PLANNING FOR RALLY OF SOUTH AFRICA ON SCHEDULE CAPE TOWN - 22 â€“ 24 OCTOBER 1999 Planning for the Rally of South Africa in the Western Cape from October 22 to 24 â€“ a pilot project aimed at securing South Africa a place on the FIA World ...
PLANNING FOR RALLY OF SOUTH AFRICA ON SCHEDULE CAPE TOWN - 22 – 24 OCTOBER 1999
Planning for the Rally of South Africa in the Western Cape from October 22 to 24 – a pilot project aimed at securing South Africa a place on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar within three years – is right on schedule.
The Rally of South Africa is also the penultimate event on this year's Stannic Rally Championship calendar, and is expected to attract a number of foreign competitors.
Under the watchful eye of former Motorsport SA Rally Commission president Ralph Behm, who is chairman of the organising committee, the event is being organised by a team of experts drawn from organising clubs around the country.
Three Cape based motors clubs – the Cape Peninsula Motorcycle and Car Club, the Cape Car and Motorcycle Club and the Somerset West Motor Club have been hard at work putting together the route for the event.
"The route has been finalised and we are bang on schedule with other details," said Behm. Apart from working closely with the three motor clubs, Behm is also being assisted by clerk of the course Willie du Plessis and current MSA Rally Commission president Diether Kok who is acting as an advisor to the clerk of the course.
"A feature of the route is that none of the planned 22 special stages is further than 120 kilometres from Cape Town," Behm said. "We set out with the specific intention of coming up with a quality route that was compact, and I think we have scored on both counts.
"On this score I have to pay tribute to the three clubs who have come up with new special stages in a number of areas, and the co-operation and team work has been a lesson to everyone in rallying."
The event will start with a Super Special Stage, hopefully at Ratanga Junction, on October 22, with two cars out at the same time on a mirror image course. This will be a "bells and whistles" affair with grandstand seating, beer tents and a rock concert.
Day two will comprise 12 special stages in the Erinvale, Somerset West and Grabouw areas and a Super Special. The organising committee is also currently negotiating with local authorities the possibility of a special stage in the Khayelitsha area. If the talks are successful the Khayelitsha special stage will be a first for South African Championship rallying.
The rally will visit the same areas on day three for eight special stages before another Super Special grand finale.
Total special stage distance on day two is 150 kilometres and on day three 104 kilometres.
With around 490 kilometres of open sections total distance on the event will be approximately 757 kilometres.
"The route also includes a little of everything," said Behm. "Apart from the Super Specials there are forest sections, mountain special stages and some flatter farmland sections. "There is also a variance between very quick and tighter special stages, and it is going to be a challenge for crews and machinery."
Clerk of the course Willie du Plessis is also happy with the progress that has been made. "Ralph and the three clubs have done most of the work, and have come up with what looks to be a terrific package," he said. "I am also happy with the rest of the planning. It is a huge task but the organising team is pulling together and everything appears to be falling into place."
Charmaine Fortune, operations manager of Rally Management CC, which owns the rights to rallying in South Africa, said the Rally of South Africa offered potential sponsors numerous opportunities. These include buying the event name, sponsoring special stages, spectator guide advertising and hospitality suites at the Super Special site where VIP marquees with elevated viewing facilities will be available.
"With the nuts and bolts planning of the event well underway, we are turning our attention to the marketing aspect of the event," Fortune said. "With the aim of getting South Africa onto the FIA World Rally Championship calendar within three years, the Rally of South Africa is highly important where the future of the sport in this country is concerned.
"The event offers potential sponsors attractive packages that carry enormous benefits, and we are working towards an event that will be the flagship of South African rallying in years to come."