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2012 South Africa Press Releases

 

 

Mark

 

Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton from South Africa fly their Ford Fiesta S2000 rally car to victory in the Sasol Rally – Round 2 of the 2012 FIA African Rally Championship

 

Essa

23 year old Mohammed Essa from Zambia in action to take the lead of the ARC series so far. He is navigated by Greg Stead from Zimbabwe.

davite

Giancarlo Davite and Sylvia Vindevogel from Rwanda in action during the Sasol Rally South Africa.

SASOL RALLY REPORT FINAL - Saturday 21st April 2012 - 20h00

Sasol Ford’s Cronje and Robin Houghton win Sasol Rally

Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Sasol Ford Fiesta) continued their good form in the South African Rally Championship when they followed up their recent win in the opening round in KwaZulu-Natal with victory in the Sasol Rally, which ended in Nelspruit in the Mpumalanga Lowveld on this afternoon.

It was a hard-fought win for the current championship leaders, who were involved in a titanic battle with Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan (Castrol Team Toyota Auris) throughout the two day 600-kilometre event, just as they were in the KZN rally.

Gemmell and Swan led Cronje and Houghton by 14,3 seconds at the end of Friday’s six special stages, with each winning two stages during the day. Cronje chased down his arch rival until just 0,8 seconds separated the Toyota from the Ford at the end of stage 11. Gemmell responded on the 16-kilometre stage 12 by increasing his lead to 3,4 seconds.

Stage 13 was the last of the recognized gravel racing stages before the final ceremonial stage over just 500 metres in the Lowveld Showgrounds arena and it was clear that whoever won this stage would likely win the rally. Both crews, who were in a class of their own throughout the weekend, put in a supreme effort and it was Cronje and Houghton who took the honours, 5,2 seconds ahead of Gemmell and Swan to clinch their second successive rally victory by the slim margin of 3,1 seconds. Cronje won four of Saturday’s stages with Gemmell taking the honours in two.

Gemmell was to rue two slow punctures at the end of stages two and nine, while Cronje did well to overcome a 20-second penalty at the end of day one, as a result of clocking in late at the final control after damaging his Ford’s sub-frame. This cost him the lead at the end of the day.

A distant third overall were Dutch driver Hans Weijs Jnr and Belgian co-driver Bjorn Degandt (BP Volkswagen Polo), who had their best outing so far in their first year in the SA championship, finishing 1 min 37,4 sec behind the winners. Fourth was the Basil Reed Ford Fiesta of multiple former champions Jan Habig and Robert Paisley, who were a further 29 seconds in arrears. They in turn were 1 min 11,4 sec ahead of fifth-placed Jon Williams and Cobus Vrey in a second Sasol Ford Fiesta.

Sixth overall and first in the S2000 Challenge category for older spec four-wheel drive cars were Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin (BP VW Polo), who delivered their best performance yet in their first year in the top class of rallying. Second in the challenge and ninth overall were 17-year-old Henk Lategan and Barry White (Q8 Oils VW Polo), ahead of Werner Koekemoer and Etienne Lourens (Toyota RunX), who finished 12th overall.

Making up the top 10 overall were Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Grant Martin (Team Total Toyota Auris) in eighth place and Japie van Niekerk and Gerhard Snyman (New Africa Developments VW Polo) in 10th place.

Punctures on the rocky roads in the York Timbers forests in the Sabie, Graskop, and Hendriksdal areas took their toll of the 40-strong field, with several top crews among those who lost time completing stages on flat wheels or forced to stop in a stage to change a wheel.

Among these were last year’s winners Leeroy Poulter and Elvene Coetzee (Castrol Team Toyota), who lost nearly four minutes on stage three on Friday and lost more time in stage 11 on Saturday. They eventually finished 11th, 8 min 37 sec behind the winners.

Former champions Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries (BP VW Polo) recovered well from a puncture delay in stage one on Friday to climb steadily through the field to finish seventh overall, 4 min 34 sec in arrears.

