Serge Damseaux and Robert Paisley ran out the winners of the Subaru Cape Rally, and extended their lead in the Driver’s and Co-driver’s championship points race respectively. The CPMCC-organised event was the seventh and penultimate round of the Sasol dualfuel™ SA National Rally Championship. -

- Damseaux and Paisley, driving their Team Castrol Toyota RunX RSi only took the lead on the 9th of the 10-stage event after holding down second place overnight on stage times. A tactic to clock into the final control of day one late, and incur a 10-second penalty to drop down the running order for day 2, saw the Somerset West-based driver holding 4th position.-

- Damseaux regained his second spot on day two, but was caught out on stage 7 by the flying Johnny Gemmell and Greg Godrich, who made an inspired tyre choice after rain had fallen just before the start of the stage. Gemmell took 24 seconds from Damseaux and an 11 second overall lead, before retiring their class N4 L&J Plant Services Subaru Impreza WRX STI in the penultimate stage with a blown turbo, handing the lead to Damseaux, who went on to win by 32 seconds.-

- The Swartland-based rally saw the emergence of Fernando Rueda and Pierre Arries as serious rally-winning contenders in their N4 Motion Motorsport Sasol dualfuel™ Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7. They led the event at the end of the first day after the leading factory entries had all manipulated their road positions, as running first on the road on day 2 can cost a competitor up to a minute, sweeping the loose gravel off the road for the following teams.-

- Rueda won the opening stage on day 2 and held his lead until the dramatic seventh stage, when he slid wide in the tricky conditions and hit a solid wooden pole, comprehensively destroying the rear of the car, including the wheel, suspension, panels as well as the boot and boot spoiler.-

- Schalk Burger and Vito Bonafede (Bridgestone Sasol dualfuel™ Subaru Impreza WRX Sti) were initially in the mix as well, holding 3rd place overall, but lost 2 minutes in stage 7 stuck in 3rd gear, which dropped them to 6th overall. They moved into 5th place after Rueda’s demise, but also dropped out in the penultimate stage with a broken gearbox.-

- The dramas in class N4 at the head of the field left the factory-entered Sasol dualfuel™ Volkswagen Golf pairings of Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson and the current champions Jannie Habig/Douglas Judd locked in an intense inter-team battle. The Golfs ran reliably for the two days, but Habig found his a little down on power on day 1, handing the advantage to his younger team mate, who went on to claim second overall by only 16 seconds.-

- Another top-running duo that found themselves off the ultimate pace was the class A7 championship pairing of Etienne Lourens/Andre Vermeulen in their Team Total Toyota Corolla RSi. The Cape event saw them performing at their lowest level of the year since March, a situation that Lourens was unable to explain. One theory he offered was that he was apprehensive after destroying his Total Corolla on this event a few years ago in a massive multiple roll.-

- Their fellow Team Total members, Jean-Pierre Damseaux/Cobus Vrey, held a competitive 5th place overall and were closer to Lourens than they have been all year. It came to nought at the start of stage 8 when a rose joint in the gear linkage mechanism broke.-

- Hergen Fekken and Dave Lewkowicz finished the event, held in changeable weather conditions, in 5th place overall after the A7 Sasol dualfuelä Volkswagen Polo Playa suffered from two water-induced misfiring sessions which robbed the car of power. A broken sideshaft in stage 6 cost the pairing another 2 minutes while an overshoot on the first stage damaged the front of the car.-

- Team mates Tjaart van der Walt/Mike Burrows in the second Sasol Polo Playa lost 40 minutes in the first stage with water in the electrical system. A slipping clutch later on day 1 was repaired in service, and van der Walt was in second last place, but they finished their second event of the year in 31st position.-

- Nicholas Ryan and Brian Carrihill claimed top honours in the Production Car category in their class N4 ABC Motors Subaru Impreza GT, their best result since the opening round of the series in KwaZulu Natal. Ryan had an incurable misfire for the duration of the event, but was involved in a titanic struggle with the similar Slurry Reclaimers Impreza GT of Rob du Preez/Richard Gerntholtz.-

- Du Preez had a new gearbox in his Impreza, which transformed the power characteristics of his car and the final gap between the two warring Subarus was 3 seconds, giving Ryan 6th overall and Du Preez 7th.-

- 8th overall was the Italian Panelbeaters Subaru Impreza GT of Jose Ferreira and Miguel da Costa, after going off the road in muddy conditions in stage 7. Added to that was a faulty airflow sensor, which mapped the engine for Highveld conditions instead of the coast.-

