handbrakes &hairpins issue 24
WRC Rally Mexico News
Tour Natal Rally Preview
Profile: Chris de Wit
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WRC Rally Mexico Review: The Dirty Dozens
Images: RallyStuff.Net Sebastien Loeb is on full attack! This past weekend’s dusty and tricky WRC Rally Mexico was a showcase of the Frenchman’s blindingly quick pace on gravel. This win marks Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena’s 38th WRC victory, and the pair’s third WRC Rally Mexico win, writes Evan Rothman. “I’m delighted to have won here,” said Sebastien Loeb. “Following our blank scorecard in Sweden, it was important to try to bounce back straight away. It wasn’t easy and, as often seems to be the case in Mexico, we had a troubled start, but the rest of the event went very well for us! It’s the sort of victory I like because it came after a good fight. Marcus Grönholm’s absence has already been filled by another Finn who is younger and just as determined. I think we can look forward to some good scraps this year, and that’s fine by me! For this weekend’s hard-packed stages, Pirelli took the safe choice with a very hard compound in a bid to ward off punctures. We effectively didn’t suffer any, but we had to adjust our set-up to improve traction. The team responded well and our times here with the C4 WRC are an encouraging pointer for the rest of the year.” The event, was by all accounts, truly tough and taxing on the strong WRC machines. Almost every crew suffered the effects of the harsh Mexican gravel roads, with DanI Sordo/Marc Marti (Citroen Total C4 WRC) and Petter Solberg/Phil Mills (Subaru Impreza STI WRC) having to work doubly hard on this event’s stages to catch up lost time due to punctures and suspension failures. Driving with metered aggression throughout the weekend was Australian Chris Atkinson and French co-driver Stephane Prevot, pushing their Subaru Impreza WRC to claim their highest ever WRC finish with a second place overall. This is also Atkinson and Prevot’s second podium in three rallies, and it quite clearly indicates their intent on chasing for the coveted World Rally Championship title. It’s a fantastic result, my best in the WRC!” said Chris Atkinson. “All the team, the guys on my car, Subaru all did a top job. It was good fun to beat Sebastien [Loeb] on the Superspecial at the end there! It’s a great start to the year for me and also for the
team, and I hope we can keep building on this. We’re making good steps forward and the car felt really good this weekend. We did some work on the dampers after Sweden and that was a big help – they were good here in the heat which is always a tough test. Now we look to Argentina and to keep this performance going. The sooner I can win the better!” His team-mate Petter Solberg had a disastrous rally weekend, finishing in 12th place overall. Solberg and co-driver Phil Mills, did, however score a single Manufacturers’ point for the team. After restarting the rally on Day Three under the SupeRally regulations, Solberg and Mills worked hard to regain the lost time were unable to reel in the time deficit for a top eight placing. Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikka Attila (BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC) finished in third place. After leading the rally on Day One, the pairing suffered turbo pipe problems that resulted in him dropping from first to third. He then trailed Sebastien Loeb and the hard charging Chris Atkinson. “It’s an important result for me and it’s a good result for the team and our championship challenge,” said Jari-Matti Latvala. “I achieved my goal of being on the podium and it’s just a shame we had a problem yesterday when fighting for the lead. But if I think about things closely, it has been a good weekend and I don’t have any complaints. The best aspect was being able to challenge Loeb and match his times and I hope I can get just as close to him in the future because I had good speed this weekend.” Mikko Hirvonen and Jarno Lehtinen, in the sister BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC, also had problems that led to them not able to climb to the top of the leader board as they had hoped, but managed to attain fourth place overall. Hirvonen was plagued with punctures and even cracked wheels on more than one occasion. How these drivers must be rueing the idea of the FIA’s decision to