A dramatic last-stage victory helped Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson secure the overall honours on the opening round of the Sasol SA Rally Championship, the Hitachi Power Tools Tour Natal Rally, at the weekend.A dramatic last-stage victory helped Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson secure the overall honours on the opening round of the Sasol SA Rally Championship, the Hitachi Power Tools Tour Natal Rally, at the weekend.content here
A dramatic last-stage victory helped Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson secure the overall honours on the opening round of the Sasol SA Rally Championship, the Hitachi Power Tools Tour Natal Rally, at the weekend.
Kuun and Hodgson’s Class A7 BP Volkswagen Golf led the event from the third stage until stage nine, but when they lost a minute due to a puncture, team-mates Jannie Habig and Douglas Judd took over the lead. However, Habig suffered his fourth puncture of the event in the final stage, which cost the second BP Golf two and a half minutes, and the four-times champion had to settle for fourth overall at the Durban finish.
Defending champions Serge Damseaux and Robert Paisley retired their new Super 2000 Castrol Toyota RunX RSi in the fourth stage after a butterfly throttle spindle broke in stage three and the alternator belt came adrift in stage 4, stopping the Toyota in its tracks with a dead battery. Damseaux had won the first two stages of the rally in the new FIA-sanctioned class.
Johnny Gemmell and Martie Olivier’s L&J Plant Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 finished second after an untroubled, clean run throughout the two-day, eleven stage event, which was run in sweltering conditions.
Spaniard Fernando Rueda and Martin Botha claimed the final step on the podium in their Sasol Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8. Rueda, who had been absent for a year due to poor health, hit a concrete culvert in the first stage, but recovered quickly and claimed the overall stage win on the final test of the rally.
Capetonian Richard Behm and Grant St Clair finished fifth overall in their Sasol Palbin Lancer Evo 6, giving Mitsubishi its first-ever 1-2-3 result in the Production Class. Behm struggled with overheating problems during the early stages of the rally because the Lancer’s intercooler was damaged by an unmarked dip in the road.
Claiming sixth overall was the Pretoria pairing of Jacques Botha/Greg Gericke in their Bosal Brospeed Subaru Impreza WRX Sti. Back in the top production car class after a year in a lower class, Botha drove with commitment, but was hampered by old tyres on day one.
Japie van Niekerk and Johan Sieling claimed seventh overall in their new ESPI Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8. They suffered a loose turbo pipe on Day 1, but Van Niekerk mastered the slippery gravel stages in KwaZulu Natal to get the pair’s campaign off to a solid start.
Nicholas Ryan and Brian Carrihill (Bosal Brospeed Subaru Impreza WRX Sti) finished eighth overall. The pair started Day Two in 30th position, having lost time with a wrong slot on Day One and stopping to help Stephan van Dyk in stage three when his car caught fire. Ryan scythed through the field over the remaining stages despite running on used tyres (his new supply was reportedly stolen from his workshop in the week preceding the rally!).
Rodney Visagie and Carolyn Swan, the defending class N3 champions, ended ninth overall in the Team Total Toyota RunX RSi ahead of Claudio Piazza Musso and Janine Labuschagne, in a similar Sasol Toyota RunX. Piazza Musso was on the class-leading pace from the start and closed in on Visagie during the second day’s stages.
Aggie Stroh and Jurg Steyn (Team NPS Oilflow Toyota Corolla RSi) won class N2, ending thirteenth overall. Schalk Burger and Wimpie van Greunen claimed class honours in A6. Class A5 was won by the factory BP Volkswagen Chico of Nkosinathi Nzimande and Gerhard Snyman.