Toyota takes Manufacturers Award on Sasol Rally
Second and fourth places overall for Johnny Gemmell and Mark Cronje in their Castrol Team Toyota Auris S2000s backed by a fifth place for Hein Lategan in his Pirtek Auris S2000 sealed the important manufacturers’ award for Toyota.
JP Damseaux and Fernando Rueda in their RunX S2000s filled the next two places in the results that saw Toyota S2000s fill five of the top seven places in the S2000 class.
At the front of the field the event was marked by an exciting chase for the lead with Johnny Gemmell eventually finishing just 30 seconds adrift of Enzo Kuun. Gemmell faced a challenging event from the outset as his regular navigator, Scotsman Drew Sturrock, was prevented from travelling down from the UK by the flight ban caused by the volcanic ash cloud over Europe.
Last minute stand-in Phillip Archenout had neither sat next to Gemmell in a car before nor even experienced the speed of an S2000 car before but quickly adapted with Gemmell to the challenge, although they did incur a 20 second penalty early in the event through a timing error. To add to this the pair had a bad break in the mist in the second special stage dropping 22 seconds off the pace through bad visibility.
Mark Cronje, in the second Castrol Team Toyota Auris S2000, made up time on the second day of the event to move up from 6th to 4th. Mark suffered a power steering problem early in the event and had to take lateness in the service park to resolve the problem but rejoined right on the pace winning three special stages along the way.
“We started this event a little on the back foot with Johnny having to pair up with a new navigator and a minor electrical glitch in testing on Mark’s car but on the day both Castrol Auris S2000s showed their pace to bring home a valuable points haul for both the overall and manufacturers’ championships,” says team principal, Glyn Hall. “As ever the Sasol rally provided exceptional entertainment for rally fans and our guests from partners Imperial and the Innovation Group.”