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2009 Zimbabwe Rally Results

NEWS RELEASE No. 1  - Saturday 29th August 2009 13h00 

Nineteen-year-old Chase Attwell took an early lead in the 2009 Toyota Zimbabwe Challenge Rally, with a slim lead over Zambia’s Mohammed Essa at lunchtime on Saturday.

            Attwell and co-driver Greg Stead managed fastest time in the opening super special stage at Donnybrook on Friday afternoon, and continued to lead the field of 17 competitors after the six stages of Saturday morning.

            Driving a Subaru Impreza, Attwell finished the Donnybrook stage in 5 minutes 22 seconds, ahead of Gary Flack and Rodney Kilpert in their Mitsubishi Evo on 5:24. FIA African Rally Championship leaders Jamie Whyte and Phil Archenoul were third fastest on 5:27, followed by Craig Green and Mike Exton on 5:29 and Zambia’s Muna Singh and Dave Sihoka on 5.31. Lola Verlaque, one half of South Africa’s ‘rally chicks’ team, made it around donnybrook in 5:35.

            All 17 competitors started the Saturday section in the farming area around Ruwa, but by lunchtime two vehicles were out – Richard Robinson and Colin Schreiber’s Mitsubishi Evo because of overheating and Ian Howden and Tony Rowley’s Toyota Celica because of mechanical problems. Before resuming for the afternoon stages, Attwell’s total time was 52:07, just ahead of Essa’s 53:41 – each them entrants in the Pirelli Star Driver championship that could propel them in to the Junior World Rally Championship and each keen to outpace the other in this final leg of the African Rally Championship for 2009.

            Sunday’s rallying will be in the farming and forest area around Norton Country Club, followed by a closing super stage at lunchtime in the open area just south of Rainbow Towers in Harare, an ideal spectator viewing venue. A ceremonial finish and podium prizegiving will end the three-day event, which is Zimbabwe’s premier motorsport activity and is this year sponsored by Toyota Zimbabwe.

            Drivers from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa are taking part and FIA ARC competitors Jamie Whyte and Muna Singh are each hoping he will finish and that his opponent will fail to do so, allowing for a championship win for the year.



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