DAMSEAUX/BONAFEDE WIN MOUNTAIN TRIAL
Serge Damseaux and Vito Bonafede reinforced their claim to their sixth South African Rally Championship by winning the Thaba Nchu Sun Mountain Trial at the weekend, bringing their Castrol Toyota Conquest to the finish 1m49s ahead of the field.
A major upset in this, the fastest rally on the South African calendar, was the demise of the Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson Bankfin Hyundai Accent with a broken gearbox just 1,5 km into the first special stage.
Damseaux and Bonafede won seven of the eight stages on the event with Jan Habig and Douglas Judd coming home second overall in their Class A7 StanBrik VW Golf, this latter pair the only other stage winners on the event.
Behind the Golf a furious battle raged through the event between the Class S16 Crisp-Air Toyota Conquest RSi of Hergen Fekken/Dave Lewkowicz, the similar car of Etienne Lourens/Robert Paisley and the Class A7 Rieks Towing VW Golf of Tjaart van der Walt/Cindi Harding.
At the lunch break in Barkly East just 24 seconds separated the three cars with the Golf the meat in a Toyota sandwich - the battle only resolving itself two stages from the end when Van der Walt used the superior power and speed of the Golf to take 40 seconds from Fekken to secure third place.
1. Damseaux/Bonafede (Toyota Conquest), 1hr41m12s; 2. Habig/Judd (VW Golf), 1hr43m01s; 3. Van der Walt/Harding (VW Golf), 1hr44m34s; 4. Fekken/Lewkowicz (Toyota Conquest), 1hr45m15s; 5. Esterhuyse/Barnard (VW Golf), 1hr52m57s.