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Enzo Kuun and Sasol Volkswagen score second Sasol Rally victory

by CAR magazine on 23/06/2003

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Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson controlled the 12th Sasol Rally from start to finish, taking the class A8 factory-entered Sasol DualFuel(tm) Volkswagen Golf to an untroubled 65 second victory (and Kuun’s second consecutive win on this event), ahead of the second placed class A7 Team Total Toyota Corolla Rsi of Etienne Lourens and Andre Vermeulen, their third consecutive podium placing and highest finish of the season. -

- Kuun initially had to fend off the attentions of his Sasol Golf teammates, current rally champions Jannie Habig and Douglas Judd. Habig and Judd were never more than 20 seconds adrift of the lead, suffering from a loose rear end on the Golf, which caused a spin in stage 1 and higher than normal tyre wear. -

- Habig attacked on Saturday, but the champion made a rare error and slid off the road and out of the rally on stage 10, the second of the day. -

- Kuun had an anxious moment as well, sliding wide on the slippery downhill twists on stage two, and again when the Golf’s alternator failed on the Long Tom Pass stage on Friday night. He was forced to race at 190km/h without light, and without his navigator giving instructions, as those lights were also extinguished in the hope of saving the remaining current in the battery. -

- The overall championship points leader going into the Sasol Rally, Serge Damseaux and Robert Paisley, retired their Team Castrol Toyota RunX Rsi after stage two after a valve in the engine broke. -

- Lourens and Vermeulen lost time on day 1 with a broken gear linkage, but hauled in the leaders from the start of day 2, locked in a fierce four-way battle with Schalk Burger/Vito Bonafede (Bridgestone Sasol DualFuel(tm) Subaru Impreza WRX Sti), Fernando Rueda/Piet Swanepoel (Motion Motorsport Sasol DualFuel(tm) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) and Hergen Fekken/Dave Lewkowicz (Sasol DualFuel(tm) Volkswagen Polo Playa). -

- Burger initially held 2nd place after Habig retired, but a puncture dropped them to third, which they held to the end. Burger and Bonafede won both class N4 and the overall Production Car category with their gritty performance. -

- Meanwhile, Fekken challenged hard, taking time from both the competitors ahead. The Sasol DualFuel Polo driver got within 11 seconds of Lourens, before engine failure caused the Polo to retire. The second factory-entered Sasol Polo of Tjaart van der Walt/Mike Burrows retired in stage 2 with a similar engine failure. -

- Rueda and Swanepoel were unable to mount a serious challenge for a differential was damaged on day one. The damage also caused the prop shaft to work loose, and with no spare shaft available, Rueda held the two-piece shaft together with two cable ties. Expecting it to fail with every gear change, they made it to parc ferme at the Nelspruit Showgrounds with a secure 4th position overall. -

- Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Cobus Vrey brought their Team Total Toyota Corolla Rsi into 5th place overall. A spin in stage 1 and broken driveshaft in stage 8 cost the Capetonians time, but they persevered and scored their second finish in class A7. -

- Visser du Plessis/Thilo von Westernhagen brought their Lipton Iced Tea Subaru Impreza WRX Sti home in 6th place. Running without the navigator’s odometer from the start, du Plessis also had to contend with two punctures in stage four, another flat wheel in stage 13, and a lack of brakes in the same stage. A blown turbo in stage 15 also cost time, so du Plessis was satisfied with his result. -

- Renting a Subaru Impreza GT from a fellow competitor, gave Rob du Preez and Richard Gerntholtz their career best finish with 7th overall. Other than a scare on stage two when the car clipped a bank and reared up onto two wheels, du Preez spent the event getting to grips with the supercar, and had an untroubled run to the finish. -

- Jacques Botha/Henry Dearlove (Minolta Silverton Spar Subaru Sportwagon) were credited with 8th position overall, although they dead-heated with du Preez on elapsed time. Botha had built the car in just four days, and arrived at the start in Sabie without any testing mileage at all, making his result all the more remarkable. -

- Charl Wilken and Robin Houghton ended 9th overall and won class N3 for the fourth consecutive time. With the Sasol DualFuel(tm) SA National Rally Championship at its halfway mark, Wilken and Houghton are effectively the class N3 champions. Their class competition, the Friendly Grocer Renault Clio of Wiley Harrington/Willie van Straaten, retired with a broken driveshaft in stage three. -

- Rounding out the top 10 was the Italian Panelbeaters Subaru Impreza GT of Jose Ferreira and Miguel da Costa. Feeling the car to be down on power, Ferreira was nevertheless delighted with his result. -

- With five cars in the top ten, Subaru secured the prestigious One-Make Award on the Sasol Rally. -

