MIXED RESULTS FOR CAPE CREWS ON VOLKSWAGEN RALLY
For Western Cape crews and the Damseaux family the Volkswagen Rally - round five of the Stannic National Rally Championship - produced a mixed bag of results.
On the Damseaux front son Jean-Pierre and Pierre Arries, in the Team Total Toyota Conquest, finally pulled one over dad Serge and Vito Bonafede in the factory Castrol Toyota Conquest. The younger Damseaux and Arries finished third overall and won Class A6, and for the first time in a national event J-P finished ahead of his famous father who has six South African titles under his belt.
For Damseaux senior and Bonafede, it was an event they will want to forget in a hurry. After a rally packed full of incident the pair managed to salvage seventh place - but now lead the championship by just one point from Volkswagen Rally winners Jan Habig and Doug Judd in the works VW Golf.
Matters started to go wrong for Damseaux and Bonafede on special stage three when they hit a rock and lost a wheel early on in the 48 kilometre stage. That cost them 10 minutes and effectively killed off their challenge - with a damage control exercise ahead of the crew.
Worse was to follow on day two, however, when Damseaux and Bonafede were involved in a collision with Hergen Fekken and Dave Lewkowicz, in the Dunair Toyota Conquest, after special stage 10. The Castrol Toyota crew were on their way back to the end of the stage to query a time with marshals, when they collided with Fekken and Lewkowicz.
Both cars suffered heavy suspension damage but quick work by technical crews saw them back in the rally. Fekken and Lewkowicz, running second to Habig and Judd and leading Class A6, had earlier lost seven minutes in stage 10 when they went off the road.
"You don't budget for these things but I suppose you have to expect one bad rally during a season," said Damseaux. "This was ours and I'm glad its over and out of our systems. "The result has put a lot of pressure on us for the rest of the season."
For other Western Cape crews there was a mixed bag of results. Pierre Goosen and Eugene Blanche, in a VW Golf, produced a fighting display that saw them into 11th overall and fourth in Class A6.
Diffie Marais and Danie de Waal, early season frontrunners in Class N2, followed up a non finish on the Sasol Rally with a troubled 17th place overall in the Tony's Radiators Toyota Corolla. That gave them second place behind Dean Sanders and Graham Hooper (Team Total Toyota Conquest) in Class N2 with Richard Behm and Thilo von Westernhagen 19th overall and third in class in the Opel Corsa.