s e k a r b d Han &Hairpins
09 Edition 90 July 20
ld of rallying
he wor your insight into t
Fekken charges to Championship lead!
inside this week:
FIA presidency upsets sport
Spain wins Rally of Nations event
Welcome to HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS
04 09 10 13 15 17
The world’s latest rally news
David Higgins: Higgins wins in China!
Rally of Nations: Spain takes victory!
Pikes Peak Hillclimb: PREVIEW IRC article: Hanninen wins in Russia! SANRC article: Longmore Forest thrills!
Welcome to issue number 88 of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, your FREE weekly insight into the world of rallying! The Volkswagen Rally provided Port Elizabeth fans with much to cheer about: close rally action, a Volkswagen one-two-three finish and plenty sideways action in the scenic Longmore Forest stages. A superb win by Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries (BP Volkswagen Polo S2000) has rocketed them into the Drivers’ Championship lead, with only three events remaining. South African rallying is hotting up! In next week’s issue, fans of the FIA African Rally Championship will be able to read all about the recent Zambian International Rally, and also read my FULL event preview for the upcoming WRC Rally Finland. As always, I hope you enjoy this week’s exciting edition! Yours in Rallying, Evan Rothman
JULY EVENTS International Rallies: 17 - 18: RA New England Forest Rally 17 - 19: ERC Bulgaria Rally 29 Jul - 02 Aug: WRC Rally Finland
South African Rallies: 24 - 25: Sun City 400 25 - 26: Prisma Comms Special Stage Rally
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Idaho Rally 2009’s historic win: twowheel drive car wins event overall! This year’s Idaho Rally saw an exciting field of 38 cars enter to challenge each other over the two days of rallying on tricky gravel roads, WRITES EVAN ROTHMAN. It has been reported that the Idaho Rally, a round of the California Rally Series and United States Rally Championship, was regarded as one of the best events of the season. After two days of hard-fought competition in Idaho’s Banana Belt region, it was Luchlin O-Sullivan and Karen Wagner who claimed the winners’ trophies. Battling with Keith Jackson/ Marra Estep and Paul Eklund/Jeff Price, the winning crew kept the chasers behind them in a fine display of rally skills, to record an historic win on a National Rally in a two-wheel drive car.
the nature of this game,” said Matovu. “Despite our problems Emmanuel and I were lying sixth overall before we crashed out, so it shows that we are on the pace, we just need a little help from Lady Luck. Our championship is over, but we’ll be back again next year for sure.” Although Katto and Matovu are now out of contention for the title they will head to Zimbabwe for the final round of the 2009 FIA African Rally Championship in early August, but before then Matovu will be back in action for the next round of the Kenyan National Rally Championship. - Credit: emkarally.com
Colin McRae: DiRT 2 game out soon!
With a technical SS1, the 38 competitors had to cautiously neogiate the 27,2-km long opening stage. Considered to be one of the most technical stages in North America, a number of experienced crews fell victim to its challenge. By the end of Day One, a total of 10 crews were sidelined due to mechanical problems or crashes. Day Two’s rally route changed from slow and technical to fast and tricky... The rally organisers were forced to build a jump into the road to slow the competitors, but this became a great spectacle for the spectators. Barrett Dash claimed the “Longest Jump”, but had to give up “Most Spectacular Jump” to Bill Holmes who nailed it at over 160km/h just to end up skidding down the road on his car’s nose. The four participating Championships United States Rally Championship – California Rally Series – Max Attack and Pacific North West Rally Championship made for a great team variety.
