Gauteng’s Bapsfontein region played host to the third round of the 2013 South African National Rally Championship this past weekend. Of the 37 crews that entered the event, it was the pair of Jan Habig and Jan Paisley that were quickest over the 177 km of gravel special stages and claimed overall victory. You can see some race action of the winning pair here.
The privateer team in an S2000-class Ford Fiesta took the win by 45 seconds over the Toyota Yaris pair of Johnny Gemmell/Carolyn Swan. The relatively new Yaris continues to impress as it claimed its second podium for the works Toyota team. Enzo Kuun and Douglas Judd claimed third for Volkswagen in a Polo, placing three different manufacturers on the podium.
2009 Dakar Rally winner Giniel de Villiers is getting quicker with each successive event and along with co-driver Greg Godrich brought his Toyota Yaris home in fourth place.
Mohammed Moose and Andre Vermeulen were fifth overall in their slightly older spec Toyota Auris S2000 car. In the process, the pair also claimed the the S2000 Challenge class victory. But that wasn’t before some drama that they incurred on the final stage. With a commanding 1 min 30 second lead, the pair rolled their car close to the end of the rally. With help from the marshals, the car was dropped back onto its wheels and they managed to drive the wrecked Auris to the finish line, narrowly winning the class by nine seconds over last year’s S2000 Challenge Champion, Gugu Zulu.
Defending national champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Fiesta) were eighth overall after their chances of a third straight victory were scuppered when they lost front-wheel drive on the opening stage on Friday. They started the final day in 12th place, 5 minutes 21 seconds behind overnight leaders Habig and Paisley, and were the class of the field on Saturday, winning the first three stages and closing the gap to the winners by 30 seconds.
The next round of the championship takes place at the coast in the Eastern Cape on 19 and 20 July.