Words & Photo: Charmaine Fortune
With three of the days six special stages completed the Castrol Toyota Teams of Leeroy Poulter/Elvéne Coetzee and Hergen Fekken/Carolyn Swan occupied the first two places in the opening rounds of the SA National Rally Championship, Tour Natal Rally, in KwaZulu Natal.
Poulter/Coetzee leads his team mate by 18 seconds after 36 km of special stage rallying, both are in Toyota Yaris S2000 machines. Third is Namibian privateer Wilro Dippenaar/Kes Naidoo 30 seconds behind Poulter/Coetzee with Henk Lategan/Pierre Arries the leading Sasolracing VW in fourth place 40 seconds behind the leaders. Fifth is Giniel de Villiers/ Greg Godrich (Imperial Toyota Yaris) a further 44 seconds in arrears and sixth Hans Weijs/Bjorn Degandt plus 1 minute 05 seconds.
There was early drama when championship leaders Mark Cronje/ Robin Houghton went off the road in the third corner of the first special stage, hit a tree and rolled causing extensive damage to the rear of the Ford Dealer Team Fiesta.
Two other casualties on special stage one were privateers Japie van Niekerk/Gerhard Snyman (New Africa Developments Ford Fiesta) and Nic van Der Westhuizen/Stefan CilliersS2000 Challenge Toyota Auris, both of who rolled their cars.
Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin (Sasolracing VW Polo) were stranded in special stage three with engine problems after a promising start in their first outing in the S2000 Sasolracing VW polo.
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