Katto and Matovu slide out of Zambia International Rally Ugandan rallying hero’s Emmanuel Katto and Moses Matovu struggled on the recent Zambian International Rally, Round 5 of the FIA African Rally Championship, when a series of minor problems hampered their early pace before the pair eventually slid off into a tree and were unable to continue. Matovu had never competed on the rally before, but with his pilot, Katto, having been competitive every time he had been to Zambia, the pair had high hopes of a good run. However, a damaged gearbox eventually left the Tommi Makinen Racing prepared Subaru Impreza N14 stuck in gear, resulting in the pair sliding off into the trees. Although neither Katto nor Matovu were injured, their rally was over. “It is always frustrating to end a rally early, but that is just
The dates for the DiRTiest drive of the year were confirmed today as Codemasters announced that Coling McRae: DiRT 2, the next chapter in the legendary racing game series, will be shipping on 8 September in North America and release on 10 September across EPAC territories with a UK street date of 11 September. South Africa is to follow shortly thereafter. Developed by Codemasters Studios, creators of the BAFTA Award-winning Race Driver GRID and powered by the thirdgeneration of the award-winning EGO Engine, Colin McRae: DiRT 2 will be published for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION 3 computer entertainment system, Wii, Nintendo DS and PSP (PlayStation Portable) system. A Games For Windows LIVE edition will follow with support for DirectX 11. Colin McRae: DiRT 2 is set to take racing games to a new level with thrilling new race types, striking locations, big event atmosphere and a peerless line-up of super-charged speed machines, each selected to deliver spectacular, fast paced racing.
THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF RALLYING
Featuring European rally championships, British rally championships, Rally America events, international rally results and videos, as well as S2000 and WRC news.
also named his leadership team. The two vice-presidential candidates were New Zealander Brian Gibbons and Britain’s Graham Stoker while American Nick Craw was proposed for president of the FIA Senate. Todt will be seen as the favourite for the job, given his reputation and existing roles within the FIA, although he is unlikely to go down well with Formula One teams still threatening a breakaway series. “I must emphasise he would not in any way be a motor industry candidate,” Mosley said on Wednesday. “He would have no special relationship with his former company, Ferrari, nor with Peugeot-Citroen.”
Taking players on an exhilarating World Tour, Colin McRae: DiRT 2 will deliver over 100 stunning events, including aggressive, multi-vehicle races and intense solo challenges, set in the most diverse and demanding real-world environments. From the muddy tracks of the Malaysian rainforest to spectator-packed stadiums in London and Los Angeles, racers will compete in contemporary off-road race disciplines covering Rallycross, Trailblazer, Raid, Landrush, and Rally. Embracing the culture and new heroes of modern off-road racing, Colin McRae: DiRT 2 will feature an exciting line-up of the best new rally drivers - including the multi medal-winning Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block alongside Travis Pastrana, Dave Mirra and Tanner Faust who help players build their racing career. Complete with full head-to-head competitive online play, get ready for the ultimate off-road competition when Colin McRae: DiRT 2 launches. For the latest news and videos, powerslide over to www.dirt2game.com.
Jean Todt to stand for FIA president Former Ferrari boss Jean Todt threw his hat into the ring last Thursday to succeed Max Mosley as president of motor sport’s world governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA). Todt’s decision to stand came a day after Mosley, who survived calls for his resignation over a sado-masochistic sex scandal last year, had named the Frenchman as the ideal person to replace him. The election is due on 23 October, with Finland’s 1981 world rally champion Ari Vatanen the only other declared candidate. “Following the decision of Max Mosley not to seek a further term of office and his unequivocal support of my candidacy, I have written to the FIA membership to inform them that I wish to stand for the Presidency of the FIA,” said Todt in a statement. “It is my intention to continue and expand the outstanding work of President Mosley,” he added. Todt, who presided over a golden era at Ferrari with Michael Schumacher winning five titles in a row from 2000 to 2004,
Todt won the world rally championship, the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race and Paris-Dakar as head of Peugeot motorsport. He was also CEO of Ferrari and has been involved in road safety and environmental campaigns for the FIA. - Credit: Reuters and rallybuzz.com
Raikkonen rally rumours still abound Kimi Raikkonen’s Finnish agent as well as Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali have fended off the latest round of rumours regarding the 2007 world champion, according to www.rallybuzz.com. It has been increasingly reported that the 29-year-old driver, who is shaping up to make his World Rally debut later this month in the WRC Rally Finland, intends to quit Formula One in order to switch codes full-time from 2010. But Riku Kuvaja, who is the Ferrari driver’s agent and media spokesman in Finland, told the Iltalehi daily: “The contract is valid and we will adhere to it.” In another Finnish newspaper, Turun Sanomat, Domenicali was also asked about the rumours linking Raikkonen with a team exit, and Fernando Alonso to the seat. “There is nothing new,” the Italian insisted. “Surely everyone remembers last season, when the rumours were the same.” “Believe the team and the facts, not rumours,” Domenicali added, when asked why it is so strongly believed in the paddock that Fernando Alonso is set to replace Raikkonen. - Credit: GMM and rallybuzz.com
WRC ideal for American HD Theater The World Rally Championship is set to be beamed into millions of American homes following a deal between the WRC’s promoter, ISC, and the Discovery channel, according to www.wrc.com. The WRC is set to be televised weekly from October on the Discovery Channel’s HD Theater network and will include rally roundup shows from each round plus special news and features programmes. ISC CEO, Simon Long, said: “This is tremendous news for the championship and our fans in the United States.” - Crdit: wrc.com and rallybuzz.com
S E R U T A FE a wins Pikes Peak Hill Climb inasgtreasntddrsivtyeler
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Here HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS goes behind-the-scenes, into the pit garages, into the team offices, to bring you the most interesting and in-depth feature articles.
