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Cronje, Houghton take PMC rally honours

2014-05-26 10:35


WINNERS IN GAUTENG: Defending champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton drove their Ford Fiesta to victory in the 2014Pretoria Motor Club Gauteng Rally on May 24.Image: Ford.

Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Fiesta ) led the PMC Gauteng Rally from start to finish to record their first win of the 2014 season at the RallyStar Driving Academy, Bapsfontein.

After winning two of three gravel stages (Stage 4 was cancelled because of extremely dusty conditions), the pair controlled matters from the front, taking two stage wins (5 and 7) and finished 49sec ahead of Henk Lategan/Barry White (VW Polo S2000).


The VW pair, however, produced the performance of the day after starting fourth and 58sec behind Cronje/Houghton but winning three of the stages (6, 9 and 10) on their way to second overall.
A second VW Polo pair, Hans Weijs (Holland)/Bjorn Degandt (Belgium), were third.

Toyota’s Hergen Fekken/Carolyn Swan will be disappointed with fourth after starting the final day second and 24sec behind Cronje/Houghton. Some overnight changes to their Yaris didn’t work out and they lost time before recovering in the final three stages to finish 1min11 behind.

Japie van Niekerk/Gerhard Snyman took fifth overall in their private Ford Fiesta. After a poor start to the 2014 season saw them score only 11 points in two events, they had a steady run over May 24/25 to add 16 points to their tally.


Sixth, and S2000 Challenge wiiners for older specification all-wheel drive cars, were Wilro Dippenaar/Kes Naidoo (Toyota Auris). They were 3min31 behind the winners and 14min10 ahead of second-placed S2000 Piet Bakkes/Shaun Visser (Toyota RunX). Bakkes/Visser competed in the reduced points Super Rally on May 24 after they were forced to drop out after Stage 1 on May 23 due to engine problems.

They re-started 11th and did well to improve to eighth at the finish.

Leeroy Poulter/Elvéne Coetzee (Yaris), who were leading the championship before the PMC rally, finished seventh under half-points Super Rally rules after engine problems prevented them from finishing on May 23.  

Poulter/Coetzee worked hard for top-three positions in each of the first four stages on May 24 (including winning Stage 8) and went on to earn championship points that limited the damage to dropping from the championship lead to second place behind team mates Fekken/Swan.

Unofficial scoring puts Fekken/Swan with 59 points to the 57 of Poulter/Coetzee and the 44 of Lategan/White.

Second in the Challenge category and eighth overall overnight, Thilo Himmel/Armand du Toit, hit a rock on Stage 5 on May 24 and tore off a wheel.  They eventually finished ninth, 26min26 behind the winners.


Former S2000 Challenge winners Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin, now competing in a factory Polo S2000, were credited with 10th overall under Super Rally rules despite getting stuck in Stage 5. They had been sixth overall on May 23 and had had high hopes of improving their position the following day.

Non-finishers were former Dakar Rally winner Giniel de Villiers/Greg Godrich Yaris), who experienced engine problems on the liaison section on Stage 2 (May 23) and the first service stop at RallyStar.

He was fourth at the time after posting the fourth-fastest time on the first two stages. Despite their best efforts, the Toyota technical team was unable to repair the car in time for the start of the race on May 24.

The next round of the championship will be the VW Rally in the Eastern Cape over July 11/12 2014.
Read more on:    toyota  |  ford  |  volkswagen  |  south africa  |  motorsport  |  rally

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