Rally gets power stage

Ex­cit­ing knock­out for­mat to be part of Na­tional Rally Cham­pi­onship in Scot­tburgh

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

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

PHOTO: AL­WYN VILJOEN

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.

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