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Nobuhiro Tajima wins Pikes Peak Hill Climb in grand style
Sunny weather and clear skies welcomed motorsport enthusiasts to Colorado for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this past weekend. The 87th edition of this iconic event, racing and rally drivers took to the 156-turn, 27kmlong course in an attempt to beat the 10min time barrier. Nobuhiro Tajima won the 2009 Pikes Peak
International Hill Climb driving his Monster Motorsport Suzuki SX4 for the fourth time in a row, but was unable to beat the tenmin barrier again. His win was sublime: he crossed the finish line in a time of 10min 15,386sec to beat his nearest rival Paul Dallenbach (Chevy) by over 30sec, WRITES EVAN ROTHMAN.
Not the weather to blame, Tajima cited too much loose gravel on the dirt sections as his reason for not being able to sneak home in under 10min. Later in the day, however, thunder and lightning (with short downpours) caused some delays and left the asphalt sections slippery and tricky to master. Former double World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm also participated in this famous hill climb in an Olsberg Motor Sport Evolution Ford Fiesta (Unlimited Class), and was partnered by Andreas Eriksson in similar car. Gronholm finished the event with the fifth fastest time (and second in the Unlimited Class), and was awarded as “Pikes Peak Rookie of the Year” as he posted a run of 11min 28,963sec. Gronholm had to fight not only against the high altitude and diverse road and weather conditions, but had to contend with problems with his 800hp Fiesta’s turbocharger on the last kilometres of the course. “I always wanted to compete at Pikes Peak,” said Gronholm. “Having been here the last week I have to admit that it is one of the most challenging events I have ever done in my career. The handling of the Fiesta is absolutely fantastic, and the BFGoodrich tires were great. Unfortunately we had a few small problems today. I lost some power during the last few kilometers, but I was determined to finish. The Fiesta has the potential to beat the 10-minute record. If I come back I know what we need to do to be fastest.” Andreas Eriksson’s first trip to Pikes Peak was cut short when in Engineer’s Corner (3,2km mark) when two tyres slipped off their rim and sent the Olsbergs MSE Fiesta off course where
it clipped a tree and sustained damage to the rear wing. The DNF brought an end to a frustrating introduction for Eriksson to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. “I am disappointed because the car was handling fantastic through the early portion of the course,” said Eriksson. “Overall it has been a tough week. We had a lot of challenges, but we learned a lot and I know what I need to do now to come back and be fastest. Now we turn our attention to the X Games and getting the Fiestas ready for Tanner [Foust], Brian [Deegan] and Kenny [Brack} so that we can go to LA and bring home a win.” “While it is still a year until the Ford Fiesta comes to America it was a great opportunity to showcase the versatility and performance capabilities of the Fiesta at one of the most challenging motorsports events in the world,” said Jost Capito, Ford Motor Company Director of Global Motorsports Business Development. “The Olsbergs MSE team did an outstanding job competing at Pikes Peak for the first time and now they have an opportunity to campaign their Fiestas at the X Games.” FINAL Pikes Peak International Hill