STANNIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP GOES ALL THE WAY TO THE WIRE
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 brings the curtain down on the season next weekend.
A dramatic Agip Rally in the Western Cape last month 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.
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 next weekend. 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 Group N front there is also a tight battle going on for the overall and Class N3 titles. Former SA rally champion Hannes Grobler and Dave McGregor go into next weekend's finale with an eight point lead over Team Total Nissan Sentra pair Cliff Blackman and Johan Klaasen in both championships.
Toyota look set to clinch both the Class N1 and Class N2 championships. Rodney Visagie and Chris Olsen (Toyota Conquest) have comfortable Class N1 leads over Opel Corsa pair Allen Worms and Ashley Gericke in the drivers and co-drivers championships.
Visagie leads Worms by 14 points in the drivers title race, with Olsen holding an eight point lead over Gericke in the co-drivers stakes. Neither are out of the woods yet, but hold all the high cards.
Class N2 is a straight fight between three Toyota crews with just seven points separating three drivers and 13 points three navigators. Schalk Burger (Godrich Toyota Conquest) leads Diffie Marais (Toyota Corolla) by just one point with Dean Sanders (Team Total Toyota Conquest) six points further back.
Thilo von Westernhagen, who has partnered Burger over the latter part of the season, has the inside lane in the co-drivers championship. He leads Danie de Waal, paired with Marais, by seven points with Graham Hooper, partnered by Sanders, another six points adrift.
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.
Championship points are:
Overall Drivers: 1 J Habig177; 2 T van der Walt 151; 3 H Fekken 145; 4 S Damseaux 143; 5 H Grobler 122; 6 C Blackman 114; 7 J-P Damseaux 110; 8 P Piazza-Musso 84; 9 C Trott 84; 10 S Burger 75.
Overall co-drivers: 1 D Judd 177; 2 C Harding 151; 3 D Lewkowicz 145; 4 V Bonafede 143; 5 D McGregor 122; 6 J Klaasen 114; 7 P Arries 110; 8 T von Westernhagen 86; 9 B Duncan 84; 10 N Hadden 84.
Overall Group N drivers: 1 H Grobler 122; 2 C Blackman 114; 3 S Burger 75; 4 D Marais 74; 5 D Sanders 68; 6 R Behm 63; 7 R Visagie 52; 8 G Kleyn 45; 9 A0 W Watt 37.
Overall Group N co-drivers: 1 D McGregor 122; 2 J Klaasen 114; 3 T von Westernhagen 85; 4 D de Waal 74; 5 G Hooper 68; 6 C Olsen 52; 7 C Cimma 45; 8 A Gericke 44; 9 D Watt 37.
Class A8 drivers: 1 J Habig 177; 2 S Damseaux 143; 3 P Piazza-Musso 84; 4 E Lourens 73; 5 E Kuun 57.
Class A7 drivers: 1 T van der Walt 151; 2 B Grobbelaar 59; 3 K Coleman 49; 4 B Woodhead 31; 5 J Brewin 19.
Class A6 drivers: 1 H Fekken 145; 2 J-P Damseaux 110; 3 C Trott 84; 4 D Coetzee 32; 5 P Goosen 31.
Class A8 co-drivers: 1 D Judd 177; 2 V Bonafede 143; 3 N Hadden 84; 4 R Paisley 73; 5 G Hodgson 57.
Class A7 co-drivers: 1 C Harding 151; 2 M Burrows 59; 3 U Koch 49; 4 M Swart 31; 5 T Porter 19.
Class A6 co-drivers: 1 D Lewkowicz 145; 2 P Arries 110; 3 B Duncan 84; 4 E Blanche 31; 5 E van der Walt 24.
Class N3 drivers: 1H Grobler 122; 2 C Blackman 114; 3 G Kleyn 45, 4 V du Plessis 11; 5 J Joubert 11.
Class N2 drivers: 1 S Burger 75; 2 D Marais 74; 3 D Sanders 68; 4 R Behm 63; 5 G Schutte 6.
Class N1 drivers: 1 R Visagie 52; 2 A Worms 38; 3 W Watt 37; 4 W Harrington 27; 5 J Watt 6.
Class N3 co-drivers: 1 D McGregor 122; 2 C Blackman 114; 3 C Cimma 45; 4 L Joubert 11; 5 S Boonstra 6.
Class N2 co-drivers: 1 T von Westernhagen 81; 2 D de Waal 74; 3 G Hooper 68; 4 J Bright 31; 5 M Botha 15.
Class N1 co-drivers: 1 C Olsen 52; 2 A Gericke 44; 3 D Watt 37; 4 N Fourie 27; 5 B Doherty 3.
Manufacturers: 1 Toyota 930; 2 Volkswagen 636; 3 Nissan 285; 4 Opel 131; 5 Ford 89.