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2012-09-17 07:54

ACTION AURIS: Gemmell and Swan blitzed their way to a five-point championship lead in the weekend's Toyota Cape Dealer Rally.

Toyota’s Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan (S2000 four-wheel-drive Toyota Auris) were declared the winners at the end of the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally in Caledon, round six of the SA Rally Championship, on Sunday, September 16, 2012.

Second were former national champions Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson (Volkswagen Polo) who, in their best performance so far this season, finished 45 seconds behind the winners and five seconds ahead of fast-closing Mark Cronje/Robin Houghton (Ford Fiesta).


Gemmell/Swan took over the lead of the championship from Cronje and Houghton with two rounds remaining and now enjoy a five-point advantage over the Ford pair.

Cronje dominated the event with three (out of six) stage wins on Friday and five on Saturday, but a mistake on Friday’s penultimate stage cost him when he went off the road and punctured a tyre. This left him in sixth place on Friday evening, one and a half minutes behind Gemmell/Swan.

Jon Williams/Cobus Vrey were fourth (Ford Fiesta), nearly a minute behind their team mates.  Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Grant Martin (Toyota Auris) finished five seconds later and seven seconds ahead of former champions Hergen Fekken/Pierre Arries (Volkswagen Polo).

Giniel de Villiers/Celeste Snyders (Toyota Auris) lost fifth place to Fekken and Arries on the final, 700-metre stage in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Caledon Rugby Club, the gap at the finish being a narrow two tenths of a second after 13 special stages totalling 182 kilometres of high-speed racing.

Making up the top 10 overall and among the Super 2000 four-wheel-drive cars were Charl Wilken/Greg Godrich (Ford Fiesta), Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin (Volkswagen Polo) and Henk Lategan/Barry White (Volkswagen Polo).

Zulu/Peskin, who struggled with intercom problems on Friday, won the Super 2000 Challenge for older specification four-wheel drive cars from Lategan/White and Wilro Dippenaar/Morne du Toit (Toyota RunX).  


Provisional winners of the two-wheel drive category for S1600 cars were Guy Botterill/Simon Vacy-Lyle (Toyota RunX). It was a maiden class win for the pair, who finished 14th overall and over a minute ahead of Morne Janse van Rensburg/Rikus Fourie (Volkswagen Polo) and four minutes in front of Ashley Haigh-Smith/Kes Naidoo (Ford Fiesta R2).

Haigh-Smith had dominated the class until Friday’s final short stage in Caledon when he rolled the Ford and he lost more time on Saturday with a broken gearbox mounting.  Janse van Rensburg was slowed on Saturday by a persistent misfire on the VW.

Two-wheel championship leaders Craig Trott/Robbie Coetzee (Toyota RunX) retained their advantage with a trademark trouble-free run to fourth place.

The next round of the championship is the Polokwane Rally in Limpopo on October 6 – 7, 2012.

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