Toyota Motorsport triumphed at the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally in the Western Cape this weekend as Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan in their Castrol Toyota Auris held off former champions Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson (BP Volkswagen Polo) and Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Sasol Ford Fiesta) to take top honours and the championship lead going into the final two rounds.
While Cronje and Houghton put on dominant displays this weekend, winning eight stages, an error on Friday evening saw the Ford pair lose time to the lead Toyota –leaving them to play catch up on Saturday. Gemmell and Swam held on to get the win, securing the vital points needed to recapture the championship. Forty five seconds behind leaders, Kuun and Hodgson put in their best performance this season, because five seconds behind them were hard-charging Cronje and Houghton.
A minute behind their team-mates, in fourth were Jon Williams and Cobus Vrey in the second Sasol Ford Fiesta, while Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Grant Martin (Team Total Toyota Auris) rounded off the top five. Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries (BP Volkswagen Polo) snatched sixth from Giniel de Villiers and Celeste Snyders (Imperial Toyota Auris) on the final stage by two tenths of a second.
Also among the top ten were Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich (Basil Read Ford Fiesta), Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin (BP VW Polo) and Henk Lategan/Barry White (Q8 Oils VW Polo).
“We’re delighted to have pulled off another win in what has been a challenging event. Regaining the championship lead was our main objective this weekend and Johnny and Carolyn were fast and consistent throughout the rally,” said Toyota team manager Glyn Hall.
The next round, the Polokwane Rally, is the South African Rally championship’s penultimate event and happens in Limpopo on October 6 and 7.