Big Fiesta debut up in smoke
Reigning champions Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries (BP Ultimate Volkswagen Polo) won the opening round of the Sasol SA Rally Championship in KwaZulu Natal on Sunday.
The Total Tour Natal Rally was run over 12 special stages and 168 km in the Stanger and Scottburgh/Park Rynie/Umzinto areas on Saturday and Sunday and saw Fekken and Arries lead home a record entry of 17 S2000 premier class cars.
Second, 24,9 seconds in arrears, were VW team-mates Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson, who won six of the stages to Fekken/Arries’ four and dominated day one, winning three of the four stages. Mark Cronje and Robert Paisley won two stages on their way to third in a Castrol Toyota Auris, 1m 10,7s behind the leaders.
Former World Rally Championship contender Conrad Rautenbach of Zimbabwe and compatriot Peter Marsh were fourth in a class N4 Subaru Impreza in their first appearance in the SA championship together. Japie van Niekerk and Robin Houghton were fifth in a New Africa Developments Toyota Auris.
The event, run in sweltering heat, was marred by three major accidents.
Schalk Burger Jr and Armand du Toit (S2000 Automark Toyota RunX) escaped serious injury after rolling down a bank and landing upside down in a river.
Mohammed Moosa and Grant Martin crashed their Team Total Toyota RunX at the exact same spot and survived a multiple roll. All four were taken to hospital and are in a satisfactory condition.
The brand new Basil Read/bizhub Ford Fiesta of Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich made an impressive debut, running seventh overall at the end of the first day before it caught fire in an open section on Sunday morning and shockingly burnt to a shell.