The route for the Stannic Great North Rally on September 17 and 18, round five of the Stannic Rally Championship, has been finalised with the event likely to be one of the toughest of the season. The event is based in Northern Province and...
The route for the Stannic Great North Rally on September 17 and 18, round five of the Stannic Rally Championship, has been finalised with the event likely to be one of the toughest of the season.
The event is based in Northern Province and starts and ends in Pietersburg. Both days also feature a special stage in Magoebaskloof with the rest of the rally centred around Tzaneen. The event is being organised by the Pretoria Motor Club and route director John Ogden has come up with a rally that features 203 kilometres of special stage distance and 293 kilometres of road sections for a total distance of 496 kilometres.
"Roads are currently in good condition, but this is an event that has traditionally been hit by rain," said Ogden. "This time around we can but hope that the weather stays good.
"The route has plenty of variety and six of the 18 special stages are a combination of gravel and tar. It should prove to be a pretty good test for crews and cars."
The event starts in Pietersburg with the first car due off the start ramp at 12h00 with the first two special stages run in the Northern Province capital. Stage one is a spectator stage at the Pietersburg sports centre and is a combination of gravel and tar, with the first car into the stage at 12h12.
The second special stage is at the Pietersburg reservoir at 12h40 with crews then tackling a lengthy open section to the first of the Magoebaskloof special stages which starts at 13h48. Three more special stages in the Tzaneen area make up the first leg of section one with cars entering a parc ferme at 17h19.
The second leg of section one of the event starts at 18h00 and is made up of two special stages in Tzaneen starting at 18h23 and 19h03. Both offer good spectating with cars then entering an overnight parc ferme at 19:18.
Section two of the event restarts in Tzaneen at 08h30 with the first special stage at the Tzaneen testing grounds with the first car away at 08h42. This is followed by five special stages, all within a 10 kilometre radius of the centre of Tzaneen, before crews head back towards the finish at Pietersburg.
En route there is a repeat of the Magoebaskloof special stage with the last three stages all run in Pietersburg. The first of these is back at the reservoir site and this is followed by the sports centre repeat and the final stage through the town centre.
The reservoir stage is scheduled to start at 14h18, the sports stadium stage at 14h39 and the town stage at 15h00. The reservoir stage is an all dirt affair, the sports stadium stage a mixture of gravel and tar and the final stage will be all tar.
With 14 points separating current championship log leaders Jan Habig/Doug Judd (VW Motorsport Golf 4) and Serge Damseaux/Guy Hodgson (Castrol Toyota Conquest), the Stannic Great North Rally could have a major bearing on the destiny of this year's Stannic Rally Championship. For Damseaux and Hodgson nothing short of victory will do, while Habig and Judd need to consolidate.
While the position at the top of the log is interestingly poised, there are also a number of close contests developing in the other Group A and Group N classes. The event will also carry with it a touch of nostalgia in that it will be the final Stannic Great North Rally of the millennium.