Motoring

Competition for podium positions is tough

Motorsport enthusiasts can look forward to a great weekend of MRF South African Championship Rallying.

The Delmas MRF Tyres South African rally will spoil spectators with a double header over the weekend of October 7 and 8.

There is justifiably great excitement as the MRF Tyres South African Rally Championship limbers up to its penultimate double header at Delmas.

With a brand-new debut winner in the top class last time out, championship favourites keen to win their first rally with their new car and two major title challengers on a mission to keep in touch, it is a case of four into two do not go.

Championship leaders, Chris Coertse and Greg Godrich, hold a handy 49-point championship lead heading to Mpumalanga in their brand-new NRC 1 Rally Technic Mazda2. The pair scored on both days of the previous round to consolidate their advantage as they broke their new steed in. But with 148 points still on the table, it is by no means done and dusted. Chris and Greg will no doubt want to score their first win in the Mazda, but a more level-headed approach will likely prevail to help protect that advantage.

Second in the championship Theuns Joubert and Schalk van Heerden’s Salom Labour Toyota Yaris missed and hit in Tzaneen with a retirement and a win over the two days. They will also be chasing a more consistent run this weekend. Not least because they have the third and fourth crews a little too close for comfort in pursuit. Johan Strauss and Elzaan Venter have enjoyed a solid and consistent run and sit just three points behind Joubert and Van Heerden in the chase in their Subaru. Be sure that they will continue to be sure and steady in Delmas.

The real trouble is bubbling up just behind them in the log. If anything, Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle have blown hot and cold so far this season in their new Gazoo Racing Toyota Starlet. It’s been a case of win or bust, but that car has incredible pace and expect these former champions to be flat out all weekend, and through to the end of the season. And then the dark horses. NRC 1 rookies and maiden winners on the Saturday last time out, JJ Potgieter and Tommy du Toit will want to prove that their debut victory was no fluke aboard their Rally Technic Hyundai i20.

Moving on to the classes, NRC 2 has proven something of the survival of the fittest so far in 2022. Ever consistent Gerald Klopper and Johan Aucamp’s Salom Toyota Etios leads the way in spite of a spate of mid-season retirements. Second placed JJ Potgieter and Tommy du Toit have since defected to NRC1, leaving Anton Raaths and Mari Ducasse Toyota Auris to pick up the chase some 25 points adrift. They are only a handful ahead of the fast but luckless Benjamin Habig and Barry White’s Just Tools Volkswagen Polo.

Like Botterill and Lyle in NRC 1, Benj and Barry certainly have the pace, so it will be all or nothing in the final four rounds. Not that they can rest with the ever consistent, and reliable Magriet Potgieter and Rikus Fourie’s Ford Fiesta breathing down their necks. And all of George Smalberger and Robbie Coetzee’s and Michael Mc Gregor and Shaun Visser’s Polos, and Jono van Wyk and Ingrid Jeancocks’ NRC 2 Ford Fiesta well within mathematical striking distance. Anrico Opperman and Tommy Coetzee’s Polo and daughter and mum crew Andrea and Isabel Raaths’ Toyota will meanwhile continue their fight over the NRC4 title.

There’s always entertainment towards the back of an MRF Tyres national with spectacular regional rally class action ready to thrill. Their fans can expect anything from Erik De Jager and Mauritz Britz’ Subaru Impreza, Bruce and Lynton Swatton’s Toyota Auris and Eddie Simpson and Louis Menge’s Opel Corsa. Never mind a classic spat between, Ashley and Les Mackenzie’s Ford Escort and Sarel Coetser and Ciska Harding’s Datsun 160U, let alone Stuart Stirling and Robin Knighton’s Volkswagen Syncro Bus.

Friday’s round 9 will be in and around the town of Delmas, starting midday from Rally HQ at NTT Toyota Delmas. The day will include 83km of competition over six stages. Saturday’s action heads out on the R50 with the start at 10:00 at Rally HQ at Die Tapkar, and the day’s five stages covering around 97km. Delmas is conveniently close to both Pretoria and Johannesburg. Pick up your spectator guides early at Rally HQ each day to plan and enjoy a great weekend of MRF South African Championship Rallying.

Source: MotorsportMedia 

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