TGRSA SET TO TOUGH IT OUT IN THE EASTERN CAPE THIS WEEKEND, AS BOTTERILL/VACY-LYLE TAKE ON THE ALGOA RALLY
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA’s Guy Botterill and co-driver Simon Vacy-Lyle got their 2022 championship campaign back on track by winning both Rounds 3 and 4 of the season last month. Now, all attention turns to the Eastern Cape town of Jeffrey’s Bay, which plays host to Rounds 5 and 6 of the championship this weekend.
The Algoa Rally, as the event is now officially known, has been run since 1983, and has a reputation as one of the toughest events on the calendar. However, the rally also offers some of the best stages of the year, and this year will see the crews return to the Longmore Forest, where stages such as King’s View and Sinkdam have seen many spectacular battles unfold over the years.
“We are very excited to be heading back to Longmore,” says Botterill, ahead of this weekend’s rally. “We missed out on this event in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID, but with the pandemic abating, we are very pleased to see the event back on the calendar.”
The TGRSA crew are campaigning an all-new, locally built and developed Toyota Starlet this season, and while the car had some teething issues early in the year, Botterill/Vacy-Lyle made it look easy by winning both days of the previous event.
“With that said, we’re not taking anything for granted, and we’ve put a lot of effort into the preparation of the car for this weekend,” continues Botterill. “We also know that the stages on this event are unforgiving, and even the smallest mistake can result in heavy punishment, so we have to find the balance between outright pace and a cautious approach.”
Botterill and Vacy-Lyle won this event together in 2018, adding their names to an illustrious list of Toyota crews who have won here in the past. Names like Leeroy Poulter, Johnny Gemmell, Mark Cronje and Serge Damseaux are synonymous with South African rallying, and the TGRSA crew would love to add a second win to their tally of Algoa Rally victories.
“This really is the big one,” concludes Botterill. “Winning the Algoa Rally isn’t easy – there are a lot of crews trying, and the weather can often play a deciding role. Even so, it would be great to add more wins to the Starlet’s tally too.”
The 2022 Algoa Rally will start from the Fountain’s Mall in Jeffrey’s Bay, before heading into the Longmore Forest via the opening stage, Melon Up. Five more stages will follow on Friday, which constitutes Round 5 of the 2022 championship. Saturday will see the crews do battle over a total of five stages for Round 6 of the season.