Killarney Will Be Hub of Stannic Cape Rally

The Killarney circuit in Cape Town will be the hub of the Stannic Cape Rally, round two of the Stannic Rally Championship, on April 16 and 17. Documentation, scrutineering, the start and finish and three special stages will all be based at ...

The Killarney circuit in Cape Town will be the hub of the Stannic Cape Rally, round two of the Stannic Rally Championship, on April 16 and 17.

Documentation, scrutineering, the start and finish and three special stages will all be based at Killarney. The circuit will also be home base for the media centre and scorers and will be the venue for the official prizegiving.

The Stannic Cape Rally will start at 14h13 at Killarney with a Super Special stage geared for spectators. The increasingly popular format will see two cars out on the route at the same time on a mirror image course, and this should provide for some exciting and spectacular rallying.

From Killarney the rally will move to Klein Morewag and Spesbona for two gravel special stages before returning to the circuit for the fourth and final stage of the day. Total stage distance on day one is just short of 40 kilometres with crews also covering just short of 80 kilometres of open section.

Day two will cover just more than 165 kilometres in special stage distance with another 210 kilometres of open section, and will get underway at Killarney with crews heading for Gooie Hoop, Nuwedam, Bottlefontein and Langgewens before the lunch break at Mooreesburg. The first stage at Gooie Hoop is scheduled to start at 08h23 with the first car scheduled at the lunch break at 10h46.

After the lunch break three special stages will be run at Bridge Town, Dagbreek and Crywagenskraal before the now traditional spectator stage in Malmesbury. The first car is scheduled to start the Malmesbury stage at 15h00 with another huge crowd expected at the popular Western Cape town.

The Malmesbury special stage is the penultimate speed section of the event and crews then head back to Killarney. The final special stage is scheduled to start at 15h54 and will be a drawcard for Cape rally enthusiasts.

"Roads are in good condition and the route is a varied one which will provide a good test of man and machinery," said Clerk of the Course Robert Marle. "We have not run into any major problems during the organisational side of the event, and it looks as though we will have a highly interesting rally on our hands."

Total special stage distance of 205,14 kilometres and open section distance of 290,13 kilometres gives the Stannic Cape Rally an overall distance of 495,27 kilometres.

MALMESBURY A FOCAL POINT OF STANNIC CAPE RALLY

Malmesbury will again be a focal point for hordes of rally enthusiasts in the Western Cape on April 17.

The penultimate stage of the Stannic Cape Rally, round two of the Stannic Rally Championship, will again be held in the popular Cape holiday resort. The Malmesbury special stage is now part and parcel of the Cape event, and is expected to draw another huge crowd as South Africa's top rally crews fight it out through the town centre.

The first car is scheduled to start the town stage at 15h00, with Malmesbury residents and other Cape enthusiasts in for a treat with a number of other special stages within easy reach of the town. After a lunchbreak at Mooreesburg crews will head for special stages at Bridge Town (11h29), Dagbreek (12h27) and Crywagenskraal (13h31) before heading for Malmesbury where there will be a holding area for cars before the start of the special stage.

The holding area will give enthusiasts the opportunity to meet crews and to have a look at some highly interesting machinery. The final special stage of the Stannic Cape Rally will be held at the Killarney circuit in cape Town with the first car scheduled to start at 15h54.

DAMSEAUX FAMILY OFF TO A FLYING START IN STANNIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

The Damseaux family have got off to a flying start in the Stannic Rally Championship to occupy two of the top three places on the early championship points table.

After the opening event of the season, the Stannic Tour Natal, father Serge and co-driver Guy Hodgson (Castrol Toyota Conquest), top the overall standings with son Jean-Pierre and Pierre Arries (Team Total Toyota Conquest) third on the table. Damseaux senior and Hodgson won the Stannic Tour Natal with Damseaux junior and Arries fourth overall and Class A6 winners.

Currently splitting the Damseaux pair at the top of the table are 1997 champions Jan Habig and Doug Judd, in the factory VW Golf, who were second on the Stannic Tour Natal. Behind the top three Team Total Toyota Conquest pair Etienne Lourens and Robert Paisley share fourth place with early Group N leaders Dean Sanders and Graham Hooper (Team Total Toyota Corolla), with reigning Class A6 champions Hergen Fekken and Dave Lewkowicz and Hergen Fekken completing the top five.

