Locals on top in Cape Rally
ROUND SIX OF SA RALLY CHAMPS: Sebastiaan Klaasens and Cindy Harding set the early pace in the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally on Thursday.
Round six of the SA Rally Championships, the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally, kicked off in Brackenfell on Thursday evening where a local team, spurred on by a large crowd, set the pace.
The weekend’s rally got under way on Thursday, September 13, 2012, with a 700m tarmac special stage in the parking area of the Cape Gate shopping mall.
KINGS (AND QUEENS) OF GYMKHANA
Sebastiaan Klaassens/Cindy Harding (Ford Fiesta) were declared the provisional winners after scoring a maiden national championship special stage win. They recorded the fastest time of 1min1.2sec over the gymkhana-type course.
Second, 2.3sec behind, were Jannie Kuun/Guy Hodgson (Volkswagen Polo) with team mates Hans Weijs Jnr/Bjorn Degandt a further four tenths of a second behind them.
Charl Wilken/Greg Godrich (Ford Fiesta) were fourth, 2.9 sec behind the winners and three tenths of a second ahead of John Williams Cobus Vrey (Ford Fiesta).
Leeroy Poulter/Elvene Coetzee (Toyota Auris), who recorded the second fastest time, and Hergen Fekken/Pierre Arries (VW Polo) were penalised 20 seconds each for deviating from the route and were relegated to 26th and 28th overall, respectively.
Championship leaders Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton, in the second Sasol Ford Fiesta, were ninth and will have a 5.8sec gap to make up when the rally continues on Friday morning. Johnny Gemmell/Carolyn Swan (Toyota Auris), second in the championship and just a point behind the leaders, were eighth overall.
MORE TESTING STAGES
While the short tarmac special stage counts towards the final rally result, the start order for the first of Friday’s six gravel stages in the Grabouw and Caledon areas will be according to the current seeding of the top 10 drivers. This means that Cronje/Houghton will set off first from Imperial Toyota CapeGate, followed by Gemmell/Swan, Poulter/Coetzee, Kuun/Hodgson and Fekken/Arries.
Friday’s stages will provide a sterner test of the competitors and will start with a new 23-kilometre forest stage in the Grabouw area at 9.30 am. Four fast gravel stages on private farm roads in the canola and wheat fields in the Caledon area will set the scene for the day’s finale - a short, 1.2-km gravel stage at the Caledon rugby club.
Competitors will overnight in Caledon before the rally restarts on Saturday morning from the Tsogo Sun Hotel at 8:45am. The rally will finish back at the Tsogo Sun on Saturday afternoon after another six gravel stages, four of which will be repeats of Friday stages.