do away with the run-flat tyre technology and tyre mousse for 2008... Henning Solberg, who is now driving for the Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team, drove to a solid fifth place, proving yet again his pace on gravel events. Dani Sordo and Marc Marti (Citroen Total C4 WRC) had an off on SS1 of the rally, breaking their suspension. They restarted the rally on Day Two under SupeRally regulations, but were unable to fight to a position above 17th overall and some 34 minutes off his team-mates’ pace. Conrad Rautenbach and David Senior, who have found themselves in a Citroen C4 WRC, finished 16th overall. They used this event as a learning curve, as Rautenbach found the pace of his new car tricky to get to grips with. However, watch this space! “I think, coming from Juniors, I was a little bit too cautious, particularly with the tyres,” said Conrad Rautenbach. “These tyres are actually really strong, so you can come in quite tight to the corners, which maybe you wouldn’t do in a Junior car. With things like that, we’re just learning all the time – as we have been doing from the start of the rally really. We’ve got no testing before Argentina so that’s another rally we’re going straight into, but we’re hoping that David’s Senior experience will help a bit. You have to drive these WRC cars in a very special way: as smooth as possible but also carrying good speed and momentum through the corners. I’ve had some help from Seb Loeb and Dani Sordo who have given me some advice, but you don’t learn to drive these cars overnight.” Both Suzuki World Rally Championship cars retired from the event. The big rocks and sharp stones had an adverse effect on this event. The effect was greater than most critics had anticipated, for the punctures and related problems created by the lack of runflat technology in tyres and tyre mousse shaped the outcome of this tough rally. It did not, however, dampen the fighting spirit of these WRC gladiators one iota! WRC Rally Mexico Final Classification: 1) S. Loeb/ D. Elena (Citroen) 2) C. Atkinson/S. Prevot (Subaru) + 1 min 06,1 sec 3) J.M. Latvala/M. Anttila (Ford) + 1 min 39,7 sec 4) M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen (Ford) + 3 min 38,7 sec 5) H. Solberg/C. Menkereud (Ford) + 4 min 57,9 sec 6) M. Wilson/M. Scott (Ford) + 6 min 28,9 sec 7) F. Villagra/J. Perez-Companc (Ford) + 19 min 03 sec 8) R. Trivino/C. Salom (Peugeot) + 21 min 17,3 sec
Drivers’ Points 1) M. Hirvonen - 21 pts 2) S. Loeb - 20 pts 3) J.M. Latvala - 16 pts 4) C. Atkinson - 14 pts 5) P. Solberg - 9 pts 6) G. Galli - 7 pts 7) F. Duval - 5 pts 8) A. Mikkelsen - 4 pts
LEADERBOARD Manufacturers’ Points 1) BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT- 37pts 2) Citroen Total WRT - 25 pts = Subaru WRT - 25 pts 4) Stobart VK M-Sport WRT-16pts 5) Munchi’s Ford WRT- 6 pts 5) Suzuki Sport WRT - 5 pts
J-WRC Rally Mexico Review: Round One Review
Images: Citroen Sport The opening round of the Junior World Rally Championship was held this past weekend, running in conjuction with the WRC Rally Mexico event. Dominated by a host of Citroen C2 S1600 cars, the J-WRC proved to be as spectacular as always. Won by Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (Citroen C2 S1600), they showed the rest of the field a clean pair of heels from SS1. Most notably is that this was Ogiers first World championship rally... Is this another rally star in the making? Second place went to Jaan Molder and F. Micolotte (Suzuki Swift S1600), third to M. Kosciuszko and M. Szczepaniak (also in
a Suzuki Swift S1600). Aaron Burkart and M. Koelbach were the first of the Citroen C2 Experience drivers across the line, and recording a fourth place overall position. Patrick Sandell and E. Axelsson (Renault Clio S1600) came in fifth, a decent result from this pair. They also compete in the Production World Rally Championship, and recently finished second overall in P-WRC Rally Sweden. The crews of Shaun Gallagher/M. Morrissey, Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek and F. Fanaris/M. Bosi all in Citroen C2s finished sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. With fast action, daring driving and dusty conditions, J-WRC Rally Mexico showed that these little cars are not to be laughed off: the winner and runner-up of this class finished in a highly respectable nineth and tenth overall in the WRC Final Classification!
