The Subaru Cape Rally, the 7th and penultimate round of the Sasol dualfuelä SA Rally Championship 2003, on the weekend of 19 and 20 September, may see the crowning of this year’s overall champions. -

- The event, organized by CPMCC, runs from the Killarney racetrack up the West Coast to Moorreesburg and the surrounding areas, including the ever-popular Bridgetown farm stage. The challenging route includes two head to head SuperSpecials at Killarney racetrack on Friday evening. -

- Serge Damseaux and Robert Paisley head the overall championship log in their class A8 Team Castrol Toyota RunX RSi, but they had their lead cut to four points after their third place finish on the previous round, the MotorPics Mountain Trial in August. -

- Damseaux was hampered by a puncture in stage 4, which dropped the multiple Somerset West domiciled driver to fifth overall, before charging back into second place. However, a 10-second penalty dropped the title contenders to third overall, and the extra lost points could yet prove extremely expensive. -

- Challenging the works Toyota outfit is the class A7 duo of Etienne Lourens and Andre Vermeulen in their Team Total Toyota Corolla RSi, who have already wrapped up the class championship for the year. Lourens scored a brilliant start to finish win on the Mountain Trial to add to his four consecutive podium placings, and they are the only pairing able to challenge for the overall title. -

- With nothing to lose, as their second place overall cannot be beaten, the Pretoria pairing will be going all out to challenge for the sport’s greatest prize. -

- Third overall on the points log is the leading Production Car runner Schalk Burger and seven times co-driver’s champion Vito Bonafede in their class N4 Bridgestone Sasol dualfuelä Subaru Impreza WRX STi. Burger has been a consistent points scorer this year, but is coming under increasing pressure from his main title rival, Fernando Rueda in his Motion Motorsport Sasol dualfuelä Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7. Rueda has rotated co-drivers this year due to the business commitments of Pierre Arries, Martin Botha and Piet Swanepoel, leaving Bonafede to claim his 8th crown in all but the slimmest of mathematical chances. -

- Arries will navigate for Rueda on the Subaru Cape Rally, while fourteen points separate the class and Production Car Championship title chase between Burger and Rueda. -

- Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson are the leading Sasol dualfuelä Volkswagen Racing Team entry in 5th place on the points table after a season blighted by three retirements out of six starts. The class A8 Golf took 2nd place on the Mountain Trial after Damseaux’s penalty and will be aiming to end their season on a high, and spoil Toyota’s in-house title fight. Given the right set of circumstances, they are capable of victory, as they proved on the Sasol Rally back in June. -

- Equally anxious to claim another victory this year are Kuun’s teammates, the current champions Jannie Habig and Douglas Judd. They have endured an awful season, plagued by unreliability as the car reaches the end of its development life cycle, but can easily claim a victory as well. -

- Another class A7 runner able to challenge Lourens and Vermeulen is the Team Total pairing of Jean-Pierre Damseaux/Cobus Very. This local duo boast extensive knowledge of the Western Cape conditions and will be a force to be reckoned with, as Damseaux Junior finds his feet in the more powerful class A7, having graduated from class A6 this year. -

- The Sasol dualfuelä Volkswagen Polo Playas of Hergen Fekken/Dave Lewkowicz and Tjaart van der Walt/Mike Burrows are capable of challenging for class A7 honours when the cars are running reliably, and Fekken and Lourens have enjoyed some incredibly close battles this year. -

- The Topcar Hugo Boss BMW 320i has recorded three consecutive top 10 finishes on the last three events, and is the only rear wheel drive car in the field. Piloted by Natalians Cliff Blackman/Johan Klaasen, they are trying to eke more power out of the wailing straight-six engine to take them nearer to the class-winning pace. Adrian Karth/Rikus Fourie (NetConnect Volkswagen Polo Playa), Tony Ball/Alec Harris (Bulwer Park Polo Playa) and a number of local Western Cape teams are capable of scoring solid points finishes in their class. -

- The top Production Car runners in class N4 aside, a host of Subarus are all able to score a top placing overall on their ‘home’ event. Nicholas Ryan had a brilliant start to the season, before three consecutive non-points scorings dropped him from 1st to 3rd in class. The ABC Motors Impreza GT, co-driven by Brian Carrihill could well spring a surprise. -

