2013 Volkswagen Rally – Safety a key consideration in preparations
PREPARATIONS for the 2013 Volkswagen Rally are in full swing. New stages have been plotted, deals have been struck and organising is at an advanced stage. What is waiting for the national field of competitors is a tough event that is going to make them work for a good result.
The Volkswagen Rally this year takes place on Friday and Saturday, July 19 and 20. The field will start at the Auto Pavilion as is per tradition and then head out to the various stages. The 2013 event sees the return of Jeffrey's Bay and two stages will take place there, both on Friday. The finish is, as per usual, at Kings Beach in Port Elizabeth.
“We are trying to achieve two things with the rally,” says route organiser Joe Fourie. “Firstly, we are trying to make the event exciting for the competitors with a rally that will challenge their preparation and skill. Then the aim is to make the event as exciting and accessible for spectators as we possibly can.”
This means that stages are divided between tough gravel conditions in the Longmore Forest and town stages that take the rally right to the fans.
“The so-called far stages are still close to Uitenhage, Jeffrey's Bay, Humansdorp, Port Elizabeth and all the communities between,” says Fourie. “Fans can easily drive to these stages and enjoy some spectacular rally action – but the layout of the event also means they will not miss out if they cannot make these journeys.”
Stages this year take place in Uitenhage, Jeffreys Bay and Port Elizabeth and will bring the action of the Volkswagen Rally to fans in the form of tar stages where a course has been laid out on public roads.
“Every year the goal is to make this event as easy for spectators to access as possible,” says Fourie. “We encourage everyone who has an interest in motorsport, and those who simply want to enjoy some action, to attend as many of the stages as they can to see the national field of rally competitors in action. It is after all the only chance they have to support these talented competitors.”
While the emphasis is on making the Volkswagen Rally as spectator friendly as possible, this is not done without a firm eye on safety – for both rally fans and the competing teams.
“There is a dedicated group of people organising every facet of this event,” says Fourie. “The part of the organisation the public has the most contact with is the marshals. They are tasked with keeping the public viewing areas safe for the fans and also to ensure the fans remain safely out of the way of the competitors. A no-nonsense approach is the best way to describe our attitude to safety – to keep the event the success it is, we do not compromise on this aspect.”
A Volkswagen Rally guide will be made available, both online and in print, as soon as it has been finalised. The guide will contain information relating to stage times, spectator points, the entries for the event as well as directions for reaching all the publicly accessible parts of the rally.