Cronje leads Volkswagen Rally after four stages

The current South African Rally Champions, Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton, in a Ford Dealer Team Ford Fiesta S2000 was leading the Volkswagen Rally in Port Elizabeth by 10.6 seconds from Leeroy Poulter, in a Team Castrol Toyota Yaris.

Mark Cronje
Mark Cronje

The event, the fourth round of the South African Rally Championship, started in Uitenhage this morning.

iAn early casualty was the Team Castrol Toyota Yaros of Hergen Fekken and Carolin Swan, that withdrew on stage 1 with a blown engine. Raimund Baumsclager from Belgium who are guesting for Volkswagen, also retired on stage 3 with a broken grearbox.

Soon after Japie van Niekerk in the NAD Ford Fiesta withdrew followed by Thilo Himmel who rolled his Volkswagen Polo S2000.

Mark Cronje has to win this rally to catch Leeeroy Poulter in the champipnship.Cronje did not have a good start to the season and did not finish the first two rallies.

At the end of stage 4 Cronje said that the stages so far had been very “tricky and challenging”.

Cronje leads the rally with a time of 45:53.5. He is followed by Poulter +10.6. Third is Hans Weijs in a Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo +51.0.

In fourth overall is Giniel de Villiers in an Imperial Toyota Yaris +1:20.9, followed by the young Hein Lategan in a Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo on +2:02.1.In sixth position overall currently is Gugu Zulu in another Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo +5:02.2.

Class sixteen is being led by Charl van Beurden in a Volkswagen Polo R2.

Altogether 39 cars started this morning of which only 21 were national championship cars. The event is being organised by the Algoa Motor Club and finishes in Port Elizabeth tomorrow. It consists of 15 stage that is 178km in length.