Fighting Fifth for NAD Fiesta


Roadworx Communications

Rally privateers Japie van Niekerk and Gordon Noble started their 2015 campaign with a solid fifth place overall on the Tour Natal, which ended in Scottburgh on KZN’s south coast on February 28.

Eric Buijs

In the opening round of the South African Nationally Rally Championship and their first outing together, the experienced duo also managed to take the New Africa Developments Fiesta S2000 to three ‘podiums’ in the stage time standings and started the second day strongly, with the second-fastest time on the opening stage – Montevideo. Unfortunately, on the next timed section they suffered a puncture and lost the best part of two minutes, ultimately putting paid to their chances of moving up the order.

Says Japie van Niekerk, now starting his ninth season in the premier S2000 class: “All in all it was a decent performance considering that it was the first time that Gordon and I had worked together. We started the first day quite slowly and by the end of it we were starting to gel. We knew we could up the pace on Saturday, which we did, and then suffered the setback of a puncture. The NAD Fiesta is on the pace and as Gordon and I continue to work together I’m confident that we can get onto the podium.”

Noble, who will be commuting from his home in Northern Ireland for each round of the South African rally championship added: “There was a lot that was new for both Japie and me this weekend, so to get to the finish with relatively little drama was really a case of mission accomplished. The car was good, and we definitely upped our collective pace on the second day, and with the puncture out of the equation we could’ve been fighting for fourth place. But that’s rallying, and I’m looking forward to returning for the Sasol Rally in the middle of April with the objective of an improved performance.”