Two of the top competitors on the South African Rally Championship, Mark Cronje in a Ford Racing Ford Fiesta and Henk Lategan in a Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo, fell out of trhe Polokwane Rally that started in Polokwane this morning.
***News just in is that Japie van Niekerk in the NAD Ford Fiesta is out of the evernt on stage three with a broken suspension.
Cronje withdrew from the event due to engine problems and Lategan had suspension problems. The rally is the seventh round of the SA National Rally Championship and Cronje had to win the rally to try and stay in championship contention.
At the end of stage two Leeroy Poulter in Team Castrol Yaris was leading the event with a time of 14:57.2. Japie van Niekerk in the NAD Ford Fiesta was second +14.9, with Hergen Fekken in the other Team Castrol Yaris third +21.0.
Giniel de Villiers in the Imperial Toyota Yaris was fourth 24.1 behind Poulter, with Hans Weijs in a Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo fifth 26.8 behind the leader. In sixth position was Wiron Dippenaar in a Class S2000 Challenge Toyota Auris 38.4 seconds of the pace.
Gugu Zulu also in a Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo was in eigth place on +40.9.
The 2014 season has not been a very good one for Mark Cronje in die Ford Fiesta and his chances of defending his SA Rally Driver’s title has now gone out of the window, while Poulter seems to be running away with the championship.
Guy Botterill in a Toyota Etios R2 was leading Class S1600 for 2WD cars. He was 25.2 seconds ahead of Ashley Haigh-Smith who hit a tree on stage two, but it did not cause any big damage.
One of the favourites in Class S1600, Chad van Beurden in Volkswagen Polo R2 fell out on stage one due to gearbox problems.
The first day of the rally will consist of six stages.