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2014 South Africa Press Releases
SOUTH AFRICA – 11-12 April 2014  Sasol Rally South Africa
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Zambian Mohammed Essa and Gareth Dawe win Sasol Rally – ARC Round 2

Winners of the second round of the FIA African Rally Championship, which was run in conjunction with the Sasol Rally, were 2012 drivers’ champion Mohammed Essa of Zambia and Gareth Dawe of Zimbabwe (Subaru Impreza). Second, 2 min 9 sec in arrears, were Gary Chaynes and Comas Romain of the Ivory Coast (Mitsubishi Evo 10), winners of the opening round in Ivory Coast. Third (+3 min 47sec) were 2013 African Rally champions Jassy Singh of Kenya and David Sihoka of Zambia (Subaru Impreza), ahead of Zambian Kenneth Mukosa and Nash Chisenga in a Subaru Impreza (+1 hr 15 min 7 sec).

Giancarlo Davite and Sylvia Vindevogel of Rwanda in a Mitsubishi Evo 10, who were second at Friday’s overnight stop in Nelspruit, were non-finishers after experiencing mechanical problems on Saturday.

In an event that saw several of their main rivals drop out of contention with punctures and mechanical problems, the Toyota pair, who won the Sasol Rally in 2011, had a relatively trouble-free run and their pace and consistency was such that they led the event from special stage four on Friday through to the finish. Even a puncture towards the end of today’s stage 12 was not enough to slow them down too much as they completed the last eight kilometres on a flat wheel and lost about 10 seconds.

Second, 1 min 46 sec in arrears, were former national champion Enzo Kuun and Rikus Fourie who were making their first appearance in a New Africa Developments Ford Fiesta and also enjoyed a trouble-free run. Hergen Fekken and Carolyn Swan continued their good early season form by bringing the second Castrol Team Toyota Yaris home in third place, a distant 7 min 57 sec behind their team-mates after experiencing clutch and diff problems on stage 10 and 11. They were second in the Tour Natal Rally in KwaZulu-Natal in March.

Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin (Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo) did well to finish fourth (+ 11 min 32 sec) in only their second outing in an S2000 car despite two punctures and a damaged diff on Friday and a broken gear lever on today’s stage 11.

Fifth overall (+13 min 32sec) and first in the S2000 Challenge for older specification four-wheel drive cars were Thilo Himmel of Namibia and Armand du Toit (VW Polo).

Henk Lategan and Barry White (VW Sasolracing Polo) were sixth overall, 13 min 44 sec in arrears. They lost time on Friday with a loose steering rack on stages two and three while lying third and dropped further back with punctures on stages four and five. Seventh (+16 min 30 sec) were Giniel de Villiers/Greg Godrich (Imperial Toyota Yaris). Although they had a relatively clean run on Saturday, they lost over 10 minutes on Friday’s stage four after struggling through the first three stages with only two-wheel drive.

Defending champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Dealer Team Fiesta) were classified eighth under Super Rally rules after retiring with suspension problems on stage 12. They had been third overnight behind Poulter and Kuun after losing two and a half minutes with a puncture on stage four while leading Poulter and Kuun – they won each of the first three stages. They lost further time on stage 10 with another puncture.
Joos Stassen and Gert Nienaber were ninth overall and second in the S2000 Challenge in a Subaru Impreza.

The Dutch/Belgian combination of Hans Weijs Jnr and Bjorn Degandt (VW Sasolracing Polo), who competed on Saturday under Super Rally rules after dropping out after Friday’s opening stage with an engine misfire, rounded out the top 10. An impressive drive today saw them win four of the last five of the day’s seven stages.

Sasol Rally -ARC Round 2 - Pre-event

Reigning national champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Dealer Team Fiesta) are in line to score a hat-trick of victories in the Sasol Rally in Mpumalanga on April 11 and 12 after their successes in 2012 and 2013. But they might be more interested in simply finishing the second round of the SA National Rally Championship and scoring as many points as possible after their failure to finish the opening round, the Tour Natal, in KwaZulu-Natal in March.

Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee (Castrol Team Toyota Yaris) lead the championship after their dominant win in KZN and enjoy an early 25-point lead over the defending champions. Cronje and Houghton crashed out of the season-opener on the first stage, depriving the fans of what could have been a memorable battle between the Ford and the Toyota.

This presents an intriguing scenario for the 23rd running of the season’s longest and arguably toughest round, which this year will include 14 special stages (four on tarmac and 10 on gravel) covering over 200 kilometres. Between them, Cronje (2012 and 2013) and Poulter (2011) have won the last three Sasol Rallies.

They can expect stiff competition both from regular national championship rivals and also from the five international crews who will be contesting the second round of the FIA African Rally Championship, traditionally hosted by South Africa in conjunction with the Sasol Rally.

The visiting crews, who are all contesting the FIA class N, include the Zambia/Zimbabwe combination of Mohammed Essa/Gareth Dawe (Subaru Impreza WRX), Giancarlo Davite/Sylvia Vindevogel of Rwanda (Mitsubishi Evo 10), Kenya//Zambia pair Chatthe Jaspreet Singh/David Sihoka (Mitsubishi Evo 10) Gary Chaynes and Comas Romain of the Ivory Coast (Mitsubishi Evo 10) and Zimbabwe’s Kenneth Mukosa/TBA (Subaru Impreza).

Heading the South African challenge to Cronje and Poulter are Hergen Fekken/Carolyn Swan in the second Castrol Team Toyota Yaris, who are currently second in the championship after finishing second in the Tour Natal Rally, the visiting Dutch/Belgian combination of Hans Weijs Jnr and Bjorn Degandt (Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo), who were third in the season opener, and Giniel de Villiers/Greg Godrich (Imperial Toyota Yaris), who finished fourth in KZN.

There is a strong 14-car entry of S2000 four-wheel drive and older specification S2000 Challenge cars and with only five of these having completed both days of the Tour Natal Rally many of the top contenders will, like Cronje and Houghton, be looking to make up for a poor start to the new season.

Henk Lategan, who went off the road on the penultimate stage in KZN while lying third, will be reunited with 2013 co-driver Barry White in the second of the three VW Sasolracing Polos. Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin will have their second outing in the third factory Polo after stepping up from the S2000 Challenge in 2013.

Cronje and Houghton’s dealer-supported Ford will be backed by the privateer New Africa Developments Fiesta of Japie van Niekerk/Gerhard Snyman and Enzo Kuun/Rikus Fourie. Van Niekerk also rolled his car on the opening stage of the Tour Natal Rally and finished the event under Super Rally rules. Kuun, twice a South African champion and a five-time winner of the Sasol Rally, makes a surprise appearance after retiring at the end of last year.

Heading up the S2000 Challenge will be Piet Bakkes and Shaun Visser (Toyota RunX), who lead after the first round by virtue of the fact that they were the only one of four Challenge entries to complete the Tour Natal Rally. Namibia’s Wilro Dippenaar and South African co-driver Kes Naidoo (PZN Panelbeaters Toyota Auris) will be looking to make up for the disappointment of technical problems that saw them finish the opening round under Super Rally rules.

Similarly, Nic van der Westhuizen and Stefan Cilliers (SA Earthworks Toyota Auris), who also rolled out of contention in the opening stage of the Tour Natal Rally, will be hoping for better luck in Mpumalanga.

Mpumalanga’s Joos Stassen and co-driver Gert Nienaber will be making their first appearance of the season in a Subaru Impreza, while the five-car S2000 Challenge entry is completed by Namibia’s Thilo Himmel and co-driver Armand du Toit (VW Polo), who scored two consolation championship points after finishing the opening round under Super Rally rules as a result of a roll on the second day.

 
 
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