THE 2016 South African National Rally Championship title fight is over, as Toyota Gazoo Racing SA wrapped things up on their home rally, the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally.
Leeroy Poulter/Elvéne Coetzee finished in second place behind team-mates Giniel de Villiers and Carolyn Swan, bagging enough points to close out the championship with one round to spare. Theuns Joubert/Mari van der Walt (Toyota Auris NRC4) finished third overall.
"It was a great result for us this weekend," said Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team principal Glyn Hall from the podium ceremony at the Malmesbury Sports Club, "with Leeroy and Elvéne winning the 2016 title, and Giniel and Carolyn taking a well-deserved victory here in the Swartland."
De Villiers/Swan proved to be in a class of their own in the Cape — also the scene of De Villiers’ first rally victory, when he won the event in 2014 together with navigator Greg Godrich. This year De Villiers/ Swan powered their way to victory by winning all but two of the rally’s 12 stages. Victory on stages 6 and 12 went to team-mates Poulter/Coetzee.
"We had a really good event," said De Villiers. "The Toyota Yaris ran faultlessly, and we had clean runs through almost every stage. It feels great to win again."
It is rather tough at the top, judging by the manner in which the championship lead seems to be changing hands almost every other race in this year’s Formula 1 season. Driven under night sky, the Singapore leg of this year’s season proved to be a rather interesting one for the teams. With a number of strategies playing out, Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) emerged on the top of the podium and regained the championship lead from team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who finished third behind Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing). Things are looking mighty interesting leading to the Malaysian Grand Prix taking place next month.
The 6 Hours WEC (World Endurance Championship) race took place in Austin, Texas where the trio of Bernhard/ Webber/Hartley (Porsche 919 hybrid) once again took the first podium spot in the LMP1 class. They were followed by the Audi R18 of Di Grassi/ Duval/Jarvis in second. The team of Sarrazin/Conway/ Kobayashi (Toyota TS050 hybrid) came third.
In the LMP2 class, Menzes/ Lapierre/Richelmi (Alpine 460 Nissan) took the first position, followed in second spot by the team of Gonzales/Albuquerque/Senna (Ligier JS p2 Nissan). Third place was clinched by the team of Minassian/Mediani (BR01-Nissan).
Meanwhile, the LMGTE Pro class yielded the Thim/ Sorensen (Aston Martin Vantage V8) duo as the class winners. They were trailed in second by Bruni/Calado (Ferrari 488 GTE), while Rigon/ Bird (Ferrari 488 GTE) rounded off the third podium spot.
The LMGTE AM class saw the trio of Dala Lana/Lamy/ Lauda (Aston Martin Vantage V8) take first position, while the combination of Ried/Henzler/ Camathias (Porsche 911 RSR) finished second overall. Third position went to Viljoen/ Ragues/Taylor (Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06).
It was the eighth leg of the Rally Cross Championship this past weekend, which took place in Barcelona, Spain where Mattias Ekstrom (EKS Audi S1) took the laurels. He was followed in second spot by Timmy Hansen (Team Peugeot-Hansen), while Johann Kristoffersson (Volkswagen RX, Sweden) came third overall.