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2014-07-07 12:19


VW’S DUTCH/BELGIAN DRIVERS: Holland’s Hans Weijs and Belgium’s Bjorn Degandt will contest Round 4 of the National Rally championship out of Uitenhage – the VW Rally. Image: Volkswagen

There’s a distinct international flavour to the Volkswagen Rally, Round 4 of the National rally championship, which will start from the Volkswagen Auto Pavilion in Uitenhage at noon on Friday (July 11).

VW will field a team of four Polos in the premier S2000 class, two of which will be crewed by foreigners.  
The South African contigent consists of regulars Henk Lategan/Barry White, third in the 2014 championship after finishing second in the Gauteng Rally, and Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin, 10th on points.


The VWSA team will be joined by The Netherlands' Hans Weijs and Belgium’s Bjorn Degandt who are contesting the 2014 season and are fourth in the championship after finishing third in Round 3. The final car will be driven by reigning Austrian rally champion Raimund Baumschlager and German co-driver Klaus Wicha.

Baumschlager won the Austrian rally title for 11 years and is eight points away from a record 12th title.

VW will be hoping to build on its strong finish to Round 3 in Gauteng and score an important home-town victory.


The team faces competition from, among others, Toyota’s Leeroy Poulter/Elvene Coetzee and Hergen Fekken/Carolyn Swan in their all-wheel drive Yaris, joint championship leaders after three rounds.

Ford’s defending champions Mark Cronje/Robin Houghton will also be fierce competitors.

Cronje/Houghton had a disastrous start to the 2014 season; they failed to score in Round 1 and only managed 6.5 points in Round 2. Fortunately the pair won Round 3 and prevented Poulter/Coetzee from scoring a hat trick ofvictories.

Cronje/Houghton are fifth in the championship as it reaches its halfway mark with 31.5 points to the joint leaders’ 57, Lategan’s 44 and Weijs’s 43.5.

Toyota’s Giniel de Villiers and Greg Godrich, sixth in the championship, are a half-point behind Cronje/Houghton and Ford’s Japie van Niekerk/Gerhard Snyman. De Villiers grabbed fourth place finish in Round 1 but  DNF in Round 3 slowed his momentum.

Van Niekerk has shown good pace in his upgraded Ford Fiesta and scored his best result of the season to date with fifth place at the Gauteng Rally. Technical issues in the first two rounds saw him finish these events under reduced-points Super Rally rules. Van Niekerk /Snyman are eighth, 30 points behind the leaders.


Adding to the international flavour of the VW Rally will be Namibia’s Thilo Himmel (VW Polo).  Himmel and South African co-driver Armand du Toit currently lead the S2000 Challenge for older specification four-wheel drive cars and have a best overall result to date of fifth in Round 2.

With Himmel/Du Toit no longer competing in the S2000 Challenge, Piet Bakkes/Shaun Visser (Toyota RunX) and Namibian Wilro Dippenaar and South African Kes Naidoo (Toyota Auris) will battle in the class.

The rally features 15 special stages from July 11 – 12, with four new stages including the finish. The July 11 action includes two new gravel stages in the Greenbushes and Gamtoos River areas as well as two familiar Longmore Forest stages and the tarmac town stages in Jeffrey’s Bay.

The July 12 race features two runs through a new super special stage at the Port Elizabeth oval and, breaking tradition, there will no longer be a super special finale stage in the parking area at King’s Beach in PE.

The 2014 VW Rally will end at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium with a 1.4km special stage around the tar and paved perimeter of the stadium.
Read more on:    toyota  |  ford  |  volkswagen  |  uitenhage  |  south africa  |  motorsport

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