Among notable retirements in the premier S2000 class were former champions Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson, who had the misfortune to suffer a flat battery within kilometres of the final stage in Nelspruit. They, too, had been delayed by a puncture on stage 3 on Friday and had started Saturday’s stages in 15th place overall.

The S1600 class and the Two Wheel Drive Championship category was won by Morne van Rensburg and Rikus Fourie (VW Polo), who were somewhat surprised to find themselves in the lead after starting the final day in fifth place. Overnight leaders Ashley Haigh-Smith and Craig Parry (Castrol Ford Fiesta R2) dominated the class until losing six minutes with a flat wheel on stage 9. This dropped them to second behind Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle (Yato Tools Toyota RunX). They regained the lead when Botterill retired with a dropped valve in the Toyota’s engine only to retire themselves with a broken driveshaft.

Also casualties in the two wheel drive class were former champion Craig Trott and Robbie Coetzee (Team Total Toyota RunX), who dropped out of third place on Saturday with a broken driveshaft. Nic van der Westhuizen and Henry Dearlove (SA Earthworks Ford Fiesta R2) had been third at the end of the first day, only to retire with a broken oil cooler on Saturday’s first stage.

The second round of the FIA African Rally Championship, which ran in conjunction with the second round of the SA championship and was won by Cronje and Houghton from Habig and Paisley with Williams and Vrey third overall. The leading visiting crew of Mohammed Essa of Zambia and Greg Stead of Zimbabwe (Subaru Impreza WRX) finished fourth ahead of fellow visitors Giancarlo Davite and Sylvia Vindevogel, also in a Subaru Impreza. Essa was 13th overall in the SA championship event, one place ahead of Davite.

NEWSFLASH -Sasol Rally finish Mark Cronje wins in last stage upset.
1. Mark Cronje 2:12:18.1
2. John Gemmel +2.8
3. Hans Weijs +1:36.3
4. Jan Habig +2:05.8
5. Jon Williams +3:18.0
6. Gugu Zulu +4:29.4
7. Hergen Fekken +4:33.9
8. JP Damseaux 4:39.5
9. Henrik Van Neirk +4:53.4

Click here to download Day 1 Results

Sasol Rally - Saturday 21st April 2012 - Update after SS12
1. Johnny Gemmel   1:59.12.4
2. Mark Cronje + 3.4
3. Hans Weijs +1:22.0
4. Jan Habig +1:54.5
5. Jon Williams +3:02.3
6. Gugu Zulu +4:06.2
7. Jean-Pierre Damseaux +4:17.5
8. Hergen Fekken +4:21.0
9. Japie Van Nierek +4:29.3

SASOL RALLY - Friday 20th April 2012 -  End of Day 1 report

Castrol Team Toyota’s Gemmell and Swan lead Sasol Rally after day one

The 21st Sasol Rally got off to a great start for Castrol Team Toyota when Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan led in their Toyota Auris at the end of the first day after 109 kilometres of timed racing in the York Timbers forests around the Mpumalanga Lowveld towns of Graskop and Sabie.

They finished 14,3 seconds ahead of the Sasol Ford Fiesta pair of Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton. Gemmell and Cronje dominated proceedings all day, just as they did in the Total Rally, with Gemmell winning stages one and three (a fast and stony 29-kilometre tester that was repeated) and Cronje winning stages two and four (a 24-kilometre stage repeated).

Cronje actually completed the six stages 5,7 seconds ahead of Gemmell, but was penalised 20 seconds for clocking in two minutes late at the final control as a result of damage to the Ford sustained in the final stage.

Third overall was the BP Volkswagen Polo of Dutch driver Hans Weijs Jnr and Belgian co-driver Bjorn Degandt, who impressed by arriving at the final control in White River 42,9 seconds behind the leaders in only their second rally on South African soil.

Veteran Jan Habig, multiple former national champion, who this year switched from the factory VW team to the privateer Basil Read Ford Fiesta team with former co-driver champion Robert Paisley, was an impressive fourth, 42 seconds behind Weijs and Degandt and 48 seconds ahead of the second Sasol Ford of Jon Williams and Cobus Vrey. Williams and Vrey won the day’s penultimate stage, a one-kilometre night-time dash in front of thousands of excited spectators in the streets of Sabie.

