VW Rally Preview

Apart from providing crews with a stern test the VW Rally in the Eastern Cape on October 1 and 2, round six of the Stannic Rally Championship, could be make or break for South Africa's two top rally crews. The two crews -- factory VW...

Apart from providing crews with a stern test the VW Rally in the Eastern Cape on October 1 and 2, round six of the Stannic Rally Championship, could be make or break for South Africa's two top rally crews.

The two crews -- factory VW Motorsport Golf pair Jan Habig and Doug Judd and Castrol Toyota works pair Serge Damseaux and Guy Hodgson -- are locked in battle at the top of this year's championship. Fortunes have swung towards Habig and Judd, the 1997 champions, who will be particularly keen to take a step closer to the title on home territory.

Victory over Damseaux and Hodgson on the Stannic Great North Rally gave Habig and Judd, with crews still to drop one score in the eight event championship, a little more breathing space. Habig and Judd lead the Castrol Toyota pair by four wins to one this season, and a home town win for Volkswagen could put the championship out of reach for Damseaux and Hodgson.

The VW Rally was scheduled for earlier in the season, but was postponed because of a fire hazard in the Longmore Forests. With the event rescheduled to the October date, crews face a hectic close to the season with the Rally of South Africa and the Stannic Gauteng Rally following the VW Rally in quick succession.

The format of the VW Rally does not alter radically from that envisaged by the organisers earlier in the season. The event will be made up of seven special stages -- with a distance of just over 70 kilometres -- on day one.

These will be followed up on day two with special stages with a total distance of around 126 kilometres. Total special stage distance over the two days will be fractionally over 196 kilometres with total distance of 342 kilometres.

The event will open with a Super Special Stage in Uitenhage followed by the well known special stage at Wincanton. Next on the agenda are stages back in Uitenhage and at North End, with the day ending with a spectator special stage at King's Beach with plenty of other entertainment laid on for rally enthusiasts.

Day two is dominated by Longmore Forest special stages. Three will be run -- with the first stage starting at 07h40 - before a regroup. Two more forest stages will be run after the regroup with crews then heading to Wincanton, Willowdam and the Aldo Scribante race circuit for the penultimate stage.

The finale will be back at King's Beach for another spectator special stage, and once again there will be plenty of other entertainment to keep rally enthusiasts happy. The Aldo Scribante sortie is a Super Special Stage scheduled to start at 14h00 with the first car away at the final King's Beach stage at 14h35.

The event is compact and should provide for plenty of action -- with the main focus on the VW versus Toyota scrap at the head of the field. The event, however, could have a bearing on other championship issues -- but Volkswagen will be more than happy with a repeat of last year's result which saw them fill four of the first five places.

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Series RALLY