- Charl Wilken and Robin Houghton, who have already tied up the class N3 championship, powered their Team Castrol Toyota RunX RSi to 9th overall and their 7th class win since the car’s debut at the beginning of the season. Their only drama came on stage 8 when they hit standing water flat out which threw the car off the road. Such was Wilken’s pace that they were comfortably ahead off the class A6 Corolla of Craig Trott.-

- Rounding out the top 10 was another Subaru Impreza GT, the Hencom Panelbeaters entry of Witbank-based businessman Rocky Reyneke/Andre Pheiffer. A clean run, barring selecting the wrong tyres in the slippery stage 7, saw the pairing score another healthy helping of points.-

- Cliff Blackman and Johan Klaasen had a new, 50-kilogram lighter 4-cylinder motor in their Topcar Hugo Boss BMW 318i. The motor offers a significant weight saving while delivering the same power and more torque than the wailing straight six motor that it replaces.-

- Blackman found himself braking far too early for corners and having to accelerate again to reach the apex of the corners, as he came to terms with his lighter machine.-

- Craig Trott and Gerhard Snyman (Team Total Toyota Corolla RSi) have already claimed the class A6 title for 2003, and ended 12th overall with another class win. The KZN pairing lost a minute in stage 1 by being overcautious, which gave their class competitors Andy Haigh Smith/Gerald Brace (Team REACT Toyota Corolla RSi) a deserved class stage win and a boost as they are getting closer to the class pace.-

- Capetonians Richard Behm/Grant St Clair (Palbin Toyota Corolla RSi) won class N2 after driving aggressively from stage 1, and were never headed throughout the rally. Their main class rivals Dean Sanders/Rod Hering (Team Total Toyota Corolla RSi) suffered from gearbox problems on day 1 and never mounted a serious challenge.-

- Class leaders Chris de Wit/Janine Labuschagne (CTH Transport Corolla RSi) have effectively won the class N2 championship in all but the most bizarre mathematical calculations. They had a spin in stage 1 and were tied with Sanders after stage 8, but dropped 7 minutes with a puncture in stage 9, denying the under-funded pairing another helping of points.-

- Lola and Megan Verlaque (Rally Chicks Subaru Impreza WRX) scored their best result of the year with 14th position overall after a steady drive, holding off the local hero Werner Koekemoer/Graham Hooper (AutoSpot Subaru Impreza GT). Koekemoer ended day 1 in 9th position but lost 6 minutes with a fender-destroying puncture on the opening stage of day 2, plummeting them down the order.-

- Inspired driving, in spite of a total lack of brakes in stages 6 and 8, hauled them back into a points paying position.-

- Gugu Zulu and Dave McGregor scored a dominant class A5 win. After a steady start, they hauled in their class nemesis Rodney Visagie/Carolyn Swan (Team Total Toyota Tazz). Zulu reeled in Visagie, taking the class lead in stage 7, before Visagie and Swan lost four minutes with two stops to replace the alternator belt, which slipped off its pulley in stages 8 and 10.-

- Vusi Mabanga/Patrick Yende (Team Total Sowetan Toyota Tazz) won class N1 after Bryan and Keith Heine moved up to class A5 after clinching the N1 championship on the last round in August.-

- Other leading retirements included:-

- Leon Botha/Richard Clark (Pretoria Subaru Impreza WRX Sti) – leaking radiator -

- Mally Saville/Dean Redelinghuys (Auto Services Subaru Impreza WRX) – electronics -

- Visser du Plessis/Thilo von Westernhagen (Lipton Iced Tea Subaru Impreza WRX Sti) – differential -

- Callie van der Merwe/Gideon Trollip (Mobil Subaru Impreza GT) – accident -

- Nkosinathi Nzimande/Fani Fani Meyiwa (Sasol dualfuel™ Volkswagen Chico) – suspension -

- The Subaru Cape Rally will be screened on MNET’s Topcar on Supersport on Saturday, 27 September at 11h00 with further highlights on “sasolrallyscene” on SABC 3 directly after the USA F1 qualifying session on Sunday (approx 09h00).-

- Full results and downloadable images, which can be set as computer wallpapers can be found on www.subarucaperally.co.za.-

- For further information on the Subaru Cape Rally or any aspect of the Sasol dualfuel™ National Rally Championship, log onto www.sasolrallyscene.co.za or call 08 22 33 4321.-

- THE FINAL ROUND OF THE Sasol dualfuelä SA RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2003 IS THE TOYOTA DELAERS GREAT NORTH RALLY (FROM 10 – 11 OCTOBER) IN THE PIETERSBURG AND TZANEEN AREAS.