Sixth was the semi-works pair of Japie van Niekerk and Gerhard Snyman (New Africa Developments VW Polo) 2 min 16,3 seconds behind the leaders. They were the winners of the final, one-kilometre stage through the streets of White River, also packed with thousands of appreciative fans standing shoulder to shoulder in the dark around the one-kilometre route.

Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin (BP VW Polo) finished seventh overall and first in the S2000 Challenge for older-spec cars (all the cars ahead of him were in the premier S2000 class for four-wheel drive machines). Eighth was the Team Total Toyota Auris of Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Grant Martin, 15,3 seconds ahead of the second finisher in the S2000 Challenge, 17-year-old Henk Lategan and Barry White (Q8 Oils VW Polo). Third were the brothers Stassen, Joos and Danie, in a Subaru Impreza WRX, who finished 17th overall.

Making up the top 10 was the BP VW Polo of former champions Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries, who finished 3 min 25 sec behind the leaders and a minute ahead of Leeroy Poulter and Elvene Coetzee in the second Castrol Team Toyota Auris. Poulter’s deficit was 4 min 29 sec. Both were delayed by punctures, Fekken for two minutes on stage one and Poulter for three and a half minutes on stage three.

The second round of the FIA African Rally Championship is running in conjunction with the second round of the SA championship and includes two visiting crews as well as six SA crews. Leading after day one are Cronje and Houghton (Ford) by 1 min 4,9 sec from Habig/Paisley (Ford) and 1min 53,3 sec ahead of Williams/Vrey (Ford). Zambian Mohammed Essa and Zimbabwean Greg Stead (Subaru Impreza WRX) and Ruwandans Giancarlo Davite and Sylvia Vindevogel (Subaru Impreza WRX) are fourth and sixth respectively, sandwiching the class S1600 Castrol Ford Fiesta R of Ashley Haigh-Smith and Craig Parry, who lead the Two Wheel Drive Championship category.

Second in S1600, 2 min 41 sec behind the leaders, were Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle (Yato Tools Toyota RunX). Third were Nic van der Westhuizen and Henry Dearlove (SA Earthworks Ford Fiesta R2).

Tomorrow’s action starts in Nelspruit at 07.00 and ends at the Lowveld Showgrounds in Nelspruit after 16.00.

ARC positions after Day 1:
1. Mark Cronje
2. Jan Habig
3. Jon Williams
4. Mohammed Essa
5. Andy Haigh Smith
6. Giancarlo Davite



SASOL RALLY REPORT - Friday 20th April 2012 - 19h10

Spectators on the Sasol Rally treated to world class action

The Sasol Rally, round two of the South African and FIA African Rally Championships, attracted a big entry of 40 competitors including teams from Zimbabwe and Ruwanda. The rally, which will be held over a route of some 200 kilometres consisting of 14 timed special stages in the forests around the Mpumalanga Lowveld towns of Sabie, Graskop, White River and Nelspruit, started in Sabie this morning and ends in Nelspruit tomorrow afternoon

After the first four special stage of the day the Sasol Ford Fiesta pair of Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton held a narrow lead of the Castrol Team Toyota Auris pairing of Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan.

A mere 13.2 seconds separated the top two teams at the second service park of the day.

Dutch driver Hans Weijs and Belgium co-driver Bjorn Degandt in the BP Volkswagen Polo were 42.3 seconds behind the leaders while Jan Habig and Robert Paisley moved up into fourth place only 49 seconds behind the VW pair and 1.31.4 seconds behind the leaders.

Fifth overall is the second Sasol Ford Fiesta of John Williams and Cobus Vrey two minutes 23 seconds behind the leaders.
Sixth is the New African Developments VW Polo pairing of Japie van Niekerk and Gerhard Snyman two minutes 29.5 seconds in arrears.

