Good days at office for Fiestas
FINE RUN FOR FIESTAS: Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Fiesta S2000) have come away from the 2013 Toyota Dealer Rally which ended in Bapsfontein on Saturday (June 1) with a useful haul of points. image: Motorpress
Author: ADRIAN BURFORD
National Rally champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Fiesta S2000) have come away from the 2013 Toyota Dealer Rally which ended in Bapsfontein on Saturday (June 1) with a useful haul of points and two stage victories.
That made up for an opening day which scuppered their chances of taking a third win on the trot.
They remain 2013 championship leaders but multiple champion Jannie Habig and Robert Paisley in a similar Fiesta are breathing down their necks: only one point separates crews after three rounds of the championship.
Cronje said later: “Everything went perfectly today but, with little in the way of stage distance to make up time, we weren’t able to improve our overnight position significantly.
“We always knew that a gearbox problem and then an unfortunate encounter with an obstacle which smashed a wheel would force us to fight a rearguard action and we started today with the objective of keeping the pace up and hoping there would be casualties ahead of us.”
That didn’t happen and despite something of a cat-and-mouse game developing, Habig held his nerve to take a comfortable victory, giving Ford an unbroken string of victories so far in 2013 year and a podium on every National championship event since the beginning of 2011.
For Habig, with an impressive six rally championships to his name, the event broke a streak which has seen him winless since 2009.
Cronje said: “Stage wins don’t count for much but it was encouraging to set four fastest times on the trot and we know that the Fiesta is solid when it comes to outright pace.
“There’s no point lamenting what could have been. We’re just glad we’ve done enough to hold on to the lead and the reality is that we’re better off than we were at this point in 2012.
“Hats off to Jannie for his first win in a Fiesta - it’s great to have a Ford 1-2 in the championship, with a decent gap to third place as a bonus!”
Cronje and Houghton are looking forward to the next round of the championship, the Volkswagen Rally in the Eastern Cape, over July 19/20.