A new season and new challenges for the eight-round 2012 SA Rally Championship, but the Total Rally is already gearing up to a weekend of intense action over 16 stages and 196km on March 23 and 24. . The regular season-opener has been renamed Total Rally for 2012 and in this, its 54th running, the event will boast an all-new Super Special Stage right in the heart of Durban. Friday, March 23, will once again see crews tackle a timed Shakedown on the first morning to determine starting positions for the first leg of the rally. The five fastest crews from the shakedown will start in reverse order on the first of five gravel stages in the Scottburgh region before returning to Durban in the evening for the super special stage.CITY LIGHTSThe new super special stage is set to run through the port city along Argyle Road, around the Kings Park Pool complex and past the Moses Mabhida Stadium. On day two, the rally field will return to Scottburgh for nine speed tests in the sugar cane fields before returning to the city for a repeat of the super special stage. The spokesperson for Total South Africa, Nadia Vosloo, said: “This year’s event promises to be more spectator friendly than ever, and we have gone to extra lengths to improve spectator safety too. Our aim, apart from making this a fantastic weekend of motorsport for KwaZulu-Natal, is a safety conscious first attitude.” Clerk of the Course Richard Vaughn added: “As the first event of each new season, we aim to set the standard high for the remainder of the year. MORE SPECTATOR SAFETY“We are changing the format for this year to create an even better rally for all involved, in that the event’s marshals will now be controlled by a Stage Commander, similar to in the World Rally Championship.” Vaughn continued: “The Super Special Stage on Friday night and Saturday afternoon will be a nail-biting contest, pitting cars directly against one another on a course that runs in the same direction. The fans and drivers will love this!”Organisers Total South Africa and the Natal Motorcycle and Car Club have also arranged a host of activities to keep spectators of all ages entertained between the stages. For more information, visit totalmotorsport.co.za.