- Leon Botha/AN Other (Pretoria Subaru Impreza WRX STi), the current N4 class champion, won class N4 on their last visit to the Cape in May and could do so again. Rocky Reyneke/Andre Pheiffer (Hencom Panelbeaters Impreza GT), local hero Werner Koekemoer/Graham Hooper (AutoSpot House of Subaru Impreza GT), Visser du Plessis/Thilo von Westernhagen (Lipton Iced Tea Impreza WRX STi) and Lola and Megan Verlaque (Rally Chicks Impreza WRX) have all scored solid points finishes this year, often in the top 10 overall. -

- Mally Saville/Dean Redelinghuys (Auto Services Subaru Impreza WRX), Callie van der Merwe/Gideon Trollip (Mobil Impreza GT) and Rob du Preez/Richard Gerntholtz (Slurry Reclaimers) have also enjoyed successful forays this season. -

- Johnny Gemmell, who won this event in 2001, co-driven by Greg Godrich, has scored no points this year and will want to show some points for their efforts this year. The L&J Plant Services Subaru Impreza WRX STi –mounted duo have led all but one rally outright at some point, before mechanical bothers halted them. Don’t discount the lightning-fast driver from a surprise result should the going be muddy. -

- Rounding out the numerically strongest class and making his debut in Rueda’s older Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 is Rueda’s brother in law Paul Pheiffer/Duncan English, and their progress will be watched with interest. -

- Team Total’s Craig Trott and Gerhard Snyman have already wrapped up the class A6 championship after nearly a decade of trying. Their class competition comes from Andy Haigh Smith/Gerald Brace (Team React Corolla RSi) and a number of local crews. -

- The class N3 title has gone to the factory-entered Team Castrol Toyota RunX of Charl Wilken/Robin Houghton after a season of domination. The former track champion will face a new challenge from Jacques Botha/Henry Dearlove Jr, who is expected to debut a brand new class N3 Silverton Spar Ford Focus ST170, if the car is completed on time. -

- A5 is another closely contested class, where the current title holders Rodney Visagie/Carolyn Swan (Team Total Toyota Tazz) head the standings, but are faced with a stern challenge from the Sasol dualfuelä Volkswagen Chico’s of former track star Gugu Zulu/Dave McGregor and Nkosinathi Nzimande/Fani Fani Meyiwa. Zulu scored his maiden class win on the Toyota Dealers Cape Rally in May. -

- Other capable teams in the class include Dolf Coetzee/Willie Malan (Toyota Tazz) who led the class until midyear before a series of non-finishes dropped them to 4th in the class points standings. -

- Gregory Bloomer/Greg Gericke (Toy Toy Tazz) have had a trying season, but have started picking up their pace as reliability has improved. -

- An interesting entry into the class is the Heine brothers, Bryan and Keith. Having already clinched the class N1 title for the year after dominating the class by winning every round, they have acquired an A5 Volkswagen Chico and will make their class debut on the Subaru Rally, again with support from Penny Pinchers. -

- A very tight class battle is expected in class N2, where the current leader is the talented but under- funded Chris de Wit/Janine Labuschagne (CTH Transport Toyota Corolla RSi). The KZN team is in a strong championship position, but faces a tough challenge from locals Richard Behm/Grant St Clair (Palbin Corolla RSi) and the identical Team Total Corolla of the class champion Dean Sanders and co-driver Rod Hering. -

- This class has thrilled rally fans across the country with battles separated by seconds, often changing the lead by the stage. -

- In class N1, the top runners will be Hylton Belitzky/Ryan Cheyne (Protea Hotels LUK Toyota Tazz) and the Team Total Sowetan pairing of Vusi Mabanga/Patrick Yende in a similar Tazz. Mabanga and Yende missed the last round of the series, as their car wasn’t repaired after rolling it twice in the Volkswagen Rally in July. -

- For further information on the Subaru Cape Rally, log on to the official rally championship website at www.sasolrallyscene.co.za or www.subarucaperally.co.za, where enthusiasts can get results, images and enter an exciting on-line competition with great prizes up for grabs. -

- Further information is available via the Sasol dualfuelä Race & Rally Hotline by calling 08 22 33 4321. -

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