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Sasol South African National Rally Championship Round One: Hitachi Power Tools Tour Natal Rally PREVIEW
Jan Habig/Douglas Judd. Image: Motorpics The long months of waiting are finally over: this weekend sees the start of the Sasol South African National Rally Championship kicking off with the first round of this eight event championship taking place in KwaZulu-Natal. The Hitachi Power Tools Tour Natal Rally, now in its 50th running, comprises 12 Special Stages covering 220km of competitive rallying over the fast and slippery KwaZulu-Natal gravel roads, writes Evan Rothman. Starting on Friday 7 March the first day’s stages will be held in the Stanger region, north of Umhlanga, with Saturday’s stages in the Scottburgh area, south of Durban. Competitors will be rallying through some of South Africa’s finest rallying roads, winding their way through sugar cane fields. These sugar cane fields present unique challenges to drivers, as the sugar cane fields give the driver a tunnel-like experience as they blast through them, and can lead them to become disoriented so excellent pace notes are vital successful weekend‘s rallying. Another challenge is that any mistake made may prove costly as many competitors over the years have found themselves well and truly stuck in the thick of the sugar cane… The gravel roads are slippery and with recent rains they will be even more so. With the tight and twisty route plotted, and the drivers all vying to score a perfect weekend’s points, this promises to be an intense and close fought rally! Class S2000: All eyes will be focussed on the hotly contested premier rally class, Class S2000. Nine entries for this class have so far been received for this opening event. Toyota, who are current South African National Rally Manufacturers’ Champions have a total of five cars competing, while Volkswagen have four. Serge Damseaux retired at the end of last season, and his presence in the rally championship will be missed. However, the Castrol Toyota Team have called upon the services of Mark Cronje and Robert Paisley (Serge’s co-driver) to join Johnny Gemmel and Peter Marsh in piloting the Castrol Toyota RunX S2000 cars. Toyota last year unveiled their Auris rally car, but it will not be making its debut on this event as Toyota Motorsport awaits final international homologation approval of the car‘s specification, so crews will continue running the highly successful RunX S2000 rally cars until then. Johnny Gemmel and Peter Marsh won two events last year, and will be looking to improve on that number this season. Team-
mates Mark Cronje and Robert Paisley are favoured for a strong showing here this weekend, as the pairing competed in a regional rally on these roads late last year as preparation for this rally. Cronje is expected to do well this year, and to even challenge for the Drivers’ championship in his first full S2000 season. Cronje has had a fast-tracked career in South African rallying, and with reason: he has only been rallying for two years and has already claimed two National Drivers’ crowns (Class A6 in 2006, and Class A7 in 2007). Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Cobus Vrey (Team Total Toyota RunX S2000) proved their mettle in last year’s championship. For this year the team will be hoping to build on those strong performances to boost their championship aims. Japie van Niekerk and Robin Houghton (in a privateer Toyota RunX S2000), who won last month’s Belfast Rally, will be looking to make an impression on the S2000 front runners in KwaZulu-Natal this weekend. New to Class S2000 are Nicholas Ryan and Schalk van Heerden. Driving a Philips/Jonnesway Tools Toyota RunX S2000 these former South African National Production Car Rally Champions are sure to bring the fight to the S2000 leaders this weekend. Over the course of the season this dedicated pair will improve and gain in confidence and will be a future pairing to be reckoned with in this class. The BP Volkswagen Rally Team have a formidable three-car line-up once more this year, with all their highly talented crews capable of winning the championship again this season. This team boasts a successful track record in this class, winning it three years on the trot. Their championship campaign will be spearheaded by reigning Class S2000 champions Jan Habig and Douglas Judd who need no introduction thanks to their multiple rallying accolades accrued to date. Habig and Judd will be the team to beat in this season-opening event.
Johnny Gemmel/Peter Marsh. Image: Motorpics
2006 national rally champions Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson are looking to add another title trophy to their collection and will be aiming to start their 2008 season off in the best possible way with a victory in their BP Volkswagen Polo S2000. The third BP Volkswagen Polo S2000 crew of Hergen Fekken and Nicholas Ryan/Schalk van Heerden. Image: Dave Ledbitter/Quickpics Pierre Arries have put in excellent drives last season which put them in the fight for the championship title. For 2008, they will be aiming to be crowned champions for the first time in their career. With these three experienced and dedicated crews, and with their entertaining and spectacular driving styles, the BP Volkswagen Polos will be running at the head of the S2000 competitors on this event. Privateers Jon and Doug Williams, ever-inspiring in this top-flight rally class, are a force to be reckoned with, and Jon will be even more hungry for his first event win this season. Class A7: As ever Class A7 will provide much rally entertainment. Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin (BP Volkswagen Polo A7) won the Class A5 title last year and moved up to the faster and more challenging Class A7. Zulu and Peskin will have to fight hard this season to beat 2008 Class A7 favourite Chris de Wit and Dean Redelinghuys.