Climb CLASSIFICATION: 01) Nobuhiro Tajima (Monstersport Suzuki SX4) - 10min 15,368s 02) Paul Dallenbach (Chevy) - 10min 52,097s 03) Jimmy Keeney (Greenwood-Hull K-Tech 2) - 11min 03,551s 04) Spencer Steele (Ford Wells Coyote) - 11min 08,535s 05) Marcus Gronholm/Timo Alanne (Ford Fiesta) - 11min 28,963s 06) Clint Vahsholtz (Ford Mustang) - 11min 39,662s 07) Jack Guynn (Wells Coyote) - 11min 43,675s 08) Davey Durelle (Aprilia SXV) - 11min 48,649s 09) Gary Trachy (KTM SMX) - 11min 48,743s 10) David Carapetyan/Adam Kneipp (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII) - 11min 52,837s 11) Jeff Grace (KTM 610 SMR) - 11min 59,156s 12) Layne Schranz (Chevrolet Monte Carlo) - 12min 02,672s 13) Rhys Millen (Hyundai Genesis Coupe) - 12min 09,397s 14) David Kern/Allison Kern (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII) - 12min 10,335s 15) Mark Rennison (Ford RS200) - 12min 11,561s
Rally America tackles gravel roads of Maine this weekend
Pikes Peak International Hillclimb action this weekend
Hutchison/Coetzee claim first Class A7 win in Port Elizabeth
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As with the tussle in the premier Class of the SASOL South African National Rally Championship, Class S2000, the fastest two-wheel drive vehicles of Class A7 thrilled Port Elizabeth rally enthusiasts recently in the 2009 Volkswagen Rally, WRITES EVAN ROTHMAN. With Volkswagen claiming an historic one-two-three finish in the event, with factory BP Volkswagen Polo team crews of Hergen Fekken/Pierre Arries, Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson and Jan Habig/Douglas Judd, and Andre Cleenwerck/Des de Fortier
Wilken fought back on the remaining two stages of Day One to end the day four seconds clear of Hutcison/Coetzee. The Motorite Toyota RunX A7 crew then suffered a broken shock absorber, that resulted in them needing five minutes of lateness to repair. This handed them a 50sec time penalty, and thereby boosting Wilken/Gericke’s lead to 54sec at nightfall. The opening two stages of Day Two saw Wilken stretch his 54sec lead to 01min 15sec. With the grueling SS9 ahead (48km long), Wilken/Gericke slowed their pace, but Hutchison and Coetzee attacked. Hutchison stepped up a gear to not only reel in Wilken, but to move 18sec ahead! “That long stage was a real rush,” said Hutchison. “We took 01min 30sec out of Stevan. It was a key moment on the rally for us, probably a key moment in the whole season. I feel like I have achieved something very special today with Elvene and I rate this first rally class win right up there with my first offroad race win.” With the two Class A7 fronrunners pushing hard through the final stages, De Wit and Redelinghuys were not entirely out of the equation for a class win. At the end of the rally, they finished third overall and 02min 03sec adirft of the Class winners.
winning Class A5, Volkswagen hoped to also claim a Class A7 victory. The Pannar Seeds/Triton Express Volkswagen Polo A7 of Stevan Wilken and Greg Gericke fought hard with the Motorite Toyota RunX A7 of Evan Hutchison and Elvene Coetzee. Reigning Class A7 champions Chris de Wit and Dean Redelinghuys (Team Total Toyota RunX A7) struggled to find their championship-winning rhythm in Port Elizabeth, but have vowed to fight back on the remaining three events of the calendar. Hutchison made his intention’s clear on the opening gravel stages of the event, on Day One, he had managed to power to a 10-second lead over Wilken/Gericke at the end of SS4.