An interesting feature of the early championship table is the appearance of five Group N crews in the top 10. Sanders and Hooper are joined by Diffie Marais/Danie de Waal (Toyota Corolla) and Rodney Visagie/Caroline Cimma (Team Total Toyota Tazz) who are joint seventh, Schalk Burger and Martin Botha (Bridgestone/Quality Tyres Toyota Corolla) in ninth place and Mike Houghton and Bryn Doherty (Toyota Tazz) who are 10th.

Sanders and Hooper head the Group N championship ahead of the Marais/de Waal and Visagie/Cimma combinations. Marais and de Waal and Visagie/Cimma, Class N1 winners on the Stannic Tour Natal, are tied for second place with Burger and Botha in third place.

On the manufacturers front the Stannic Tour Natal turned into a benefit for reigning champions Toyota who have built up a huge early lead over arch rally rivals Volkswagen. Toyota picked up a massive 223 points with Volkswagen second on 64.

Points positions:

Drivers (Overall): 1 S Damseaux 34; 2 J Habig 27; 3 J-P Damseaux 26; 4 E Lourens and D Sanders 23; 5 H Fekken 22; 6 B Grobbelaar 19; 7 D Marais and R Visagie 17; 8 G Klein and C de Wit 15; 9 S Burger 14; 10 M Houghton 13.

Co-Drivers (Overall): 1 G Hodgson 34; 2 D Judd 27; 3 P Arries 26; 4 R Paisley and G Hooper 23; 5 D Lewkowicz 22; 6 M Burrows 19; 7 D de Waal and C Cimma 17; 8 J Barnard and A Harris 15; 9 M Botha 14; 10 B Doherty 13.

Group N Drivers (Overall): 1 D Sanders 23; 2 D Marais and R Visagie 17; 3 S Burger 14; 4 M Houghton 13; 5 W Watt 6.

Group N Co-Drivers (Overall): 1 G Hooper 23; 2 D de Waal and C Cimma 17; 3 M Botha 14; 4 B Doherty 13; 5 D Watt 6.

Class A8 (Drivers): 1 S Damseaux 34; 2 J Habig 27; 3 E Lourens 23; 4 P Piazza-Musso 6.

Class A7 (Drivers): 1 B Grobbelaar 19; 2 G Klein 15; 3 K Westermeyer 5.

Class A6 (Drivers): 1 J-P Damseaux 26; 2 H Fekken 22; 3 C de Wit 15; 4 D Coetzee 9; 5 N Higgs 4.

Class N3 (Drivers): No Stannic Tour Natal finishers.

DAMSEAUX TWO

Class N2 (Drivers): 1 D Sanders 23; 2 D Marais 17; 3 S Burger 14.

xyClass N1 (Drivers): 1 R Visagie 17; 2 M Houghton 13; 3 W Watt 6; 4 J Strydom 4; 5 A Worms 2.

Class A8 (Co-Drivers): 1 G Hodgson 34; 2 D Judd 27; 3 R Paisley 23; 4 R Leeke 6.

Class A7 (Co-Drivers): 1 M Burrows 19; 2 J Barnard 15; G Snyman 5.

Class A6 (Co-Drivers): 1 P Arries 26; 2 D Lewkowicz 22; 3 A Harris 15; 4 E van der Walt 9; 5 M Havelaar 4.

Class N3 (Co-Drivers): No Stannic Tour Natal finishers.

Class N2 (Co-Drivers): 1 G Hooper 23; 2 D de Waal 17; 3 M Botha 14.

Class N1 (Co-Drivers): 1 C Cimma 17; 2 B Doherty 13; 3 D Watt 6; 4 M Ferreira 4; 5 A Gericke 2.

1998 STANNIC ASSET FINANCE RALLY

Round two of last year's Stannic Rally Championship - the Stannic Asset Finance rally in the Western Cape - produced one of the closest finishes in South African rally history. When the dust had settled just four seconds separated the Castrol Toyota Conquest of Serge Damseaux and Vito Bonafede, and the factory VW Golf of reigning champions Jannie Habig and Douglas Judd. The result gave the Damseaux/Bonafede combination their second win of the season but there was plenty of encouragement for Habig and Judd.

They were giving the new VW Golf kitcar its first South African outing with Habig not comfortable with the left hand drive configuration. It was a good start for the new car, with encouragement also for Paolo Piazza-Musso and Nic Hadden who brought the Sasol Ford Escort into third place overall.

