SA champs 'rewarded' in UK
SA CHAMPS REWARD IN ENGLAND: SA national rally champions Mark Cronje (left) and Robin Houghton have been rewarded for their effort with an invitation to compete in a WRC-level UK rally.
LONDON, England - 2012 South African rally champions, Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton have been invited by Malcolm Wilson (head of M-Sport) to compete in the Malcolm Wilson Rally in England on March 2 2013.
They will use a Ford Fiesta WRC and be given tuition in a pre-rally test session by Wilson’s son Matthew, an experienced WRC competitor.
The event will use classic stages in the Lake District, which is used for the Welsh round of the World Rally championship.
The one-day event will cover a route of 300km with seven special stages totalling 75km. The rally has been staged since 1975 and is expected to attract more than 100 competitors at an entry fee of R5500 per car.
Houghton is being provided with pace notes similar to the system used in SA.
Malcolm, who competed in SA in the 1970's, says his sponsorship of the SA crew is a "thank-you" for winning the SA championship in a car built by M-Sport.
Cronje said: “Robin and I are very proud to be given this invitation. Although not a major international event, it will give us the opportunity to learn first-hand about conditions in the UK and evaluate our performance at WRC level should an opportunity present itself to compete in a WRC or ERC event later in 2013.
SA Rally Commission president Richard Leeke commented: “This invitation is a real feather in their caps because it acknowledges the high standard of rallying in our country.
“What is important is that the invitation came from one of the most influential men in World rallying. Malcolm is the person responsible for running Ford’s official rally programme for 16 years and indeed has been instrumental in the development of the S2000 category which forms the basis of the SA National rally series. He is also a respected rally driver with fond memories of competing in South Africa in our international Total and Castrol rallies.”