Chris de Wit and Dean Redelinghuys (Team Total Toyota RunX A7) finished runner-up in this class in 2007 and with De Wit gaining experience and confidence in the Class A7 rally car, they are favourites to win not only this event but the Class honours this year too. With home turf advantage, De Wit will be aiming to set the pace in this class on Friday and Saturday. A Motorite Toyota RunX A7 piloted by Evan Hutchinson (current South African Special Vehicle Off-Road Champion) and Greg Gericke debut in rallying this weekend. It will be interesting to see how this pairing adapt to the rigours of rallying. Class A6: Class A6 boasts a host of Toyota RunXs once more this year. Experienced Craig Trott and Tony Ball (driver-turned-co-driver for 2008) will be aiming for the win on this the opening event of 2008, as will Salie du Toit/Armand du Toit (Team Total Toyota RunX A6) and Mohammed Moosa and Henry Dear love (Team Total Toyota RunX A6) who have made the step up from Class N3. Class A5: Andre Cleenwerck and Des de Fortier (BP Volkswagen CitiGolf A5) are favourites to win this event, and the overall class title for the end of the year. Proving their speed last year, they will compete against three Toyota Yarises for rally wins this season.
Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin. Image: Motorpics
Here, Dave Compton/Paul Leslie (newcomers to rallying in a Sasol-backed Toyota Yaris), Ashley Haigh Smith/ Hilton Auffrey (React Toyota Yaris) and Vusi Mabanga/Danie Strijdom (who will compete in a Toyota Tazz for the opening round while their Yaris is being readied) will have to work hard to keep up with the Cleenwerck/De Fortierâ€™s BP Volkswagen CitiGolf A5. Class N3: In the Production Car Rally Championship Class N3 there are four Toyotas and two Fords thus far entered. Rodney Visagie and Carolyn Swann (Team Total Toyota RunX N3) will put their experience to great use to look to win this event, but will have to fight it out with Etienne du Toit and Patrick Vermaak (Sasol Toyota RunX N3), Kosta Koumantarakis and Barry White (privateer Toyota RunX N3) and Chase Atwell (BNS Toyota RunX N3). Making a welcome return to South African rallying is Ford with two N3 Ford Fiesta STs this year. Driven by the experienced and talented Etienne Lourens and Andre Vermeulen in the one car and Martin Steyn and Van Aardt Schoeman in the other, these Fords will need to push hard to beat the Toyotas this weekend, but with Lourens at the helm he will most certainly do battle in KwaZuluNatal this weekend. Class N4: Class N4 promises fantastic rally action for 2008. The Sasol/Konica Minolta Subaru Impreza STi N4 of Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich will be taking the fight to reigning champions Visser du Plessis and Gerhard Snyman (Pirtek Subaru Impreza N4).
