Swaziland results

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SWAZILAND: Springboks Serge Damseaux and Vito Bonafede realised an ambition when they led the 24th Castrol International Rally from start to finish, eventually winning the 1 100 km event by nearly 12 minutes. Damseaux and Bonafede, driving...

SWAZILAND: Springboks Serge Damseaux and Vito Bonafede realised an ambition when they led the 24th Castrol International Rally from start to finish, eventually winning the 1 100 km event by nearly 12 minutes.

Damseaux and Bonafede, driving a Castrol Toyota Conquest 4x4, were unchallenged following the early demise of last year's winners Hannes Grobler and Pierre Arries (Bankfin Nissan Sentra 4x4) and problems encountered by top-seeded Kenyan crew Ian Duncan and Dave Williamson (Castrol Toyota Celica 4x4)

The South African Rally Champions stamped their authority on the event right from the first special stage in the centre of Ermelo on Friday, and immediately went into the lead.

The Kenyan crew, winners of last year's World Championship Safari Rally, and third overall in this year's Safari, lost time at the beginning of the rally when they got stuck after going off in their own dust, and late yesterday with a punctured tyre.

Indeed, tyre problems dogged them throughout the event, the fast roads causing more wear than expected, quickly cutting down on their stocks, and forcing them to "scrounge" tyres from other crews.

Toyotas dominated the rally, with the top three placings, and eight in the top 10.

Third placed was the Brady Dabner/Guy Hodgson Toyota Conquest followed by the Ford Escort RS Cosworth of Namibian entry Frits Flachberger and Wicus Bruwer.

But the dice of the event was between former rally Springboks Kassie Coetzee and Richard Leeke, and Coetzee's former rally navigator, Wiley Harrington - now turned driver - teamed with Nic Hadden.

Now top members of the off-road racing fraternity, Coetzee and Leeke kept pace with the leading rally cars in a Toyota Hilux 4x4 bakkie designed for "bundu bashing" rather than high-speed rallying, holding fifth overall for much of the event before finally relenting that position to the Toyota Conquest of Glen Derman and Dave Lewkowicz.

And then in the closing stages of the rally, the Class A Toyota Conquest of Wiley Harrington (former navigator to Coetzee) and Nic Haddon slipped through to eventually push the Hilux back to seventh overall.

Eighth place was filled by the spunky little Fiat Uno Turbo of Paulo Piazza-Musso and Mike Connolly, while Trevor Graham and Peter Chadwick, Toyota-mounted, came home ninth, and the top 10 was completed by the Toyota Celica 4x4 of Kenyans Harbinder Setthi and Surinder Thatthi.

Some 31 crews made it to the finish from the 55 which left the Ermelo start on Friday, including no fewer than nine off-road cars!.

Results

SOUTH AFRICAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUND 3 AFRICAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUND 1

1. Serge Damseaux/Vito Bonafede (Toyota Conquest), 6h04m37s; 2. Ian Duncan/Dave Williamson (Toyota Celica), 6h17m08s; 3. Brady Dabner/Guy Hodgson (Toyota Conquest), 6h33m06s; 4. Fritz Flachberger/Wicus Brewer (Ford RS Cosworth), 6h39m45s; 5. Wiley Harrington/Nic Haddon (Toyota Conquest), 6h47m06s; 6. Glen Derman/Dave Lewkowicz (Toyota Conquest), 6h42m28s; 7. Kassie Coetzee/Richard Leeke (Toyota Hilux), 6h43m56s; 8. Paolo Piazza- Musso/Mike Connolly (Fiat Uno Turbo), 6h47m14s; 9. Trevor Graham/Peter Chadwick (Toyota Conquest), 6h49m37s; 10. Harbinder Sethi/Surinder Thatthi (Toyota Celica), 6h52m16s.

ends

*********************************************************** Colin Windell <colin.windell@digitec.co.za> CyberRace Inc (c) 1995. All rights reserved ************************************************************ ---- Digitec Online - South Africa Telnet: bbs.digitec.co.za

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