Rally gets power stage
Exciting knockout format to be part of National Rally Championship in Scottburgh
RALLY fans can expect a spectatorfriendly route for the opening round of the 2015 SA National Rally Championship in Scottburgh the last weekend of February.
The organisers have also added a power stage on the Saturday, February 28. The “power stage” will be staged at Isontevideo, next to the Scottburgh airport, and will see the running order being reversed with the slower competitors running the stage first. Besides the inverted grid there will also be a knock- out ( or rather a knockoff) competition.
At the end of the stage a hot seat area will be demarcated adorned with a couch where competitors setting the fastest time for the stage will sit in waiting.
As the faster cars negotiate the stage and the stage times tumble, the crews setting the previous fastest time will move down the couch until literally being knocked off the bench … In the end only the stage winners will remain on the couch.
According to deputy clerk of the course Jimmy Dewar, the route for the “power stage” is right next to the airport runway, so there will be ample parking and vantage points for spectators. “We will be running this stage three times during the course of Saturday, the final time as the ‘ power stage’.
“To make it even more exciting there is a spot in the stage where the cars will get airborne. Prizes and trophies will be awarded to the teams entertaining the crowds with the longest and most spectacular jump,” said Dewar.
Another change this year is that the participating crews will have two opportunities to reconnoitre the route ahead of the rally.
According to Richard Leeke, president of the National Rally Commission and clerk of the course for the Tour Natal Rally, rudimentary pace notes will be made available to competitors, but they will be allowed to do two reconnaissance runs before the event.
“This will give the crews enough opportunity to refine their pace notes for the event,” said Leeke.
The top eight seeded drivers in the two principal categories of the SA National Rally Championship — the fourwheel drive S2000 and the two- wheel drive S1600 class — will draw their starting positions for the event.
Dewar added that this year’s route for the Tour Natal Rally will be quite similar to last year’s with a centralised service park and the first three stages after the start at the Scottburgh Country Club to be repeated — for a total of six stages on day one.
On the second day, another five special stages will be run on the fast loose gravel roads in the sugarcane farm lands of the South Coast for a total of 11 stages over a distance of about 400 km.
“While entries only close at the end of this week we expect the crème of South African special stage rally teams to gather for the traditional opening round in the Scottburgh area of KwaZulu- Natal,” said Dewar.
“We have already received some entrants for the new NRC2 class for older four- cylinder two wheel- drive cars, and also expect some entries for the new challenge and entry- level series. We look forward to an exciting and successful event.”
There will be eight rounds in this year’s series with a team’s seven best results counting towards the championship. — Supplied.
SA Rally Championship weekends February 27 - 28: Tour Natal RallyKZN April 17- 18: Sasol RallyMpumalanga May 15- 16: Secunda Motor RallyMpumalanga June 19- 20: Toyota Gauteng / Bela- Bela Gauteng/ Limpopo July 17- 18: Volkswagen Rally Eastern Cape August 14- 15: Cullinan RallyGauteng September 18- 29: Toyota Cape Rally Western Cape October 16- 17: Polokwane RallyLimpopo
Mark Cronjé and Roger Houghton will be hoping for better results than this crash when the champion pair return to the KZN for the first leg of the National Rally Championship at month end.