It is not all that easy on the stages on the Bela Bela Rally. Before the event started it was said that the stages would be tricky and technical. Nothing was saidf about the sand on the stages that is making life very difficult for competitors. And if you don’t have the right set-up to handle the sand especially in the corners, the problem becomes bigger.
But Leeroy Poulter in the Team Castrol Toyota Yaris seem to have found the right set-up and is maintaining his lead on the rally without any real problems. He is increasing his lead over his nearest rival, Mark Cronje in the Ford Performance Ford Fiesta as each stage goes by and after 8 of the ten stages is leading Cronje by 30.1 seconds.
Hergen Fekken in the a Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo is the first major casualty among the top front runners. He withdrew from the event on SS8 as a result of a broken wheel while lying third overall.
Another of the favoured drivers who had a problem was Henk Lategan in another Sasolracing Volkswagen who lost four minutes as a result of a puncture on SS7. In addition he waited for Gugu Zulu to get past so that Zulu dod not have to cope with his dust. He was also struggling in the san, but apparently his set-up has been adjusted and he won stage 8 bring Poulter’s clean sweep of the stages to an end.
Japie van Niekerik in the NAD Ford Fiesta has now moved into third overall on stage 8, followed by Thilo Himmel in a Sasolracing Volkswagen in fourth position.
After stage 8 there are still two stages to go before the rally finishes in Bela Bela this afternoon.
Overall after stage 8:
Japie + 1:44.5
Van der Walt +4:41.9