- Claiming a career best (on a national rally) 11th overall and class A6 victory was the talented Jaco Venter and JB van Nieuwenhuizen in their Venter Motors Toyota Corolla Rsi. The youngster suffered from flat wheels on day 1, which caused minor bodywork damage, but a clean run on day 2 moved the pairing into the class lead, following the demise of Craig Trott/Gerhard Snyman (Team Total Toyota Corolla Rsi) in the spectator-lined White River stage on day 1. -

- Colin Wilson/John Ogden brought their Colplast Ford escort Cosworth home under its own power in 13th overall. On the 2002 Sasol Rally, the car failed and Wilson and then navigator Geoff Tyrer had to push the heavy Ford the final 570 metres. -

- Lola and Megan Verlaque, the only all girl team in South African rallying, ended 15th in their newly re-bodied and re-liveried Rally Chicks/Sasol DualFuel Subaru Impreza WRX. Megan had a bug which caused her to become ill on the event, while Lola drove the entire day 2 without a clutch, making their performance all the more remarkable. -

- Class A5 fell to Gugu Zulu with co-driver Dave McGregor, their second consecutive victory. The Sasol DualFuel(tm) Volkswagen-mounted duo were 2 minutes adrift at the end of day 1, but put the hammer down on day 2 to pass both the current class points leader Dolf Coetzee/Willie Malan (Toyota Tazz) and the class champions Rodney Visagie/Carolyn Swan (Team Total Toyota Tazz). -

- Nelspruit domiciled husband and wife team of AJ and Juanita Pretorius scooped class N2 with a clean run in their Jobmates Toyota Corolla Rsi. The N2 front runners self destructed on day 1: Dean Sanders/Rod Hering (Team Total Toyota Corolla Rsi) retired in SS2 with a broken lower control arm, while Richard Behm/Grant St Clair retired in the same stage with a broken driveshaft on their similar Palbin Corolla. -

- Worst off in N2 was Chris de Wit/Janine Labuschagne (CTH Toyota Corolla Rsi) who had a wheel come off in the first stage. They drove 20km to service in Graskop on three wheels, but rolled out of the event in stage 4. -

- Class N1 went to Bryan and Keith Heine, for the 6th consecutive rally, driving their Penny Pinchers/Sasol-backed Volkswagen Chico, ending a minute ahead of their class competition, Hylton Belitzky/Ryan Cheyne (Protea Hotels Toyota Tazz). -

- The non-points scoring class S20 went to John and Cherry Saunders in their Toyota Corolla Mk1. -

- 34 competitors out of 69 starters completed the Sasol Rally 2003. -

- Other retirements included: -

- · Leon Botha/Richard Clark (Pretoria Subaru Impreza WRX Sti): after SS5, lost time beached on a rock -

- · Callie van der Merwe/Gideon Trollip (Subaru Impreza GT): withdrew after SS5 after losing half an hour with punctures -

- · Johnny Gemmell/Greg Godrich (L&J Plant Hire Subaru Impreza WRX Sti): under car fire – SS5 -

- · Gregory Bloomer/Greg Godrich (Toy Toy Spares Toyota Tazz): SS8 -

- · Allan Worms/Llewellen Fourie (Lessan Toyota Tazz): driveshaft SS3 -

- · Adrian Karth/Rikus Fourie (Shatterprufe NetConnect Volkswagen Polo Playa): diff SS3 -

- · Tony Ball/Dean Redelinghuys (Bulwer Park Volkswagen Polo Playa): SS 4 -

- · Giovanni Piazza Musso/Richard Leeke (Escort Mk2) SS18 – pulley -

- · Paul Pheiffer/Duncan English (Toyota Corolla Rsi): rolled SS 11 -

- · Rocky Reyneke/Andre Pheiffer (Hencom Panelbeaters Subaru Impreza GT) did not start -

- · Kobus Roos/Brendan Nunan (Hencom Panelbeaters Volkswagen Golf) did not start -

- · Michele Lupini/Gary Kingsley Williams (Sabat Toyota Tazz) did not start -

- 52-minute highlights of the Sasol Rally 2003 can be seen on Topcar on Supersport on Mnet (Main Channel) at 17h30 this Saturday (28 June), with further repeats on the Supersport Dstv channels between 29 June and 11 July. -

- Further highlights will be broadcast in episode 3 of “Sasol Rally Scene” directly after the French F1 GP qualifying on Saturday 5 July (approx. 15h00). -

- The 5th round of the Sasol DualFuel(tm) SA National Rally Championship is the Volkswagen Rally, which takes place in and around Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage from 18-19 July 2003. -

- Associate sponsors of the Sasol Rally 2003 were: Ligwalagwala fM, Sony PlayStation.2, The Lowvelder/Laevelder newspaper, Play Energy Drinks and Tiger Wheel and Tyre. -

- For more information and full results on Sasol Rally 2003, or any aspect of the Sasol DualFuel(tm) SA National Rally Championship, log onto www.sasolrally.co.za or www.sasolrallyscene.co.za.