MOTORSPORT NEWSRally

A BATTLE ROYALE

Nobody will probably be prepared to predict a winner for the Rallystar National Rally that will be held at Rallystar at the Sun Carousel. It is either going to be the luck of the draw or the fall of the dice that will decide the final outcome. Winning the rally could have an influence on the final outcome of the national championship at the end of the year.

Guy Botterill

The rally, round three of the South African National Rally Championship, takes place on 25/26 May at the Rallystar Motorsport Academy – situated on the N1 North of Pretoria at the Sun Carousel.

The competitors will be in for a challenging event, very different from what they became used to over the past two or so years. One can call it a “combo” rally since the rally will consist of the usual short very technical sprint stages with three long demanding stages thrown into the mix.

The event will consist of ten dirt and three tar stages in the area around the Sun Carousel Casino. Four of the stages will be run on the Friday en the rest on the Saturday. The total stage distance will be about 150km.

The stages to be run on Friday afternoon starts at about 14h00 and they includes a short 8.5km warm-up stage at Rallystar followed by a 32km dirt stage 36km away from home base. This is where the competitors, both drivers and co-drivers, will have their work cut out for them. It has been quite a long time since they had to cope with such long stages.

On Saturday the brave hearts will have to deal with a very long 40km stage – TWICE! The rally finishes on Saturday afternoon at the Sun Carousel,

The route director Leon Botha and other officials are very satisfied that these two stages run over the farm Turfpan will once again test the skills and stamina of the teams.

This will not be the usual point and squirt mealiefield stages – the surface offers combinations, the road shapes from flat to hunched with long, long fast and testing corners.

After the two long stages the teams will return to Rallystar to do the real technical and spectacular stages designed to please spectators and test driver skills to the full.

Navigators who manage to stay on pace – will probably be in line for a Rallystar Oscar!

The pre-event favourites will probably be Guy Botterill of KwaZulu Natal in a Toyota Etios Gazoo Racing car who is the current South African rally driver’s champion. Another probable winner is Richard Leeke in a Ford Fiesta R2. These two have last year dominated the S1600 format of the championship but they are currently lying in a combined third spot on 16 points behind the leaders – yet another combined place – on 21 points AC Potgieter and Matthew Vacy-Lyle.

Richard Leeke

AC Potgieter in a Volkswagen Polo R2 will however not stand aside for Botterill and Leeke to do their thing – this promising young driver has developed spectacularly over the past few seasons and is a real candidate for an overall win in his own right.

The open and classic classes are difficult to predict although Theuns Joubert in his Open class Toyota Auris, could once again be the surprise packet of the rally after his performance on the York Rally. He went off the road on the penultimate stage after leading the rally for most of the stages and looked set to finish as the winner.

Joubert’s feathers may be ruffled by the Namibian team of Wilro Dippenaar and Riaan van der Westhuizen who are eager to enter this real rally tester. Dippenaar needs rally kilometers and this is the event where he will get proper seat time.

One of the favourites in the Classic Class could be Lee Rose in his Ford Escort Mk11 while Knysna based Etienne Malherbe with Raj Jutley from Kenia as navigator will entertain the crowd with Malherbe’s traditional and spectacular sideways driving style.

To add beauty to the scene Lune Snyman in a Toyota Conquest and Madelein Britz driving a Golf will provide a stylish rally-dance through the stages! It is wonderful to see a few ladies back in the sport and we hope the fans will support the sport by attending this spectacle.

The organisers provides secure parking on tar – right at the gate to the stages. Entry fee for both days and four people in a car will be R100. Lots of action and entertainment while the teams are out on the satellite stages.

The Rallystar Rally is organized by the Pretoria Motor Club. The Clerk of the Course is Jackie Schreiber.