Despite Wilken and Gericke giving it their all in the final three stages of the event, they were unable to close the 13sec gap to Hutchison and Coetzee. This win was Hutchison and Coetzee’s best performance to date in A7, and they now close the gap to Wilken and Gericke in the championship to just two points. Wilken retains the championship lead on 33 points, Hutchison on 31 and De Wit with 10 points. The next event on the SASOL South African National Rally Championship calendar is the Osram Mountain Trial on 21 and 22 August, a high-speed event sure to produce exciting results! - IMAGES BY MOTORPICS
Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich crowned Gp N Champions Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich emerged from the fifth round of the Sasol South African Rally Championship with the 2009 SA Production Car and Class N4 championships firmly in the team’s trophy cabinet after a storming drive through the 12 stages of the Volkswagen Rally which saw the pair end a strong seventh overall after leading the rally after four stages. The Sasol/Konica Minolta car was running with a FIA rule change allowing production cars a larger 33mm turbo restrictor instead of the 32mm approved previously. “The car is easier to drive because of the wider rev range”, was Wilken’s initial feeling on the new rule.
3rd overall. A puncture in the dreaded 48km long ninth stage, 15km from the end, cost the pair any chance of retaining the podium place. “We lost about two minutes to Enzo Kuun and dropped down to 7th place. That’s how close it is at the front in rallying. You can’t work on ‘what ifs’, but we could well have ended on the podium”, Wilken rued. “On the other hand, with the championship out of the way, we can drive to our full potential on the remaining three rounds and see how far up the overall order we can get, which is going to be a lot of fun”. Sasol’s Head of Sponsorships, Dean Somerset, was thrilled with the first titles of the year; “Charl is a natural racer and this result is a proud moment for the team and the Sasol brand. It is the first year in their new car, demonstrating the level of talent in the team. I’m thrilled that we’ve pocketed the championship so early in the season”. The Sasol/Konica Minolta Team Director Flip Wilken added: “We’ve been the dominant team in production car rallying with five wins from five starts and we are the first team to win a title this year”.
Wilken and Godrich, arguably one of the most prolific championship-winning driver pairings in the country with ten rally championships since 2003, set a blistering pace on Friday’s stages to take the overall rally lead after stage four, having set the fastest time on the 5km long second tarmac stage, beating the faster, more powerful factory S2000 machinery in the process. As the teams headed to the Longmore Forest for the first time, Wilken had what he described as a poor stage, dropping 20 seconds to the S2000 teams. “I really don’t know why we were so slow relative to the guys we were leading”, said Wilken. “We had a problem with the intercooler water spray system and that may account for a couple of lost kilowatts”. Wilken and Godrich were happy with their 4th overall at the end of Friday’s six stages. Saturday brought another good run over the Jagtvlakte stage, and Wilken and Godrich were up into a podium place, holding
Tjaart Coetzee and Etienne Lourens (SAC Trucks Subaru Impreza) were time barred on Friday after changing a gearbox at the final service of the day. The newcomer to rallying had earlier lost 25 minutes in stage five when a fuel line came adrift and the pair had to stop and repair it in-stage. Coetzee ran under SuperRally regulations on Saturday, allowing the driver to gain experience of the route. In class N3, the dominant Dave Compton/Pierre Jordaan pairing retired their Sasol Toyota RunX with a blown engine in stage four, bringing an end to their run of four wins from four starts and putting the formality of their championship on hold for another month. Chad Lambert/Nic Prinsloo drove a borrowed Toyota RunX to take a maiden class win after overcoming a catalogue of mechanical problems on the first day. Lambert and Prinsloo are the 2007 Northern Regions Champions. - Credit: Flip Wilken Communications
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Nail-biting off-road racing action set for Sun City 400
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A perfect record: four wins from four starts. The Donaldson Nissan Navara team will be looking to add their fifth victory of 2009 in this weekend’s demanding Sun City 400 off-road race, WRITES EVAN ROTHMAN.
to their first victory this year, and this weekend’s event could provide the victory the team so desperately needs to reign in the Donaldson Nissan crews.
Duncan Vos and co-driver Ralph Pitchford are pre-race favourites, as they have already brought home victories in three events this year, including the recent Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana. Now championship fight, Vos/Pitchford will have their work cut out for their in the second half of the ABSA South African Off Road Racing Championship.
