The NTT Tzaneen Rally, Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2023 South African National Rally Championship, proved to be a challenging yet triumphant event for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa’s (TGRSA) National Rally Championship (NRC) team. Held in the picturesque region around Tzaneen in the Limpopo province, the rally tested the team’s mettle and determination across two demanding days of competition.
Round 5: Engine Woes Bring Setback
Round 5, which took place on Friday, August 25, kicked off with high expectations for the TGRSA NRC team. However, the day presented unforeseen challenges for Jono van Wyk and his co-driver Nico Swartz. An engine problem in their Toyota Starlet rally car forced the duo to withdraw from the event, despite their initial determination.
Simultaneously, teammates Mandla Mdakane and Kes Naidoo encountered difficulties of their own. A hard landing in the early stages of the rally caused the engine in their Toyota Starlet to shift within the engine bay. The resultant damages required comprehensive repairs that could not be executed within the tight 30-minute time limit, leading to the team’s decision to withdraw their car as well.
Round 6: Rallying with Resilience
Undeterred by the setbacks of the previous day, the TGRSA NRC team rallied their efforts for Round 6, held on Saturday, August 26. After intensive overnight work, the team managed to repair Mandla Mdakane’s Toyota Starlet, demonstrating their dedication and expertise.
The NTT Tzaneen Rally, acknowledged as one of the toughest rallies in recent memory by Team Manager Guy Botterill, posed considerable challenges in terms of mechanical issues. Despite the adversities faced, Mandla Mdakane and Kes Naidoo showed remarkable resilience and tenacity, which resulted in a second-place finish in their class, a testament to their skill and the unwavering commitment of the TGRSA NRC team.
Looking Ahead: Delmas Rally
As the NTT Tzaneen Rally draws to a close, the TGRSA NRC team is already setting their sights on the next challenge. The Delmas Rally, scheduled for October 20-21, 2023, in the Mpumalanga town, will host Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2023 NRC season. The team remains steadfast in their pursuit of excellence, determined to build on their experiences and successes, and continue their championship journey.