Wilken/Godrich. By: Sportspics
Verlaque Sisters. By: Motorpics
Chris de Wit/Dean Redelinghuys. Image: Motorpics
Cleenwerck/De Fortier. By: Motorpics
Habig/Judd. By: Motorpics
Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson. Image: Motorpics Du Plessis will be driving the new Subaru Impreza this weekend, fettled by legendary motorsport specialist tuners Prodrive. This will be the car to beat! Fernando Rueda and Gert van Ransburg (Team Total Mitsubishi Lancer N4) and Lola and Megan Verlaque (Team Total Subaru Impreza N4) show great promise this season, as evidenced by the Verlaque sister’s podium finish on Tanzania Rally, the first round of the African Rally Championship. Paul Pfieffer and Cindi Harding (in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI N4) and brothers Joos and Danie Stassen (Subaru Impreza N4) will push hard this weekend in the sugar cane fields to rake in as many points for their respective teams as possible. Driver Quotes: Johnny Gemmel: “I’m looking forward to the season ahead. I’m filling big shoes and there’s going to be a lot of pressure on us. I’m putting aside Toyota’s expectations and concentrating on the job at hand. It will be a bit easier to start the season with the RunX because we know the car well –as drivers and the technicians as well – it removes one of the elements that could play against us. It is going to be an incredibly hard year in S2000. With so many cars, to do well will take two days of intense concentration and no one can afford to slip up. It’s very exciting for me as a driver and the fans will be the biggest winners”. Mark Cronje: “The team is trying to minimize the pressure I will face, although the marketing department expect results. Robert reads the route notes completely differently to what I’m used to, but we’re making progress. I learnt in karting not to look at the guys who are quicker than you are, but rather analyze your own performance to see why you are not as quick or quicker, so I won’t be overly concerned if I’m not on the pace to start with. I really enjoy driving the S2000 Castrol RunX – it’s an amazing car. The Tour Natal Rally is a treacherous event with off-camber corners and slippery surfaces always there to catch you out, and I’ve never competed in the cane field stages before, except for a regional rally at the end of 2007.” Charl Wilken: “We learnt some valuable lessons about production car rallying last year. One of the obvious key lessons is to finish as often as possible. The Sasol/Konica Minolta Subaru was a state-of-the-art weapon last year but such is the pace of development in rallying in that it is no longer cutting edge. Having run the KZN event may give us a bit of an advantage, but the rainy weather experienced across the country will have substantially altered the road surface, so I don’t expect much help there. The Natal stages are very fast, quite slippery and very technical but I suppose we will only know our true pace after the first few stages on Friday. The toughest competition should come from Visser du Plessis and Fernando Rueda, both with newer machinery than ours.” Visser du Plessis: “I haven’t driven for five months so I need to regain my confidence before I can give 100% behind the wheel. I also need to see how Gerhard reads the route notes to me before I can fully commit. The cost of the car, which is the most expensive of all in SA rallying, is also going to be an inhibiting factor.” Lola Verlaque: “We’re going to have a very busy year, rallying in Africa and at home in South Africa. We enjoy the holiday atmosphere in Natal at the start of the year. Everyone is still fresh and looking forward to the year ahead. I’m hoping to be closer to the tail end of the S2000 cars and definitely inside the top twelve or fifteen overall and 3rd or 4th in class. Our direct competition has all got very modern and sophisticated machinery, but we have endurance on our side. Whatever happens, we’ll be sure to have a load of fun but still try as hard as ever to do our best. The roads can be hair-raising to drive and if it rains, it will be a lottery. Last time we drove at the coast it was wet.” Danie Stassen: “We can’t wait. It will be a totally new experience for us. The plan is to be as smooth and consistent as we can. Joos still races moto-cross which is where he learnt to read and drive on gravel roads – that is definitely a big help. We will install a Prodrive gearbox before the Tour, which we expect will give us an extra second per kilometre. We hope to be well inside the top twenty and 3rd or 4th in class.”
South African Rally Driver Profile: Chris de Wit
Rally drivers, I believe, are a breed apart from us mere mortals. Aces such as Petter Solberg and Sebastien Loeb are a cut above the rest of us in terms of driving skill, but in general I feel rally drivers are way more talented than other racing drivers. Locally, we have a number of amazing drivers who participate in this adrenalin-fuelled sport, and one such driver is Chris de Wit. De Wit has been involved in this sport for many years, and has achieved great success while doing so. In 2006 De Wit and his former co-driver Patrick Yende (who tragically passed away last year) won the Class N3 South African National Rally Championship title in their Team Total Toyota RunX. For 2007 De Wit moved up to the faster and more competitive Class A7 category and finished the season in a strong second place in Class A7.
His Team Total Toyota RunX A7 is a purpose-built machine: just about every component on the car has been specially designed and manufactured to extract the most performance from the car. De Wit prepares his A7 rally car himself at his workshop at home with the help from his mechanics. Preparation and maintenance of these cars is vitally important to winning rallies. In rallying, success is 99 percent preparation and 1 percent good luck. It takes talent, dedication and a strong will to drive these high-performance cars at their limits, but it is the preparation of the cars beforehand that allows the drivers to pilot the cars confidently at those speeds. And this is what De Wit does best! The Class A7 Team Total Toyota RunX of De Wit and co-driver Dean Redelinghuys have home-turf advantage for this weekend;s season opening rally in KwaZulu- Natal. Handbrakes and Hairpins wishes this team every success in the upcoming rally and the season ahead.