Class A7 produced an interesting tussle between Tjaart van der Walt and Cindi Harding in the Rieks Towing VW Golf and Team Total pair Barry Grobbelaar and Mike Burrows in another Golf. Matters seesawed between the two teams - with Keith Coleman and Uwe Koch in another VW Golf snapping at their heels - before van der Walt and Harding made sure of matters over the closing stages.

There was an unexpected Class A6 win for the Team Total Toyota Conquest pair of Craig Trott and Brian Duncan who were 12th overall after an off-road excursion almost put paid to their rally. Class favourites Hergen Fekken and Dave Lewkowicz, in the Dunair Toyota Conquest, were time barred after a persistent misfire finally got the better of them, and Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Pierre Arries (Team Total Toyota Conquest) crashed.

The Group N category saw the first appearance of former SA rally and off-road champion Hannes Grobler and Dave McGregor in the Bridgestone Nissan Sentra. They announced their arrival in emphatic fashion with sixth overall and wins in Class N3 and the Group N category.

Three Group N crews finished in the top 10 with local pair Diffie Marais and Danie de Waal, in the Goodwood Auto Electrical Toyota Corolla, taking Class N2. The pair were eighth overall with Team Total Toyota Conquest crew Dean Sanders and Graham Hooper second in Class N2 and 10th overall.

Down in Class N1 there was a second win for Allen Worms and Ashley Gericke in the tiny Opel Corsa. The Pretoria pair brought the Corsa home ahead of the Toyota Conquest of Rodney Visagie and Chris Olsen with early season rivalry developing between the two crews.

The top 10 on the Stannic Asset Finance Rally were: 1 S Damseaux/V Bonafede (Castrol Toyota Conquest); 2 J Habig/D Judd (Team VW Golf); 3 P Piazza-Musso/N Hadden (Sasol Ford Escort); 4 T van der Walt/C Harding (Rieks VW Golf); 5 B Grobbelaar/M Burrows (Team Total VW Golf); 6 H Grobler/D McGregor (Bridgestone Nissan Sentra); 7 T Ball/A Harris (Bulwer Park VW Golf); 8 D Marais/D de Waal (Goodwood Auto Electrical Toyota Corolla); 9 K Coleman/U Koch (VW Golf); 10 D Sanders/G Hooper (Team Total Toyota Conquest).

Class A8 - S/Damseaux/V Bonafede (Castrol Toyota Conquest) Class A7 - T van der Walt/C Harding (Rieks VW Golf); Class A6 - C Trott/B Duncan (Team Total Toyota Conquest); Class N3 - H Grobler/D McGregor (Bridgestone Nissan Sentra); Class N2 - D Marais/D de Waal (Goodwood Auto Electrical Toyota Corolla); Class N1 - A Worms/A Gericke (Opel Corsa).

REVAMP FOR WORKS GOLF BEFORE STANNIC CAPE RALLY

The factory VW Golf campaigned by former champions Jan Habig and Doug Judd in the Stannic Rally Championship, is to undergo a facelift before round two of the series.

Currently in left hand drive guise, the VW Golf 4 will be converted to right hand drive before the Stannic Cape Rally on April 16 and 17. The VW Golf kitcar, built in Germany, arrived in South Africa shortly before the Stannic Tour Natal where Habig and Judd finished second to Castrol Toyota pair Serge Damseaux and Guy Hodgson.

Habig, however, makes no bones about the fact that he is not comfortable in a left hand drive car and the Golf will be converted to right hand drive at VW South Africa's facility in Uitenhage The team faced a similar scenario last season when the factory VW Golf campaigned by Habig and Judd - who finished second in the championship - was converted to right hand drive.

"I am not 100 percent comfortable with a left hand drive car, and the sensible thing to do is go through with the conversion," Habig said. "We have a championship at stake and if you are not at ease in a car you are immediately at a psychological advantage."

Habig added that in the current set up he was automatically reacting to controls as though he was in a right hand drive car. This was costing precious time in special stages, and over a season this was a luxury the team could ill afford.

"It is a mind set situation. I am focusing so much on what I am going to do next, that I am not concentrating fully on the road and ways and means of going that little bit quicker," said Habig. "I estimate that the conversion will mean a gain of up to half a second a kilometre on special stages, and over an entire event that can be the difference between winning and losing."

Certainly Habig and Judd will be mindful of the fact that last season they were beaten by only four seconds by Damseaux and Vito Bonafede on the Stannic Asset Finance Rally in the Western Cape. They won't want history to repeat itself, and the conversion exercise is an insurance policy.

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Series Other rally
Teams DAMS