Time for the final run through the beautiful but at times unfriendly forests surrounding Tzaneen.
Toyota South Africa saw this fine opportunity to once again become a serious player in the event sponsorship arena, when they decided to sponsor the Pretoria Motor Club's primary event.
This year, or rather more specific, next weekend on the 20th and 21st of October 2006 the Toyota Tzaneen Rally will take place as the major South African sporting event of the weekend!
For the first time in many years it need not stand back for the Currie Cup final, and all the motorsport and more specific lovers of the most exciting and adventurous form of the sport, will be able to follow the incredibly quick and powerful cars through the forests of Tzaneen, without having to worry about the rugby score.
There are many extremely exciting "spectator points" where motorsport fans will be able to experience the reason why millions of people in Europe have made rallying the biggest spectator spectacle in many countries.
The S2000 class, although Enzo Kuun has already clinched the championship will especially be more like the Battle of the Bush, than a sporting event.
Serge Damseaux who is close to the end of his career may even call it a day after this event and this may be the last time you will be able to see him behind the steering wheel of a Toyota driven in anger!
Outgoing 2005 champion Jan Habig, will not take the loss of his championship lightly and he will be going all out in the BP Polo to prove that it was not his fault that he did not defend his title successfully.
Etienne Lourens will want to protect his third position on the championship ladder but will also want to win this rally overall again as he did a few years ago, driving a much less powerful A7 Toyota.
Then there is also the matter of the seeding list! After his brilliant performance in the Cape, Serge Damseaux is once again on top of the South African Driver seeding list with a "handicap" of 1.011 against second placed Enzo Kuun's 1.015. Habig is 3rd best according to the latest seeding list, while wild card Hergen Fekken who has been knocking on the overall victory door the whole year has improved his "A7" seeding to 1.017.
Team Total's Etienne Lourens is slightly off the mark due to the fact that he refused to give up in rallies where he experienced problems. His perseverance meant that he slid down the seeding list while trying to get through stages, sometimes on almost idle speed!
In Class A7 Charl Wilken driving one of the Team Castrol Toyota RunX's will not be able to relax for a moment if he wants to go home from Tzaneen as the new Class A7 champion. The young and talented Jon Williams will be there all the way from Cape Town to try and grab the A7 championship in his maiden Class A7 year! The two teams are only 2 points apart and whoever finishes first will be the new champion or there may even be a draw ? which as you know after this Saturday is like pretending to be happy when you receive socks for Xmas!
In the 2006 Production car class Nicolas Ryan should take the title back to the Subaru camp while second place in this category will go to either the Sasol Mitsubishi Evo 8 driver, Johnny Gemmel or to Total's Fernando Rueda in the latest Evo 9.
There are also only two points difference between these two drivers, but while on form Gemmel should not have serious problems defending second place he is not know to be easily satisfied with second best and impossible as it may seem, he will probably be going for an overall win to get to the consistent but not as quick Nicolas Ryan in one go! It needs to be added that Gemmel is good, but a fete like this would be classified very close to a miracle as Ryan can be consistently fast on a good day.
A production class championship will mean a lot to Subaru and will slot in nicely with their increasing sales.
In Class N3 Chris de Wit once again built a handsome lead and he will probably take to Class honours in 2006, but this is one of the classes where "small" things like that do not matter. It is worth a trip from Cape Town to Tzaneen to come and watch the war between some of the most talented young drivers in our country.
Local ace Mohammed Moosa grew up in the Tzaneen bushes ? although his parents managed to tame him and turn him into a very successful businessman, he tends to forget his upbringing behind the steering of his N3 Total Toyota! "Mo" as he is affectionately known must be seen as the find of the 2006 season, but his light is slightly dimmed the moment his rivals in the form of super quick Claudio Piazza-Musso and unpredictable Kobus Roos comes onto the stage!
Man, oh man, if you add the speed and style of class championship leader Chris de Wit to this pot you have what real rally lovers will kill for! This private little war causes headaches for drivers in higher classes and much more powerful cars, and to place the proverbial cherry on top, Piazza-Musso can still win the championship if de Wit misses a beat!
In A5 both Gugu Zulu and Etienne Malherbe can still reel in defending champion Michael Houghton, but Houghton will not easily let go after his hard work to make up points this year. Zulu however is getting quicker all the time, while Malherbe can produce serious speed when he gets going.
The A6 title fight will be between Craig Trott who had to work very hard in his Total Toyota this year to stay ahead of the fully sponsored Castrol Toyota driven by Mark Cronje. The latter is also a works Off-road driver for the same team.
In N2 Mike Nathan can still catch KwaZulu driver Kosta Koumantarakis according to the latest MSA points standings and given half a chance Nathan will do just that.
If you have not booked your place in the Tzaneen area for Friday and Saturday yet, you may only be able to find accommodation in Pietersburg which is only 80 kms from the action anyway.
Don't miss this opportunity to see the best rally action South Africa can offer!
For more information please visit the www.rallystar.co.za website where news will be posted every day. You can also register to receive results of the rally by sending your information to email@example.com Subject: Please update me on the Toyota Tzaneen Rally, with your name and cell number.
The first stage of the rally starts at around 11h15 on the Modjadji Road about 14kms from Tzaneen.