heerden in the Salom Labour Toyota Yaris.
There are 74 points on offer for the double-header, meaning Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle who are third in their Gazoo Racing Toyota Starlet and 68 points adrift could stand a mathematical chance..
“We’ve prepared the car well for this weekend,” said Botterill in the build-up to this weekend’s Rounds 11 and 12. “We finally feel that we’re on top of things, and even though we’ve had our fair share of teething problems with the new car, I’m confident that we’re in a good position for this weekend.”
At the same time, teammates Mandla Mdakane and co-driver Kes Naidoo, will be campaigning the team’s second car in the form of a Toyota Auris S2000. The car has served as an entry to the sport for Mdakane, but reliability issues have plagued his attempts thus far.
“We’re hoping for a clean run this weekend,” said the Johannesburg-based driver. “We’ve shown good pace over single stages earlier in the year, but haven’t had the opportunity to string it all together. With a bit of luck, we’ll get that chance in Dullstroom.”
The weather in Dullstroom for this weekend is predicted to be mild and dry, in stark contrast to Botterill/Vacy-Lyle’s last outing for TGRSA, which was in extremely muddy and wet conditions, during the Parys 400 – final round of the 2022 South African Rally-Raid Series (SARRC), where they finished in fourth place during the final round.
This year’s TRACN4 National Rally will kick off with a ceremonial start at the service park at Lakenvlei, just outside Dullstroom. This will be followed by seven stages in the area forming Round 11 of the season. Saturday will see Round 12, the final of the season, start at the oval in Dullstroom itself, again followed by seven stages bringing the 2022 NRC to a close.