South African Rally Preview Rd 4/7
21-22 July 2017
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
The 35th Volkswagen Rally in Port Elizabeth and surrounds will be another highlight of the SA Rally Championship season set to entertain the thousands of supporters this event has generated over the years.
Being the longest standing event on the calendar with support from Volkswagen South Africa, it is only fitting that the event will start from the immaculate AutoPavillion museum at the Uitenhage manufacturing plant on Friday, 21st of July.
Spectators will be afforded an opportunity to take part in a lucky draw at AutoPavillion where two lucky winners will experience an once-in-a-lifetime passenger ride in a rally car at the rally’s final stage on Saturday. The draw will take place before 2pm as the crews get ready to depart for the first stage. More details will be revealed soon on Facebook (SARallying) and the SA Rally web page (www.sarallying.co.za).
The Volkswagen Rally will also attract good entries from across South Africa and from neighbouring countries to spice up the winter chill. Leading the charging pack will be the R2 cars ahead of the newly formed Classic Class cars which is a revelation to the revamped formula of 2017 in rallying.
Expect the racing to be fierce in the R2 class (which is a near production based 1600cc front-wheel drive rally car) with no real stand out contender to pick for this event. Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy Lyle in their Toyota Gazoo Racing Etios are the current points leader, but that is no indication of how close the racing has been this year. Richard Leeke and Henry Köhne in their ATS Ford Fiesta have been pushing hard on the stages for wins but have yet to stand on the top step this year. They find themselves in joint second on the championship log with Chris Coertse and Greg Godrich who made a dream debut with their Electrothread Mazda 2 in Secunda, winning the class for the first time. In 4th position is Swazi native Jono van Wyk with SA navigator Scott Howden in the Swazi Cowboy Ford Fiesta who have been setting very impressive stage times. Also look out for Tjaart Conradie and Carolyn Swan in their Silverton Engineering Toyota Etios and George Smalberger with Chris Brand reading the notes in the Shield backed VW Polo looking for good results. New to the R2 class will be JJ Potgieter and Tommy du Toit in the Ex Leeke Ford Fiesta.
In the Classic class for pre 1985 rally cars, many purists will be excited at the prospect of seeing and hearing the legendary Ford Escort of ex Kenyan National Rally Champion Lee Rose with SA Champion navigator Elvene Coetzee riding shotgun. They are a formidable team that won the Secunda Rally outright beating the R2 cars to the finish line. Keep a watchful eye on them as this yellow Escort screams its way through the stages. Etienne Malherbe and Robbie Coetzee in the George Silverton Radiators Datsun SSS will be pushing hard to keep his red machine sideways for as long as possible to entertain the crowds. They will also be one up on their rivals as they are the only crew in this class that have competed here before. Ashley Mackenzie and Les Mackenzie will bring their Ford Escort Mk 1 as well as new entrant Warren Kohler/Roxanne Bartle in a newly prepared Toyota Corolla. The only front wheel drive car in the classic class for this event will be the Golf 2 of Hubi von Moltke and Terry Illman.
To complement the National field will be the Eastern Cape’s Algoa Rally Club cars and expect to see at least 20 entries from this region series comparing stage times to the National crews. The Eastern Cape is one of the healthiest regions in Regional Rallying and keeping the sport growing. Regional rallying is the ideal platform for any aspiring rally driver or navigator out there, because this is where they will start their future rally career.
For the route this year, the organisers have kept the spectators their priority for maximum viewing value and minimum traveling in mind. Friday will have one gravel stage that will be repeated in the late afternoon to cater for those who still need to work in the morning but still want to get to the action.
The first stage will be starting from the People Pavillion at 14h40 with a view point at the Jagvlakte dam area, spectators can setup camp there and watch the whole field as they wait for the repeat stage which will start at 16h25.
Friday evening promises to excite with the night stage at the Baywest Mall that starts at 18h00. The rally crews will tackle a gravel section with a big jump that will see cars fly through the air whilst Magnetic Storm will provide quality sound and displays at the stage. The stage will be run twice with the second run to start at 19h05. Feel free to take a walk through the pit area and chat to the drivers and navigators or get your poster signed by the crews. All the action will be happening at Entrance 4 of Baywest Mall.
Saturday 22nd of July will be action packed and the highlight of the event for the rally crews will be the notorious MTO Longmore plantation facing them for stern test of crew and machine. With an easy 20 minute drive from PE, the MTO Longmore plantation is within reach to some spectacular viewing points on offer. Spectators can expect the first cars at the Culturama spectating point from 08h15 and you will be able to watch the whole field pass before moving on to the next viewing point less than 2 km away at 10h00 for the PPC stage. The pit area in MTO Longmore will have food trucks to keep the breakfast pains away whilst Luister FM will be keeping the entertainment going over the airwaves. Also expect a jumping castle for the little ones in the pit area to keep them entertained whilst dad inspects the rally cars. The Culturama stage will be repeated at 11h30 followed by the repeat of PPC stage at 13h10.
The penultimate stage and also the last stage in the forest will be the same spectating point as Culturama, but run in the opposite direction as the Sinkdam stage which will kick off at 14h20.
The Final stage of the rally will be back at Baywest Mall and will start at 15h20. After the last cars have finished, the Win-a-Spin winners will be taken on the actual stage to feel what it feels like to be a rally navigator.
There will also be a podium champagne spray taking place at 16h40 in front of entrance 4 where the public is welcome to attend.
As a Partner to the Volkswagen Rally, Vehicle tracking solutions specialist Ctrack by Inseego is using its telematics technology to monitor the rally cars competing in the 2017 South African National Rally series both On and Off the track. The race organisers have visibility of the competing cars throughout the competition in a live centre which is crucial to the safety and response to any medical emergency. It also allows the race organisers to monitor for any route deviations, speeding, high g-force impacts and general driving behaviour – all vital aspects during a race.
Details will published on the website (www.sarallying.co.za) and Facebook (sarallying).
*Image credit: Sue Vacy-Lyle
Follow the Rally live via :
Twitter – @sarallying ; Facebook – sarallying ; YouTube – sarallying ; Instagram – sarallying ; Website
For further information contact:
Jean Els – 082-339-6519
Rikus Fourie – 084-673-8786