Jean Pierre Damseaux and Grant Martin Castrol Team Toyota Auris are seventh - two minutes 47.9 seconds behind, Making up the top 10 are Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries in a BP Volkswagen Polo three minutes 38.8 seconds behind the leaders after a flat rear wheel lost them over ten minutes in stage one, Leeroy Poulter / Elvéne Coetzee (Castrol Team Toyota Auris) plus four minutes 41.6 seconds, lost three minutes 38 seconds with a puncture on stage three, and Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson (BP Volkswagen Polo) plus four minutes 41.6 seconds.

Among the retirements are Hein Lategan and Johan v.d. Merwe SAC Peugeot 207 who were forced to retire when the sub frame bolt came loose.

Leading the S2000 Challenge for earlier speced S2000 cars is the BP Volkswagen Polo of Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin who are eighth overall . Second in the S2000 Challenge and ninth overall is Henk Lategan/Barry White Q8 Oils Volkswagen Polo who have had a clean run so far. Third are Werner Koekemoer / Etienne Lourens (Toyota RunX). .

Namibian Wilro Dippenaar and Morne du Toit (Toyota RunX) broke a gearbox on the open section from stage four to the service area while leading the S2000 Challenge and are out of the rally.

Ashley Haigh-Smith and Craig Parry Castrol Ford Fiesta R, after a trouble free run are currently leading Class S1600 , followed by Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle (Yato Tools Toyota RunX), with Nic vd Westhuizen/ Henry Dearlove (SA Earthworks Ford Fiesta R) third. Fourth are Morne J van Rensburg and Rikus Fourie (VW Polo). Craig Trott and Robbie Coetzee (Team Total Toyota RunX) round out the top five. Trott and Coetzee lost one and a half minutes after having to drive the last 12 kilometres on flat wheel.

Ahead of the surviving competitors lie two short tarmac stages in Sabie and Whiteriver which traditionally draws thousands of excited fans who throng the pavements of the two Lowveld towns.

Ends


SASOL RALLY REPORT - Friday 20th April 2012 - 14h50


Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton early leaders on Sasol Rally

This year’s Sasol Rally, the second round of both the South African Rally Championship and the FIA African Rally Championship got off to a blistering start in Sabie this morning.

After just two of today’s four gravel stages Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Sasol Ford Fiesta) are a scant 8.1 seconds ahead of Castrol Team Toyota Auris pairing Johnny Gemmell / Carolyn Swan. Gemmell lost almost 8 seconds with a slow puncture towards the end of special stage two. Having a good run in only their second event on South African soil are the BP Volkswagen pair of Hans Weijs/Bjorn Degandt who are 17.4 seconds behind the leaders. A further 23 seconds back is the second of the factory Toyotas of Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee. Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson (BP Volkswagen Polo) are fifth just one second behind Poulter/Coetzee.

Punctures delayed Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich in the Basil Read Ford Fiesta and Hergen Fekken/ Pierre Arries in another BP Volkswagen Polo on stage one and John Williams/ Cobus Vrey (Sasol Ford Fiesta) on stage two.

The Team Total Toyota Auris of Mohammed Moosa and Andre Vermeulen were able to continue after rolling in special stage one.

Leading the S1600 class for two wheel driver cars are Ashley Haigh-Smith and Craig Parry (Castrol Ford Fiesta) one minute 27.7 seconds behind Guy Botterill / Simon Vacy-Lyle (Yato Tools Toyota RunX). Former champion Craig Trott/Robbie Coetzee in the Team Total Toyota Run X is third at this stage two minutes 17.2 seconds behind the leaders.

The two international competitors in the African Rally Championship which is being run in conjunction with the SA round started 18th and 19th on the road and are both running strongly. Mohammed Essa of Zambia and Greg Stead of Zimbabwe (Subaru Impreza WRX) are lying 16th and Giancarlo Davite/ Sylvia Vindevogel of Ruwanda (Subaru Impreza WRX) are 18th.

The always popular Sasol Rally has again attracted thousands of spectators along the route who are enjoying the high-speed racing over the fast gravel road in warm and sunny conditions.

Ends

 

 

Click here to download Day 1 Results

 

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