The first edition of the York Rally in Sabie and the 26th time that the rally has been run in the area under different sponsors, has been won by accomplished pair of Japie van Niekerk and Robin Houghton in a NAD Ford Fiesta S2000. Van Niekerk lead the event from the start in Sabie yesterday morning to the end in Sabie this afternoon. His victory was never in doubt in spite of being hounded by Kenya’s Jaspreet Singh Chatthe in a Mitsubishi Evo 10 for most of the event.
Chatthe won three stages, but the rest was the domain of van Niekerk. In the end Chatthe experienced some problems and he dropped down to 9th overall giving second to Guy Botterillo in a Toyota Etios R2. Van Niekerk won by 6:41.9.
Third was AC Potgieter in a Volkswagen R2 10:48.1 behind van Niekerk. Richard Leeke in the Ford Fiesta R2 who was involved in a fight with Botterill for second place honours in the R2 class, did not make it to the end when the car rolled in stage 10. Leroy Gomes from Zambia in a Mitsubishi Evo 10 wa s4th +13:50.6 while Jono van Wyk in a Ford Fiesta R2 was 5th +15:13.9.
The Open Class was won by van Niekerk. The African Rally Championship was won byGomes. The South African Championship R2 class was won by Botterill, while Lee Rose from Kenya in a Ford Escort RS won the Classic class.
The rally was contested over 14 special stages of 250km.