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Party for Ford after VW Rally

2013-07-21 07:37

ANOTHER WIN FOR FIESTA: SA champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton scored their third win of the season when Ford dominated the 2013 VW Rally. Image: Quickpic

PORT ELIZABETH – South African champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton scored their third win of the season after Ford dominated the 2013 VW Rally.

It was Round 4 of the SA National Rally Championship and ended here on Saturday (July 20).

Cronje and Houghton (Ford Fiesta) finished well clear of Jan Habig and Robert Paisley in another Fiesta to pull ahead of the veteran former SA champions in the championship. Only one point separated them before this PE event.

BEST YET FOR VILLIERS

The two Ford crews dominated proceedings from the start; there was to be little cheer for VW on the 31st edition of their own home-town rally. The best result the VW Polo team could drum up was fifth for Hergen Fekken/Pierre Arries behind Dakar Rally winner Giniel de Villiers/Greg Godrich (Toyota Yaris) and Cape crew Jean-Pierre Damseaux/Hilton Auffray (another Auris) who won the S2000 Challenge for older all-wheel drive cars.

It was their best result of the season for Villiers/Godrich after starting in fifth.

Another VW crew, Enzo Kuun/Douglas Judd, fought back strongly to finish sixth ahead of 2012 winners Johnny Gemmell/Carolyn Swan in the first of the factory Yaris entries.

Gemmell and Swan were delayed by steering problems; a broken control arm dropped Leeroy Poulter/Elvéne Coetzee down the order after starting third place behind the two Fords.

Cronje/Houghton finished 1min24 ahead of Habig/Paisley with a further three-minute gap to Villiers/Godrich - underlining the Fiestas' supremacy. The only problem for Cronje/Houghton was a puncture which, in the end, was of little consequence.

MORE DISAPPOINTMENT

The experienced Damseaux/Auffray led the S2000 Challenge overnight and were never under any real threat. They were comfortably ahead of locals Morne van Rensburg/Rikus Fourie (VW Polo), Nic van der Westhuizen/Stefan Cilliers (Auris) and Mohammed Moosa/Andre Vermeulen (Auris) who lost a drive shaft in the in the penultimate stage.

There was more disappointment for VW when S2000 Challenge champions Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin were forced out with a broken gearbox -  their first retirement in two seasons.

VW’s problems, on an event superbly organised by the Algoa Rally Association with huge crowds and exciting and testing special stages, did not end there. After leading the S1600 class for front-wheel drive cars overnight Polo crews Chad van Beurden/Henry Dearlove and Paul Franken/Henri Kohne both fell by the wayside.

Clint Weston/Christof Snyders, third overnight in a Citroen C2, took full advantage of the situation to come home ahead of veteran Craig Trott/Janine Lourens in an ageing Toyota RunX and Matthew Vacy-Lyle/Schalk van Heerden in a similar car.
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