Agip Rally #1

AGIP BULLETIN ONE 18/9/98 PRE START PROBLEMS FOR TOP AGIP RALLY CREWS There was plenty of pre-event drama prior to the start of the Agip Rally, penultimate round of the Stannic National Rally Championship, at Cape Town's Waterfront ...

AGIP BULLETIN ONE 18/9/98

PRE START PROBLEMS FOR TOP AGIP RALLY CREWS

There was plenty of pre-event drama prior to the start of the Agip Rally, penultimate round of the Stannic National Rally Championship, at Cape Town's Waterfront today.

The factory Daewoo team and the Team Total Toyota Conquest squad of Etienne Lourens and Robert Paisley were both in trouble. Both teams had to undergo a certain amount of trauma before making it to the start line - part of the huge entry of 61 cars.

Kuun, partnered by Guy Hodgson, complained yesterday that the new Daewoo Lanos was losing power. After a great deal of head scratching the Daewoo technical crew found that there was a problem with the timing chain.

"I am a lot happier now," said Kuun. "The testing we have done after the Stannic Fleet Management Rally has also cured our understeer problem, and hopefully we will have a good rally."

The Lourens/Paisley problem was a little more serious. The Team Total Toyota Conquest blew the motor with metres of the start of yesterday's practice stage with a dropped valve later diagnosed as the problem.

The team were forced to fly in an replacement engine from Durban, and faced an all night/early morning job in getting the car ready. In the race against time to get the car ready the squad arranged with the organisers for a late scrutineering berth.

"This season has been a nightmare," said a rueful Lourens. "Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong."

A major accident on the Stannic Asset Finance Rally in the Western Cape early in the season, and a string of non finishes have hit the Natal team this season. Despite their trials and tribulations, however, Lourens and Paisley are hoping for a good finish this weekend.

"We'll just have to go out there and take it as it comes," he said. "Hopefully the replacement motor will do the job, and we'll pick up a good result."

With an effective six point separating championship leaders and reigning champions Jan Habig and Doug Judd, in the factory VW Golf, and six time champions Serge Damseaux and Vito Bonafede (Castrol Toyota Conquest) the Agip Rally is a make or break situation. Only one championship category has been settled - Class A7 where Tjaart van der Walt and Cindi Harding have wrapped up matters in the 7 Eleven VW Golf - and championship contenders are under huge pressure this weekend.

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