Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton prevailed in their S2000 Sasol Ford Fiesta to take top honours in the Toyota Dealer Gauteng Rally, the fourth round of the South African Rally Championship, at the weekend. The event ended in tragedy for the Castrol Toyota Team, though, which suffered numerous penalites that saw both Toyota team entries bumped down the final results' list.
Cronje and Houghton’s pace were undoubted over the weekend – they took a total of six stage victories out of the 14 – but it was second-placed Johnny Gemmel and Drew Sturrock from Toyota that got the bad end of the rulebook when they were penalised for corner cutting. The two minutes of time added to their original 58,9 seconds behind the leaders eventually saw their Auris S2000 in fifth place.
This drop saw privateers Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich in the Basil Read/Bizhub Ford Fiesta promoted to a well-deserved second place after their efforts saw them dominate Saturday’s run with six stage wins and a single stage victory on Friday.
The final podium spot was claimed by defending champions Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson in an S2000 Polo Vivo – who were 50,8 seconds ahead of VW team-mates Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries. The privateer Pirtek Peugeot 207 of Hein Lategan and Johan van der Merwe finished in sixth – the best result for the newcomer Peugeot so far this season.
Leeroy Poulter and Elvene Coetzee started strong in their S2000 Auris, taking two stage wins on Friday to start Saturday second overall. Brake problems saw the duo fade toward the end of the event and they eventually rolled on the final special stage at the RallyStar Motorsport Academy near Bapsfontein. They finished seventh, only to be demoted to tenth after the corner-cutting penalties were imposed
The S2000 Grandmark International VW Polo of Nicholas Ryan and Armand du Toit was awarded seventh. In eighth place was the second Pirtek Peugeot of Visser du Plessis and Gerhard Snyman, while privateers Japie van Niekerk and Simon Vacy-Lyle in the New Africa Developments S2000 VW Polo were awarded ninth.
The next round of the South African Rally Championship is the Volkswagen Rally on 15 and 16 July in Port Elizabeth and surrounding areas.