Rally fans and competitors alike are in for a treat when the 12th Sasol Rally officially gets underway from Sabie at 11h00 on Friday, 20 June, taking in 18 special speed stages over two days of non-stop action around the gloriously scenic and challenging route in the Sabie, White River, Graskop and Nelspruit areas of Mpumulanga. -

- Under the guidance of experienced Clerk of the Course, Willie du Plessis and his team from the South African Motorsport Club (SAM), the Sasol Rally covers 207 competitive stage kilometres with a total route of 632km. -

- The first section of the Sasol Rally takes the near-record entry of 72 competing teams towards Graskop for three stages in with a central service point in Graskop. A stage in the Komatiland-Tweefontein forest at 11H12 kicks off the serious part of the weekend, followed by a 17,4 km stage in Global Forests' Driekop plantation (12h00). The well-known Mac Mac stage follows at 12h51. -

- The return trip to Sabie takes in a further two stages, a combination of Tweefontein and Global's property before the final dirt stage of the day at Komatiland Sabie Driehoek. -

- The organisers have acceded to the competitor's request not to run gravel stages at night and have come up with three tar stages to keep the traditionally massive crowd of spectators entertained. -

- The service area will be at the Sabie Primary School sports grounds and gives fans a chance to watch the service crews refettling their charges and collect driver's signatures and posters. The Sabie town stage, the "Sasol Sabie Sizzler", at 880 metres long is the shortest of the event, kicks off the festivities at 18h00. Thousands of spectators throng the central business area to witness the action. The organisers have urged the public to obey the instructions of the Crowd Control Marshals, who are there to protect the spectators and competitors alike. -

- The following stage, at 18h47, is a historical first for South African rallying. The authorities have agreed to close 7km of the famous Long Tom Pass, from Sabie to the R37 Nelspruit turn-off. This 7km long section of the tight and twisty mountain pass will be a stern challenge for the surviving crews and offer spectators a rare sight of rally cars at full speed on a public road. -

- The final stage of the day, the "Volkswagen Golf GTi Gas", starts at 21h00 in the White River CBD, another firm favourite amongst spectators. The biggest spectator attendance in South African rallying watches the action on these tar stages. -

- Day two of the Sasol Rally commences at 07H25 when the crews leave the Nelspruit Showgrounds for the "Subaru Superspecial" at the Nelspruit 'spaghetti junction' along Ferreira Street. Two equally matched cars in performance terms, are pitted head to head over a mirror image, crossover course, and provides spectators with the opportunity to directly compare the merits of the competitors. This stage starts at 08h00, but spectators are advised to arrive early as parking and vantage points will be at a premium. -

- Day two's first five dirt stages take place in the Rosehaugh and Witklip areas accessible from the R537 road to Sabie, and includes the popular Witklipdam viewing spot (09h47) and Bergvliet forest complex at 10h48. -

- Two popular viewing spots are the stages located on the Bridal Veil Falls road in Sabie at 12h40 and 13h07. The final leg of the rally returns the remaining crews back towards Nelspruit via 2 special stages. -

- These stages are in the Brooklands forest alongside the R37, at 14h30 and 15h08, completes the action before the final blast in Nelspruit and have often provided last minute dramas, the 'sting in the tail'. -

- The final stage, the "Sasol DualFuel Dash", finishes in the events arena at the Nelspruit Showgrounds, where competing cars enter the arena and complete around 500 metres at full racing speed before crossing the flying finish. Fans can see the action from the comfort of the grandstands, where food and drink will be on sale, and witness the podium ceremony with the traditional champagne spraying by the victors. The Showground stage is scheduled to start at 16h20. -

- An increasingly popular aspect of the Sasol Rally is the Sasol "Performance Playground". This Mardi Gras setting officially starts the Sasol Rally weekend from 16h00 on Thursday (19 June) and runs until well after the last competitor has crossed the finish line. Sasol and SAM have pulled out all the stops to ensure the 2003 edition is the best yet. -

- The hit brother band "Coleske" is the star attraction on Thursday evening, while fans can meet the teams, collect autographed posters and play Sony Playstation(tm) games. The Sasol Jordan Formula 1 car has been re-liveried to its original specification and equipped with a Playstation racing game and will be a memorable occasion for those small enough to squeeze into the tight confines of a Formula One cockpit. -

- Ticket holders will be in line to win a Sony PlayStation.2 console and game or a R3000 tyre/wheel voucher from Tiger Wheel and Tyre. -

- Entrance costs R15 for both Thursday evening (16h00 to 22h00) and the Saturday afternoon finish (14h00 to 18h00) or R10 for entry to a single day's activities. Kids under twelve are free. These tickets as well as souvenir Sasol Rally clothing and spectator guides will be on sale from Saturday 14 June at Tiger Wheel and Tyre (Nelspruit) and Trips S.A. (next to the Wimpy) in Sabie. -

- The Sasol Volkswagen show car as well as the Jordan Formula One car will be on display at Palm Motors, White River, and Tiger Wheel and Tyre between 8 and 19 June. -

- Rally fans who cannot attend the event can receive a free SMS results service by visiting www.sasolrally.co.za and registering their cell phone number. -

- Fans who still wish to take advantage of special accommodation packages for the event can visit: www.sabie.co.za (Sabie area) or www.sareservations.co.za (Nelspruit and White River). A wonderful prize of a weekend for two at a game lodge is available by booking on the latter website. -

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

- For more information on Sasol Rally 2003, log onto www.sasolrallyscene.co.za or call the Sasol Rally hotline: 08 22 33 4321. -

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