TOTAL Rally sets KwaZulu-Natal’s motorsport pulse beating in 2013
Starting with a clean sheet presents a new season of promise and potential. The 2013 South African Rally Championship’s eight rounds sees competitors tackle the season-opening TOTAL Rally 2013 on 8 – 9 March in Durban and along the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast with renewed ambitions of claiming Championship success.
Organised by the Natal Motorcycle and Car Club (NMCC) for the 55th time with and sponsors TOTAL South Africa for the fifth year running, resources and expertise have once more been combined over the past several months to host a rally that will prove to be as thrilling to spectators as it is challenging for the competitors.
Spokesperson for TOTAL South Africa, Nadia Vosloo, said: “We’ve set out to make this the most spectator-friendly rally on the calendar, and we have worked tirelessly to build upon the already high levels of spectator safety too. The TOTAL Rally 2013 promises to be a fantastic weekend of motorsport and family fun!”
To achieve this, the TOTAL Rally 2013 boasts a Super Special Stage that takes place at the old Durban Drive-In complex. What sets this stage apart from other such rally stages is that it will see rally cars battle it out head-to-head against each other and the stopwatch.
The TOTAL Rally is comprised of 16 stages contested over 171km of timed action in a route of 660km. There will be 14 stages run on gravel along the South Coast’s Scottburgh areas on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, and the all-action all-tar Super Special Stage at the old Durban Drive-In site will end action on both days of rallying.
The event’s Ceremonial Start takes place at Durban at 11h00 on Friday 8 March, and is not to be missed: waving the flag will be Ms India SA 2012 Koshicka Singh. The first stage gets underway at 11h58, and is the first of the day’s six gravel stages. A Service Park will be established at the Scottburgh Country Club, and spectators are welcome to visit when the crews repair and prepare their rally machines after Stage 1 (Finningly 1) and after Stage 5 (Invernettie 2). The action heads to Durban for Friday’s finale, the Super Special Stage at the old Durban Drive-In complex, starting at 19h33.
Action restarts at 06h33 on Saturday as crews leave their overnight Parc Ferme to head to Stage 8 (Ellingham 1), with the first car due to start the stage at 07h50. This will be the first of eight gravel stages, and once more the Scottburgh Country Club will play host to the rally’s Service Park after Stages 9, 11, 13 and 15.
A repeat of the Super Special Stage will start at 15h29 to conclude the event’s grueling schedule of rally action, and this will be followed up by the Podium Ceremony and Prize-Giving at the Rally Village.
There have been many changes to the face of South African Rally Championship in the four months since the last event, and this bodes well for an exciting TOTAL Rally 2013. The new Volkswagen Polo S2000 rally machines have undergone extensive mechanical updates and they promise great speed on these slippery stages, and the Volkswagen Sasolracing team’s four crew line-up includes double national championship winning drivers Hergen Fekken and Enzo Kuun and motorsport personality Gugu Zulu, while 18-year-old Henk Lategan fills the final seat as the youngest factory rally driver in the history of the sport in South Africa.
Toyota Motorsport and Hallspeed will debut their all-new Toyota Yaris S2000 at the TOTAL Rally 2013, with their factory drivers Johnny Gemmell and Leeroy Poulter looking to shakedown this new rally machine on the demanding stages in KwaZulu-Natal.
Team TOTAL, the largest privateer rally team in the South African Rally Championship, is ready and primed for action with their three crews. Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Hilton Auffray (Team TOTAL Toyota Auris S2000) and Mohammed Moosa and Andre Vermeulen (Team TOTAL Toyota Auris S2000) will compete in the Class S2000 Challenge category, while Craig Trott and Janine Lourens (Team TOTAL Toyota RunX S1600) will be out to claim his ninth two-wheel drive Class Championship title in 2013.