Factory teams Nissan, Toyota and Ford are all supported by privateer teams. Toyota has a numerical advantage and the Toyota 1000 Desert Race saw them move ahead of Nissan in the presitigious South African Manufacturers’ Championship.
Teammates Hannes Grobler/Juan Mohr (with a win to their name this year) and Ivar Tollefsen/Quin Evans provides excellent support to Vos/Pitchford, but the Castrol Toyota Hilux crews are gaining in performance with each event this season and are deserving of a win this season. Anthony Taylor/Robin Houghton (Castrol Toyota Hilux) and teammates Hein Lategan/Chris Birkin are threateningly close
With Ford being the first manufacturer to race a diesel engine (with their mighty impressive twin-turbo Ford Ranger TDCI motor), inevitable teething problems have dogged the teams thus far, but this team could prove race-winning later this season.
The consistent Chris Visser/Japie Badenhorst (RFS Toyota Hilux) are one of only three crews with a 100 percent finish record this season, and lead the Toyota challenge in the championship. Teammates Christiaan du Plooy/Henk Jansen van Vuuren produced their best ever result with third overall in Botswana, and that will have done them a world of good. Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn are podium potential in the Micaren Exel Toyota Hilux with Gary Bertholdt/Danie Stassen in the same boat in the Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux. George and Sharon
Barkhuizen (AIM Toyota Hilux) will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing Botswana outing, and Jaco Swanepoel/ Keith Solomon (IDM Cement Toyota Hilux) will make a welcome return. Nissan’s backup comes from former Special Vehicle national champion Terence Marsh/Pieter Groenewald in the Regent Racing Nissan Navara. The pair are still adapting to the premier SP Class, but have a good Botswana finish under their belts. Kobus van Tonder/ Riaan Guelpa (Uni Freight Ford Ranger) lead the Ford privateer challenge along with Graham Leith/Mike Lawrenson (Transcor Ford Ranger) and Pieter Ruthven/De Waal Boshoff in the Ruwacon Ford Ranger. With late entries and regional championship competitors, the Sun City 400 race has drawn a huge field of more than 80 vehicles. Cliff Weichelt/Johan Smalberger (N1 4x4 Toyota Hilux D4D) enjoy a comfortable lead in Class D, but brother Johan and Werner Horn’s (Malelane Toyota Land Cruiser) victory in Botswana will add to their motivation to win again this weekend. Class E is joinlty lead by 4x4 Megaworld Toyota Hilux crews of Deon Venter/Ian Palmer and rookies Pikkie Labuschagne/Rikus Erasmus. Sun City will serve as a “tiebreaker” in this thrilling duel. In the Special Vehicles category, Evan Hutchison/Achim Bergmann (in their impressive Motorite Revo1 4x4) have a firm grasp of the championship title, but they are not yet out of the woods. Toyota 1000 Desert Race winners Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau (Total Motorsport Porter) will be high on
confidence, and will be aiming to upset Hutchison/Bergmann this weekend. Chasing the leading two competitors in this Class are Nick and Ryan Harper (Atlas Copco BAT) and Mike Whitehouse/Mathew Carlson (Regent Racing BAT). Leading Class B is Derick du Toit/Ian Pienaar (Orange Tree BAT), but Bez and Deon Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) will be breathing down their necks this weekend. A good result is needed from them to re-assert their position in the Class B championship fight. Class P looks set to mirror Class A in terms of close and highly-competitive racing. This Class has three teams that all stand a chance of winning the championship this season. Reigning champions Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) have won twice and are atop the leaderboard. David and Gary White (Ruwacon BAT) and Johan van Staden/ James Rossouw (KEC BAT) are tied in second place, but there is little to choose between these three crews.Behind them there is a tie between Botswana winners David and Gary White (Ruwacon BAT), and impressive rookies Johan van Staden and James Rossouw, in the KEC BAT, with little to choose between the three crews. The Sun City 400 is a spectator friendly event and always draws good crowds from Gauteng, Limpopo, the North West and surrounding areas. Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park are all situated at the Sun City resort complex. The prologue to determine start positions will start at 12h00 on Friday 24 July and the race at 08h00 on Saturday 25 July.