The largest privateer rally team in the South African National Rally Championship is Team TOTAL. With a three-car squad to take on the toughest rally roads and fastest rally crews in Africa, these six talented individuals will work together to fly TOTAL South Africa’s flag proudly in 2013.
With just weeks before the 2013 season kicks off with the TOTAL Rally on 8 – 9 March in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, months of preparation, sacrifice and sheer determination will see these three crews settle into the familiar adrenalin-infused action of special stage rallying once more, strapped into their menacing rally machines primed for high-speed sideways antics.
A new season presents new challenges to all competitors and new opportunities for success in the sport they so passionately love. For 2013, new faces join the Team TOTAL fold, that of 39-year-old Hilton Auffray and 20-year-old Janine Lourens. Auffray joins Jean-Pierre Damseaux in Class 2000 Challenge in a Toyota Auris S2000 and Lourens will sit alongside Craig Trott in his Class S1600 Toyota RunX S1600. Mohammed Moosa and Andre Vermeulen comprise the remaining Team TOTAL crews.
The surname Damseaux is synonymous with motorsport in South Africa, and Jean-Pierre has inherited from his father Serge his ten-times national rally championship-winning driving skill. Damseaux’s 2012 season was a strong one that saw him claim third place overall on the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally and a handful number of top five positions too. Auffray is no stranger to the sport in South Africa, and this Somerset West-based co-driver now sees himself move from Class S1600 and the Two Wheel Drive Championship to the four-wheel drive premier Class S2000 and Class S2000 Challenge domain. Competing as a co-driver in the Western Cape Regional Rally Championship since 2001, Auffray worked his way up the ladder of success to the national rally championship in 2009, and he claimed numerous regional and national co-driver championship awards and titles.
“In Class S2000 and Class S2000 Challenge, J-P is aiming for nothing less than winning,” said Auffray. “We have the capability to win the Class S2000 Challenge title, and this Class will be hotly contested this season. For rallying in Class S2000, and in Class S1600 too for that matter, a crew has to be on their game from the first corner to the last of the event. And, we aim for that on the TOTAL Rally next month. I look forward to the challenges of moving into the faster machinery, as the level of competition also takes major step up with the speed.”
Janine Lourens hails from Pretoria, Gauteng and is determined to succeed in motorsport. Growing up along rally stages and in service parks around the country, she is daughter of former Team TOTAL driver Etienne. This young lady has the right attitude and approach needed to gain a solid backing in the sport, and working alongside Trott for 2013 will see her experience levels soar as the eight-times national Class champion driver.
Craig Trott welcomes Lourens to the team: “Janine has the right background for this sport, and she is very serious about her role as co-driver. She is passionate and committed to the task, and that is what is needed from a young navigator in this sport. I’m looking forward to working with her and competing in the 2013 season. It is fantastic that I am able to teach the next generation the ropes in rallying, and to encourage the sport’s growth.”
Commented Lourens: “I am very excited for the new season, this new phase in my motorsport career and I am hoping for many great things with Craig and Team TOTAL in 2013. I am learning and working hard at perfecting my notes for the season, and my experience in regional rallying and on selected national rallies in 2012 will do me good. I have some nerves for the first rally, but it will only make me work harder to be perfect as a co-driver.”
Team TOTAL is proud to bring new talent to the forefront of rallying in South Africa and thereby encouraging future stars of the sport. Although Auffray and Lourens are no strangers to this sport, their progress into the premier Class and into full-time national rally championship seat is precisely what TOTAL South Africa stands for in the marketplace. Go Team, go!