Garden Route Rally could be sting in tail
information supplied by: MSA Rally Commission
31 October 2012
GARDEN ROUTE RALLY COULD BE STING IN TAIL
The two crews that make up the Basil Read Ford Rally team are both looking to end the 2012 SA Rally Championship season on a high note, but are also aware the final event, the Garden Route Rally, could provide a sting in the tail. The event takes place in the Wilderness/George/Knysna area from November 2-3.
The reasons this rally could have a sting in the tail are firstly that many of the special stages are being used for the first time and secondly the heavy rain in this area of the country could make the going very tough if the roads have not been able to dry out.
Jan Habig and Robert Paisley are in fourth place on the championship table, despite missing the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally because Habig was contesting the British round of the world championship in Wales. The KwaZulu-Natalians are one point behind third-placed Jon Williams and Cobus Vrey (Sasol Ford Fiesta), but the championship is out of their reach this year.
Charl Wilken has finished all seven events staged to date and is placed fifth in the 2012 drivers’ championship, 16 points in arrears of Habig, making it Ford drivers in four of the top five positions going into the last round of the title chase. Wilken’s co-driver, Greg Godrich, is sixth on the co-drivers’ log having missed the Rally of South Africa due to the birth of his son.
“We ran very competitively in the last event, the Polokwane Rally, getting up to second place at one stage before we were slowed by mechanical gremlins,” explained Habig.
“Now we have to make sure we can challenge for victory to the end of the rally at the Wilderness Beach Hotel on Saturday. This has ensured my technical team going over the Fiesta with a fine tooth comb to try and prevent further unwanted delays…. The expected rough conditions will have a significant influence on the rally results as the crews try and bring their cars the finish without major damage”.
“Last year’s Garden Route Rally was twisty and challenging and now we have many new special stages with which to contend, which will make more demands on the crews.
“It will also be interesting to see how the fastest crews select their starting positions after the stage on Friday morning which does not count towards the rally itself but serves to give the fastest crew first choice of starting position. Usually one chooses a starting position around No. 8 so one does not have to sweep loose gravel of the road surface, but the condition of the roads could change that, especially if they are muddy and slippery. Then it will probably beneficial to be one of the early runners through the stages,” added Wilken.