Gauteng Challengers in Stannic Championship

There will be no shortage of Gauteng challengers when the fight for titles in this year's Stannic Rally Championship opens with the 41st Stannic Tour Natal in KwaZulu-Natal on March 12 and 13. Topping the list in the premier Class A8 category...

There will be no shortage of Gauteng challengers when the fight for titles in this year's Stannic Rally Championship opens with the 41st Stannic Tour Natal in KwaZulu-Natal on March 12 and 13.

Topping the list in the premier Class A8 category will be Paolo Piazza Musso and veteran Springbok Richard Leeke in the Sasol Motorcraft Ford Escort. Leeke this year takes over co-driving duties from Cape based Nic Hadden, and his vast experience will rub off on Piazza Musso and the Scuderia Africa run team.

Piazza Musso and Hadden won the Stannic Fleet management Rally last season, but generally had a disappointing year. This year the team has set its sights on more wins and podium places, and with Leeke's input the targets set could turn to reality.

The ever consistent Tjaart van der Walt, who is Pretoria based, and Cape navigator Cindi Harding, will start outright favourites in Class A7 in a VW Golf. The pair dominated the category last season, and again look to be the pick of the bunch.

Another Pretoria crew, Barry Grobbelaar and Mike Burrows, in a Team Total VW Golf, will provide van der Walt and Harding with plenty of competition with consistency also a trump card for the Grobbelaar/Burrows combination. Johannesburg crew John Brewin and Terry Porter, in an Opel Kadett, scored a lone class win last year but could find the going a lot tougher this time around.

In Class A6 no one will be looking any further than reigning champions Hergen Fekken and Dave Lewkowicz in the Dunair Toyota Conquest. The pair had a great year in 1998 and were also totally dominant in a class that is Toyota territory.

On the Group N front Visser du Plessis and Liza Joubert will be out in a Nissan Sentra in Class N3, with the Kobus Roos/Neil Fourie and Schalk Burger/Martin Botha combinations top challengers in Class N2. Both teams will run Toyota Corollas and while Roos is an emerging talent Burger, the reigning Class N2 champion, and former SA co-drivers champion Botha have plenty of experience on their side.

There could be a little needle among top Gauteng challengers down in Class N1. Rodney Visagie sneaked the drivers championship from under the nose of Allen Worms in 1998, and there won't be much love lost between the pair.

Worms will again team up with co-drivers champion Ashley Gericke in an Opel Corsa with the pair now operating with backing from Team Total. Visagie teams up again with Chris Olsen in a Toyota Tazz, with Mike Houghton and Bryn Doherty and the father and son combination of Dave and Wayne Watt also out in Toyota Conquests this season.

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