PIAZZA-MUSSO CLAN OUT IN FORCE
This weekend's Stannic Great North Rally , sponsored by Stannic and Sasol, will turn into a family affair for the Piazza-Musso motorsport clan.
Former South African Formula Ford champion and multiple South African kart champion Claudio is to join brother Paolo in the line-up for the final event of the Stannic National Rally Championship. With Paolo Piazza-Musso and Nic Hadden again doing duty in the Sasol Ford Escort, with father Giovanni overseeing matters as team manager, the younger Piazza-Musso, with a co-driver Douw de Boer, will drive the SoBe Eros Ford 4x4 in what will be his national rally debut.
"The last few weeks have been full of innovation where I am concerned," said Claudio. "I made my off-road debut on the Caledon 400, and now I find myself taking on my first rally.
"I am a little nervous about it all but there is some comfort in that I will be able to call on the vast experience my Dad and Paolo have built up over the years."
Father Giovanni is a former Springbok rally driver while "big boet" Paolo has national rally class championships to his name. The elder Piazza-Musso and Hadden also have a win - on the Stannic Fleet Management Rally - behind them this season.
The Caledon 400 off-road experience came to nought for Piazza-Musso when the SoBe Eros Ford ran into engine problems. The big truck has since undergone a major overhaul, and has been fitted with a new 4,8 litre engine.
"There will be plenty of power and if it rains fourwheel drive will be to our advantage," said Claudio. "I am looking forward to the challenge and the only goal at this stage is to make it to the finish.
"With a little luck I can finish ahead of Paolo but I wouldn't bet on it!"
The Stannic Great North Rally starts in Tzaneen on Friday with nine of the scheduled 19 special stages to be run on day one. The event will restart in Tzaneen early on Saturday morning with four crews - reigning champions Jan Habig/Doug Judd (VW Golf), Tjaart van der Walt/Cindi Harding (7 Eleven VW Golf), Hergen Fekken/Dave Lewkowicz (Dunair Toyota Conquest) and Serge Damseaux/Vito Bonafede (Castrol Toyota Conquest) - in line to win this year's South African championship.
Two crews - Hannes Grobler/Dave McGregor (Bridgestone Nissan Sentra) and Cliff Blackman/Johan Klaasen (Team Total Nissan Sentra) are also in line to win the Group N championship for standard cars.