Swartland National Rally report

Damseaux/Bonafede make it five in a row! CAPE TOWN: <Colin Windell>: The Toyota duo of Serge Damseaux and Vito Bonafede won their fifth consecutive South African rally title last weekend when they won the Swartland National Rally in...

Damseaux/Bonafede make it five in a row!

CAPE TOWN: <Colin Windell>: The Toyota duo of Serge Damseaux and Vito Bonafede won their fifth consecutive South African rally title last weekend when they won the Swartland National Rally in the Western Cape in their four-wheel-drive Conquest. This is their sixth national rally title, and the pair have already won six out of the seven national events this year.

Damseaux/Bonafede finished over seven minutes ahead of Billy Rautenbach and Johan Sieling in their four-wheel drive Hyundai Accent, with the two- wheel-drive Formula 2 VW Golf GTI of Tjaart van der Walt and Cindi Harding in third place.

The Swartland Rally, penultimate round in the 1996 South African Rally Championship, started on September 20 in Brackenfell and ended the following afternoon near Durbanville. Only 31 of the original 61 starters reached the end of the gruelling event.

The rally was characterised by very wet and slippery conditions, which claimed a heavy toll on the competitors. Damseaux described the rally as by far the wettest and slipperiest of the year, while Van der Walt said that he watched the road more through his side windows than through the windscreen.

Damseaux and Bonafede showed their intentions right from the start of the rally and by the end of the first leg had built up a lead of 11 seconds over Peter Alterskye and Alan Bisset in a similar car, with Jannie Habig and Douglas Judd in a Formula 2 VW Golf GTi in third place.

Alterskye/Bisset's challenge came to an end in stage 12 the following day when they got stuck in the stage and lost nearly 45 minutes, while Habig/Judd lost second place overall to gearbox problems.

Etienne Lourens and Robert Paisley's Toyota Conquest had the shortest rally of them all when they had to withdraw in the second stage of the event with electrical problems, while the Formula 2 Hyundai Elantra of Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson fell out in the first stage of day 2 with sideshaft problems. At that point they were 8 seconds ahead of the four- wheel-drive Accent of teammates Rautenbach and Sieling.

Hergen Fekken and Dave Lewkowicz (Toyota Conquest) also fell foul of the wet and slippery conditions and got stuck in stage 11. In a desperate attempt to get out, Fekken burnt out his clutch.

One team that will not forget this event easily, is the Marais/De Waal/Uno Pacer combination. They would have finished an incredible fourth overall had it not been for the fact that they were penilised by eight minutes for a late start on the second day of the event. This pushed them back to 10th place overall.

RESULTS

1. Damseaux/Bonafede (Toyota Conquest), 01h54,42m; 2. Rautenbach/Sieling (Hyundai Accent), 02h01,46m; 3. Van der Walt/Harding (VW Golf), 02h03,38m; 4. Grobbelaar/Burrows (VW Golf), 02h10,48; 5. Truter/Smit (VW Golf), 02h11,17m; 6. Mostert/Roussouw (Fiat Uno), 02h12,09m.

ends

*********************************************************** Colin Windell <colin.windell@onwe.co.za> CyberRace Inc (c) 1996. All rights reserved ************************************************************ 

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Series RALLY