Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally: Tough Special Stage one takes its toll
The Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally got off to a chaotic start this morning with many of the competitors picking up punctures on the first gravel stage turning the finishing order after the first two special stages up-side-down.
After 55 of the 180 kilometre event Jan Habig and Robert Paisley in the Basil Read Ford Fiesta lead by 37 seconds from Jon Williams and Cobus Vrey in the Sasol Racing Rally Team Ford Fiesta with third place occupied by the Team Total Toyota Auris pair of JP Damseaux and Grant Martin a further five seconds back.
Pre race favourites Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton were early casualties and dropped out of the event before the end of special stage one with terminal damage to the rear suspension of their Sasol Racing Rally Team Ford Fiesta
Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan (Castrol Team Toyota Auris), second in the championship before starting this morning, were among the many competitors who suffered punctures and are ninth overall after special stage two.
Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin (BP Volkswagen Polo) lead the S2000 Challenge in sixth place overall.
Class S1600 for two-wheel drive cars was particularly affected by the rocky special stage one with almost all of the leading contenders suffering in one way or another.
Siblings Christoff and Celeste Snyders (VW Polo) retired with a bent rear suspension, Ashley Haigh-Smith and Craig Parry (Castrol Ford Fiesta R2) suffered four punctures, Janine and Michelle Lourens, in their first national championship event were also hampered by two punctures while Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle (Toyota RunX) were stuck in special stage one