Japie van Niekerk can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the New Africa Developments Ford Fiesta for the Polokwane Rally this weekend, having missed the previous round of the championship due to business commitments.
And he’s determined to continue the team’s rich vein of form in the penultimate round of the National Rally Championship – which gets underway in Limpopo’s capital at midday on Friday October 17.
While Van Niekerk sat out the Cape Rally in September, his navigator Gerhard Snyman joined double champion Enzo Kuun in a NAD-sponsored S2000 Fiesta, and the pair promptly drove to an excellent third place in Kuun’s backyard. In the middle of August, Snyman had finished second – on that occasion reading the notes for regular driver Van Niekerk – on the Cullinan Rally.
On that occasion they enjoyed a string of top three stage times, the pair really getting to grips with the Fiesta after making some set-up changes early in the event.
The upshot of these recent successes is that Snyman is currently lying seventh in the S2000 co-drivers’ championship while Van Niekerk is eighth in the drivers’ competition.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car – it is very difficult to be a ‘spectator’ when you know what it is like to drive one of these S2000 cars!” said Van Niekerk. “With two podiums in a row there’s no question that the NAD Fiesta is on the pace and we will be going all-out to get onto the top step of the podium in Polokwane!”