Western Cape Crews Aim for Championship

Western Cape crews will again be in the hunt where championships are concerned in this year's Stannic Rally Championship. The season opens with the 41st Stannic Tour Natal in KwaZulu Natal on March 12 and 13 with one of the Western Cape stars...

Western Cape crews will again be in the hunt where championships are concerned in this year's Stannic Rally Championship.

The season opens with the 41st Stannic Tour Natal in KwaZulu Natal on March 12 and 13 with one of the Western Cape stars bound to be a centre of attention. Cape favourite Serge Damseaux and Vito Bonafede won their seventh South African titles last season - but it took a Motorsport SA appeal court decision to install the pair as champions.

The court excluded 1997 champions Jannie Habig and Douglas Judd from the results of the Agip Rally in the Western Cape, and there is likely to be a little animosity between the Castrol Toyota and VW camps this season.

Bonafede has retired from rallying and Damseaux will be partnered this season in the Castrol Toyota Conquest by experienced Cape co-driver Guy Hodgson. Damseaux and Bonafede spent 17 successful seasons together, but there is no doubt that Damseaux and Hodgson will weld into a formidable combination.

In Cindi Harding the Western Cape also has a top candidate for honours in Class A7. Harding and regular partner Tjaart van der Walt dominated the category last season, and look set to dish up more of the same on this campaign.

A second Damseaux will also be a contender for honours in Class A6. Jean-Pierre Damseaux, son of Serge, again teams up with Pierre Arries in a Team Total Toyota Conquest, with the younger Damseaux starting to show signs of the maturity needed to challenge for national titles.

A comparative rookie and an experienced crew will be looking to mount serious title challenges in the Group N category. Young Richard Behm, out in a Toyota Conquest this year with a co-driver yet to be nominated, and experienced Diffie Marais and Danie de Waal, in a Toyota Corolla RSi, will both campaign in Class N2.

Behm and Jonathan Bright created something of a stir when they won the Group N category on last year's Stannic Tour Natal. A repeat performance will go down well with Behm, while Marais and de Waal will be aiming at greater consistency this season.

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