Championship Review after Agip Rally

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THREE CHAMPIONSHIPS FINALISED AFTER AGIP RALLY Two more Stannic National Rally Championship title issues have been settled following the Agip Rally in the Western Cape over the weekend. Third overall and victory in Class A6 in the Dunair ...

THREE CHAMPIONSHIPS FINALISED AFTER AGIP RALLY

Two more Stannic National Rally Championship title issues have been settled following the Agip Rally in the Western Cape over the weekend.

Third overall and victory in Class A6 in the Dunair Toyota Conquest was enough to secure the Class A6 title for Pretoria crew Hergen Fekken and Dave Lewkowicz. Despite a spirited fight back from Team Total Toyota Conquest pair Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Pierre Arries - who recovered from 26th overnight to finish sixth overall - Fekken and Lewkowicz can now not be caught in the Class A6 championship.

Unofficial scoring also saw Toyota secure the prestige South African Manufacturers Championship ahead of Volkswagen. Toyota went into the Agip Rally with a 225 point lead over the Uitenhage manufacturer and, with only one event left in the Stannic championship, a good haul of points has done the trick for Toyota.

With the Class A7 championship, safely in the bag for Tjaart van der Walt and Cindi Harding in the 7 Eleven VW Golf, the remainder of the championship issues will go to the wire on the Stannic Great North Rally in Tzaneen, organised by the Pretoria Motor Club, on October 16 and 17.

The overall championship, Class A8, the Group N title and Classes N1, N2 and N3 are all still up for grabs.

"With so much at stake we could not have asked for a better finish to the season," said Motorsport SA National Rally Commission president Bernie Marriner. "The overall championship has four crews in with a mathematical chance, and there are some tight battles going on in the Group N categories.

"For those crews involved it is a pressure situation, but the entire scenario will place a great deal of interest on the Stannic Great North Rally."

Ends 21/9/98

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE STANNIC NATIONAL RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP BY RALLY MANAGEMENT CC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT RORY BROWN AT (011) 466 2800 or CHARMAINE FORTUNE AT (011) 234 0980/0969.

GROBLER / MC GREGOR LEAD GROUP N CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER AGIP RALLY

Victory in the Group N category - and fourth overall - on the Agip Rally over the weekend has edged Hannes Grobler and Dave McGregor into a still tenuous lead in the Group N title chase in the Stannic National Rally Championship.

With a slender eight point lead in unofficial scoring Grobler and McGregor, in the Bridgestone Nissan Sentra, will go into the final event of the season with a slight advantage over chief rivals Cliff Blackman and Johan Klaasen in the Team Total Nissan Sentra. Only one point separated the crews going into the Agip Rally with Blackman and Klaasen keeping their championship hopes alive by finishing eighth overall and second to Grobler/McGregor in Class N3.

That sets up a fight to the finish between the two crews on the final event of the year, the Stannic Great North Rally, organised by the Pretoria Motor Club, on October 16 and 17. The fight between Grobler/McGregor and Blackman/Klaasen will not, however, be the only Group N championship scrap that will go to the wire.

Only seven points separate three divers in the Class N2 championship. Schalk Burger (Godrich Toyota Conquest) leads Cape driver Diffie Marais (Tony's Radiators Toyota Corolla) by only one point with Dean Sanders (Team Total Toyota Conquest) six points adrift of the Capetonian.

Marais and Danie de Waal finished ninth overall and won Class N2 on the Agip Rally. Burger and Thilo von Westernhagen and were 10th overall and second in class with Sanders/Hooper the big losers when they fell out with a broken sideshaft on day two.

In the co-drivers championship von Westernhagen is a lot better off than Burger. Von Westernhagen, who earlier in the season sat alongside Richard Behm for an event or two, is 12 points clear of de Waal with Hooper six points behind the Cape co-driver.

In Class N1 an Agip Rally victory for Rodney Visagie and Chris Olsen (Toyota Conquest) could have sealed the championship - but this issue, too, could hinge on the Stannic Great North Rally in Tzaneen. With Allen Worms and Ashley Gericke (Opel Corsa) failing to finish the Agip Rally, Visagie now has a 14 point lead over Worms in the drivers championship with Olsen leading Gericke by eight points in the co-drivers stakes.

