This has been a year of challenges and marked the end of an era in the final running of the S2000 cars as the premier rally car class. 2016 also saw the withdrawal of the factory teams which have been the cornerstone of rallying in South Africa for many years.
To ensure the revival and growth of the National Rally Championship in 2017 a new steering committee has been formed to guide rallying in South Africa into the future.
The new National Rally Steering Committee, under the chairmanship of Rikus Fourie is a good balance of youth and experience. The Steering Committee is focused on the vested interests of all competitors, the organizing of quality events as well as ensuring stable and long term relationships with our existing and future partners.
The 2017 Championship will offer a high level of competition, close rallying, entertainment and a new level of social media marketing that will not disappoint.
A revised format of events, based largely on feedback from the competitors, will be introduced. The goal of the new format is to minimise ‘time away from work’ as well as optimise the cost of competing in and the running of events.
The 2017 National Rally Championship will comprise seven events, which will be run in conjunction with the respective Region’s championships. The confirmed dates and provisional venues for the events are as follows:
|4||21/22 July||Eastern Cape||Port Elizabeth|
|6||22/23 September||Western Cape||Caledon|
|7||20/21 October||Free State||Welkom|
Each championship round will be run over two days. The distances of the events will be as follows:
- Special stage distance will be targeted at approximately 140 km in total
- Total rally distance is targeted at less than 300 km
- The goal is to have around 70 km of stages, which will include repeat stages.
The basic format of the seven championship events will be as follows:
- Single pass recce starting after 9h00 to allow for early flights
- Scrutineering will take place during the running of the recce
- Drivers briefing
- Interactive holding area with spectators
- Mid-afternoon start to the event followed by two or three stages
- Short night and spectator stages may be held
- All cars will be in Parc Ferme by around 20h30
- First stage will start after 08h30
- Remainder of stage distance will be run.
- Target time for service breaks to be minimum of 30 minutes
- Centrally located service park/s
- Podium ceremony to be concluded before sunset, and
- Prize giving venue to be determined by the event organiser/sponsor.
The South African Rally Championship Class will be the R2 Class and a national driver and navigator champion will be declared. Within the R2 class, we are introducing a Masters class for drivers over 35 years of age. The rules for the class will remain the same technically and no turbo charged vehicles will be included in the class for 2017. The support classes, which will be classified as ‘Challenges’, will be NRC4 and NRC2. The goal of the NRC2 and NRC4 Challenges is to accommodate virtually all existing rally cars in the National Championship events. It will also include Classic cars.
The existing S1600 cars that do not comply with the R2 regulations may enter the NRC2 Challenge.
Due to the limited funding available for marketing, the Steering Committee will make use of Social Media as the main stream marketing tool. The production and airing of TV programs will be added should additional sponsorships be secured. This will be determined on an event by event basis.
A media company will be approached to ensure that the quality of the Social Media and TV coverage is world class.
We look forward to a new and revived Rally Championship in 2017 which offers exceptional racing and a great level of entertainment and interest.