HABIG/JUDD TAKE SEVEN POINT LEAD IN STANNIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
Former champion Jan Habig and Douglas Judd will defend a narrow championship lead in round four of the series when the Stannic Rally Championship moves to the Eastern Cape for the VW Rally next month.
The deadlock at the top of the championship table was broken when Habig and Judd, in the factory VW Golf 4, won the Sasol Rally in Mpumulanga on June 18 and 19. The 1997 champions and Castrol Toyota Conquest crew Serge Damseaux and Guy Hodgson went into the Sasol on level terms, but now have a tenuous seven point lead with the championship rapidly developing into a straight fight between the two factory crews.
After a troubled time of it on the Sasol Rally, the Damseaux/Hodgson combination salvaged second place, by just four seconds, ahead of Team Total Toyota Conquest crew Etienne Lourens and Robert Paisley. Showing consistency lacking over the last two seasons, Lourens and Paisley are third in the drivers and co-drivers championship and trail the factory Toyota crew by 22 points.
Behind the three Class A8 crew a terrific battle has developed between Class A6 runners Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Pierre Arries (Team Total Toyota Conquest) and reigning class champions Hergen Fekken and Dave Lewkowicz in the Dunair Toyota Conquest. Damseaux/Arries took the class win and fifth overall on the Sasol Rally to edge ahead of Fekken/Lewkowicz by a single point.
Fekken and Lewkowicz also had a troubled time of it on the Sasol Rally and lost 14 minutes in special stage eight on day one of the Mpumulanga event. They battled on to finish 18th overall and salvaged four precious points that, as is the case with Damseaux/Hodgson, could prove vital at the end of the season.
Only three points separate Damseaux/Arries, Fekken/Lewkowicz and veteran former South African champion Hannes Grobler and Nic Hadden in the Total Bridgestone Nissan Sentra. Grobler and Hadden won the Group N category and Class N3 on the Sasol Rally, and also have a Class A7 win, on the Stannic Cape Rally, to their names this season.
The position in the overall championship is mirrored in Class A8 and Class A6, and another dogfight is developing in Class A7. The class win on the Sasol Rally lifted reigning champions Tjaart van der Walt and Cindi Harding (Rieks Towing VW Golf) into a one point lead over early season pacesetters Barry Grobbelaar and Mike Burrows in the Team Total VW Golf.
Despite the Grobler/Hadden win in Mpumulanga, the KwaZulu Natal crew of Cliff Blackman/Johan Klaasen (Team Total Nissan Sentra) still lead Class N3. They lead Grobler and Hadden by nine points with the pair hit by their sortie into Class A7 on the Stannic Cape rally.
Victory on the Sasol Rally, their second of the season, has given Dean Sanders and Graham Hooper (Team Total Toyota Corolla) a little breathing space in Class N2. They now lead reigning drivers champion Schalk Burger and Martin Botha (Bridgestone Quality Tyres Toyota Corolla by 14 point margin.
In scoring their best result of the season so far Burger and Botha moved into second place in the Class N2 championship. They now lead cape crew Diffie Marais and Danie de Waal (Toyota Corolla) by just three points.
Class N2 is dominated by Toyota entries as is the case in Class N1 where reigning drivers champion Rodney Visagie and Carolyn Cimma, in the Team Total Toyota Tazz, are top of the heap. Behind them are another Toyota Tazz team in Mike Houghton and Bryn Doherty with the pair in their first full season of national championship rallying.
On the manufacturers front Toyota have built up a huge early season lead over Volkswagen. The gap is now 266 points with another 148 points separating Volkswagen and Nissan.
Drivers (Overall): 1 J Habig 95; 2 S Damseaux 88; 3 E Lourens 66; 4 J-P Damseaux 51; 5 H Fekken 50; 6 H Grobler 48.
Co-Drivers (Overall): 1 D Judd 95; 2 G Hodgson 88; 3 R Paisley 66; 4 P Arries 51; 5 D Lewkowicz 50; 6 H Grobler 48.
Group N Drivers (Overall): 1 D Sanders 45; 2 C Blackman 32; 3 S Burger 31; 4 R Visagie 29; 5 D Marais 28.
Group N Co-Drivers (Overall): 1 G Hooper 45; 2 J Klaasen 32; 3 M Botha 31; 4 C Cimma 29; 5 D de Waal 28.
Class A8 (Drivers): 1 J Habig 95; 2 S Damseaux 88; 3 E Lourens 66.
Class A7 (Drivers): 1 T van der Walt 44; 2 B Grobbelaar 43; 3 T Ball 35.
Class A6 (Drivers): 1 J-P Damseaux 51; 2 H Fekken 50; 3 C de Wit 23.
Class N3 (Drivers): 1 C Blackman 32; 2 H Grobler 23; 3 M Wyngaard 8.
Class N2 (Drivers): 1 D Sanders 45; 2 S Burger 31; 3 D Marais 28.
Class N1 (Drivers): 1 R Visagie 29; 2 M Houghton 23; 3 A Worms 14.
Class A8 (Co-Drivers): 1 D Judd 95; 2 G Hodgson 88; 3 R Paisley 66.
Class A7 (Co-Drivers): 1 C Harding 44; 2 M Burrows 43; 3 M Olivier 35.
Class A6 (Co-Drivers): 1 P Arries 51; 2 D Lewkowicz 50; 3 A Harris 23.
Class N3 (Co-Drivers): 1 J Klaasen 32; 2 N Hadden 23; 3 R Wyngaard 8.
Class N2 (Co-Drivers): 1 G Hooper 45; 2 M Botha 31; 3 D de Waal 28.
Class N1 (Co-Drivers): 1 C Cimma 29; 2 B Doherty 23; 3 D Watt 13.
Manufacturers Championship: 1 Toyota 522; 2 Volkswagen 256; 3 Nissan 88; 4 Opel and Ford 29; 5 Daewoo 6.