Unofficial points positions in the Group N categories after the Agip Rally are:

Class N1 Drivers: 1 R Visagie 52; 2 A Worms 38; 3 W Watt 37. Co-drivers: 1 C Olsen 52; 2 A Gericke 44; 3 D Watt 37.

Class N 2 Drivers: 1 S Burger 75; 2 D Marais 74; 3 D Sanders 68. Co-drivers: 1 T von Westernhagen 86; 2 D de Waal 74; 3 G Hooper 68.

Class N3 Drivers: 1 H Grobler 122; 2 C Blackman 114; 3 G Kleyn 45. Co-drivers: 1 D McGregor 122; 2 J Klaasen 114; 3 C Cimma 45.

Ends 21/9/98

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE STANNIC NATIONAL RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP BY RALLY MANAGEMENT CC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT RORY BROWN AT (011) 466 2800 OR CHARMAINE FORTUNE AT (011) 234 0980/0969.

HABIG / JUDD TOP THE LEADER BOARD AFTER AGIP RALLY

The position at the top of the Stannic National Rally Championship leaderboard is starting to get a little complicated.

Mixed in with a lot of theoretical and mathematical scenarios, however, are two unalterable facts. The first of these is that the championship is going all the way to the wire, and the second is that reigning champions Jan Habig and Doug Judd, in the factory VW Golf, will be at the top of the betting boards when the Stannic Great North Rally, organised by the Pretoria Motor Club, on October 16 and 17 brings the curtain down on the season.

A dramatic Agip Rally in the Western Cape over the weekend saw Habig and Judd excluded from the results by clerk of the course Robert Marle for technical infringements on Special Stage 12. A protest to the stewards of the rally saw the VW Golf pair reinstated and 13th place overall saw the pair gather in eight precious championship points.

Unofficial scoring at the end of the Agip Rally now gives Habig and Judd 177 points with VW team-mates Tjaart van der Walt and Cindi Harding (7 Eleven VW Golf) in second place on 151 points. Third are Hergen Fekken and Dave Lewkowicz (Dunair Toyota Conquest) on 145 points, with six times champions Serge Damseaux and Vito Bonafede (Castrol Toyota Conquest) the only other crew in with a theoretical chance with 143 points.

That all sounds simple enough. All crews, however, have to drop one score at the end of the season and this is where rally enthusiasts haul out the calculators.

Current readjusted scores give Habig and Judd 169 points, followed by van der Walt/Harding on 146, Fekken and Lewkowicz on 145 and Damseaux and Bonafede on 143. Van der Walt/Harding have wrapped up the Class A7 title and Fekken/Lewkowicz the Class A6 championship - but overall victory and a full house of points on the Stannic Great North Rally is an unlikely scenario for both crews.

That leaves Damseaux and Bonafede the key crew in the mathematical jumble. Overall victory on the Stannic Great North Rally would leave the Castrol Toyota crew with 177 points - with Habig and Judd needing only to finish 12th to secure back to back titles.

For either van der Walt/Harding, runners-up three times in the last five years, or Fekken/Lewkowicz to emerge as surprise championship winners, both would have to secure top three finishes on the Stannic Great North Rally. That is not impossible - as both crews have demonstrated this season - but Habig/Judd and Damseaux/Bonafede would have to finish out of the points on the Stannic Great North Rally.

Whatever the mathematical possibilities it adds up to an intriguing finish to the season. Add to that the fact that all the Group N category championships are also going to the wire, and you have the potential for an explosive finale.

Unofficial points at the top of the championship (with corrected points in parentheses) are:

1 J Habig/D Judd (VW Golf) 177 (169); 2 T van der Walt/C Harding (7 Eleven VW Golf) 151 (146); 3 H Fekken/D Lewkowicz (Dunair Toyota Conquest) 145 (145); 4 S Damseaux/V Bonafede (Castrol Toyota Conquest) 143 (143).

Ends 21/9/98

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE STANNIC GREAT NORTH RALLY BY RALLY MANAGEMENT CC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT RORY BROWN AT (011) 466 2800 or CHARMAINE FORTUNE AT (011) 234 0980/0969.

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