Here is a Handbrakes and Hairpins exclusive interview with Chris de Wit: 1) H&H: Firstly, well done on a great debut season in the competitive 2007 Class A7 South African National Championship campaign, as well as a strong performance in KZN Regional Rally Driversâ€™ Champion. How did you see your rallying season pan out? CdW: It was alot more difficult than I expected in A7. The car is very fast, but it is an art to put the power onto the dirt, which we are still working on. 2) H&H: Who did you see as your strongest competitor in 2007? CdW: By far Mark Cronje dominated A7 last year and we were playing second fiddle most of the time with the rest of the A7 pack close behind us. 3) H&H: What are your memorable rallying moments from 2007? CdW: The Sasol Rally had some moments when we were starting to come to terms and were not far off Mark Cronje in some stages. Finishing off the season with a class win on the last event was a bonus after a very very difficult season. 4) H&H: There is great talent rising up through the ranks in South African rallying. Who do you think will be the next star South African rallying fans and competitors should look out for? CdW: There are a number of up and coming rallyists. (i.e.: Stefan Wilken). But, Unfortunately there are only a few top seats and they have the monopoly amongst a handful of competitors. We need more sponses and manufacturers involved to make a greater opportunity for others to win rallies. This year is going to interesting to watch Mark Cronje and Hergen Fekken to see how much pressure they can put at the top of the field. 5) H&H: What makes a rally driver a rally driver? What characteristics do rally drivers possess that other motor sport competitors donâ€™t?
CdW: I think you must have an amount of natural talent combined with the maturity between aggression and skill, and above all you must have a passion to get to the level you want to compete at. 6) H&H: It must be a busy office to sit in, the driverâ€™s seat of your rally car. Can you tell us about your Class A7 Total Toyota RunX A7? CdW: It is a fantastic car. The acceleration is incredibly quick. The trouble starts normally at the first corner because you are atill going way too fast! The skill is to get your entrance and exit speeds constantly right. It takes a while getting used to the sequential gearbox. With one season behind us we are hoping to get to grips with the full potential of the car soon. 7) H&H: You prepare your car yourself. That must present unique challenges for you. How do you manage with a 9-5 day job, as well as building, maintaining and servicing your own car? CdW: It is definitely a big sacrifice. And unfortunately normally ends up robbing your family of some quality time. 8) H&H: You have a great driving style. What tips can you offer young rallying drivers in terms of setting quick and consistent stage times? CdW: You do not always get it right and it simply means you have to do your homework. Try get your car set up right and never give up! 9) H&H: Any advice you can offer armchair rallyists keen to enter the sport as a competitor? CdW: Get a cheap rally car and come try in a regional rally sprint. You will be amazed at how difficult it is! 10) H&H: What are your predictions for the 2008 season? CdW: We are going to try have a consistency and good results, and my aim is to try drive the car to its full potential. At the front of the field I think the Volkswagens are going to be pushed hard by a bunch of Toyotas. 11) H&H: What is your favourite event on the National Rallying calendar? And, why? CdW: I am very glad the Tour Natal is back on the calendar. It is definitely my favourite event, as it is unlike any other due to the smooth, slippery roads in blinding twisting bends through the sugar cane and is very easy to get caught out. 12) H&H: The glory days of the current WRC cars are numbered. From 2010, they will be running S2000-spec rally cars. What are your views on this? CdW: I think that is great news. It will give more people a chance to compete at the top level sue to not many teams in the world being able to run a proper current WRC class car. 13) H&H: Rallying attracts thousands of spectators to events around the world, and hundreds of thousands attend WRC rallies. This popularity, however, does not seem to apply to our rallying locally. What can be done to improve rallying for spectators and competitors in South Africa? CdW: It is all about promotional work. If you look at the Sasol Rally it is unbelievable to see how many spectators there are in the Nelspruit area where there are not that many people. The Sasol Rally is so special mainly because of the great spectator support. 14) H&H: You have been competing in National rallies for a number of years, with great success. What are your fondest memories to date? CdW: The highlights of my amateur rally career was the four national class wins that Patrick Yende and I had in N2 and N3.