Motoring / Motorsport

Special Correspondent
2 minute read
18 Nov 2013
6:00 am

Ford wins Garden Route Rally in pouring rain

Special Correspondent

This year's South African Rally championship ended on a damp note in the Western Cape on Saturday, when severe weather interrupted the season finale Garden Route Rally around George.

WET, WET, WET: Clint Weston and Christoff Snyders splash to the S1600 victory in the weekend's Garden Route Rally. Their win clinched this year's championship for them in the category. Picture: Dave Ledbitter.

Six of the event’s final seven stages were cancelled when heavy overnight rain made the mountain pass dirt roads impassible.

Leading the event at the time were already crowned 2013 champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton in their works Ford Fiesta S2000.

Second overall, 12,3sec behind, were championship runners-up Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan (Castrol Toyota Yaris), followed by their Toyota team-mates Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee, who were a further 24,9 sec in arrears in a second Yaris.

A distant fourth was the VW Sasolracing Polo of Enzo Kuun and Douglas Judd, ahead of the leading S2000 Challenge car, the Team Total Toyota Auris of Mohammed Moosa and Andre Vermeulen.

Top crews that fell foul of the tough conditions included Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Hilton Auffray (Team Total Toyota Auris) who hit a ditch at high speed, Jan Habig and Robert Paisley (Basil Read Ford Fiesta) with clutch problems, Henk Lategan and Barry White (VW Sasolracing Polo) who rolled, and Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries (VW Sasolracing Polo) with a broken steering arm.

The S1600 two-wheel drive class was won by Clint Weston and Christoff Snyders (Reef Tankers Citroen C2), who finished an impressive eighth overall.

They were a comfortable 1min 18,9sec ahead of Ashley Haigh-Smith and Damian van Ass (Castrol Ford Fiesta R2) and 4min 3,6 sec in front of 19-year-old rally rookie Ernie van der Walt and James Aldridge (Ferodo Ford Fiesta).

In the process, Weston and Snyders clinched the S1600 championship for the year.

Fourth in the two-wheel drive class were Matthew Vacy-Lyle and Schalk van Heerden (Fragram Toyota RunX), leading home the VW Polo of Megan Verlaque and Mari van der Walt, and the Toyota Etios of Chris Coertse and Robbie Coetzee.

The manufacturers’ championship for the year had already been wrapped up by Toyota for the 21st time.

The final score was Toyota 735, Ford 540, Volkswagen 530,5 and Citroen 102,5.