Former S2000 Challenge winners Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin in their Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo will lead the competitors contesting the penultimate round of the SA National Rally Championship, the Polokwane Motor Rally, off the start ramp at the Polokwane Municipal Chambers at 12 noon today.

Gugu Zulu
Gugu Zulu

It will be a ceremonial start as the first of the day’s six special stages will get underway at 12:21 from Polokwane Brick Works, nine kilometres out of the city, following a procession of all competing cars in a convoy led by a police escort from rally headquarters at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium. The rally will cover a total distance of around 550 kilometres over the two days, with 11 special stages amounting to 180 kilometres of high-speed racing.

After an overnight stop at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium, the rally will restart on Saturday at 07:00 and will finish back at the stadium at around 13:54 after another five special stages. The traditional podium ceremony and spraying of champagne by the top-three finishers will be at 16:00 and will followed by the official prize-giving.

Multiple South African champion Hergen Fekken and co-driver Carolyn Swan (Castrol Team Toyota Yaris) will lead the rest of the field at two-minute intervals after Zulu and Peskin have departed. They will in turn be followed by the VW Sasolracing Polo of Henk Lategan and Barry White and the rest of the top eight seeded drivers, all in four-wheel drive S2000 machines, and then by the remainder of the combined S2000 and S1600 (two-wheel drive cars) entry.

Fourth off the line will be Japie van Niekerk, back after sitting out the previous Toyota Cape Dealer Rally in the Western Cape because of business commitments, who will again be teamed with regular co-driver Gerhard Snyman in Van Niekerk’s New Africa Developments Ford Fiesta.

Defending champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Dealer Team Fiesta) are next up, ahead of current championship leaders Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee (Castrol Team Toyota Yaris), the Dutch/Belgian duo of Hans Weijs Jnr and Bjorn Degandt (Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo) and Giniel de Villiers and Greg Godrich (Imperial Toyota Yaris), first-time winners this year in the previous round.

Heading the S1600 championship entry off the start ramp will be Mathew Vacy-Lyle/Schalk van Heerden (Fragram Tools Toyota Etios R2), Paulus Franken/Henry Kohne (VW Polo R2), who will be followed by Ernie van der Walt and James Aldridge (Ferodo VW Polo R2), Chad van Beurden/Nico Swartz (Beurden Construction VW Polo R2), runaway championship leaders Guy Botterill/Simon Vacy Lyle (Yato Tools Toyota Etios R2), Ashley Haigh-Smith/Damian van Ass (Castrol Ford Fiesta R2), Namibian Marko Himmel and Francois Schoonbee (VW Polo R2) and AC Potgieter and Tommy du Toit (VW Polo).