E Cape ramps up to VW Rally
HOME TOWN ADVANTAGE: International entrants Hans Weijs jnr and Bjorn Degandt for VW shown in the recent Gauteng Dealer Rally. The factory Polo team rounds out the top five in the SA Rally Championship ahead of the Volkswagen Rally.
The annual Volkswagen Rally is scheduled for next weekend (July 13/14) , Round 4 of the 2012 National rally calendar, and has tempted top competitors from across the country to race in Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and the adjacent countryside.
The rally is the only round of the SA National rally championship held in the Eastern Cape but is one of the most popular on the calendar with teams and spectators. The 2012 event over 12 stages will be the 30th and once again organised by the Algoa Rally Association.
Teams will gather at Auto Pavilion in Uitenhage from 9am on Friday for documentation and fans will have until midday to meet the crews, take photos and gather autographs – and visit the VW Auto Pavilion at no charge. When the clock strikes noon the first car will pull off from the ceremonial start and head out to Stage 1 at Melon in the Gamtoos area.
That stage will get under way at 12.58pm after which the field will head to the famed Longmore Forest for stages two and three, the first 24km of steep uphills and a loose surface, the second just less than 20km, will start at 2.44pm.
Stage four will be held at Port Elizabeth Oval Track Raceway (PEOTR), starting at 15.20pm before the field moves to the final stage for day one which takes place from 16.20pm at Winterhoek in Uitenhage. Here rally fans will see the cars in action on a stage where two cars will compete simultaneously against the clock - a great way for spectators to finish off the day.
Saturday morning will see competitors return to the Longmore Forest for two stages, starting at 08.23am and then 08.57am before returning to Melon for a repeat of stage one, which will be run as stage eight at 11.05am.
KINGS BEACH FINALE
Then it's back to the Longmore Forest for stages nine and 10 at 11.36am and 12.41pm respectively, before the rally competitors return to PEOTR at 13.27pm for the penultimate stage 11.
The finale will again be held at Kings Beach, a favourite with rally fans where a whole programme has been arranged for long before the official rally field arrives. These will start at 10.45am with karts and drifting displays, stalls and parades by the Xtreme Veedubz and the Street Rod Clubs.
The first rally car will enter the Kings Beach stage at 14.26pm and the prize-giving will be held soon after the last car finishes.
The fight for honours this year is expected to be between the VW Polo, Ford Fiesta and Toyota Auris rally cars. Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Fiesta) are the current championship leaders.