Competitors in the opening round of the 2013 South African Rally Championship can expect a traditionally fast and challenging event when the Total Rally takes place in KwaZulu-Natal on 8 and 9 March.
Organised by the Natal Motorcycle and Car Club, the event will be headquartered at the old Durban drive-in site not far from Moses Mabhida Stadium, where it will start and finish each day and where a rally village offering entertainment and a service park will be established.
There will be 16 special stages covering a total distance of 171 kilometres, 14 on gravel in the South Coast areas of Scottburgh, Park Rynie and Umzinto and a tarmac Super Special that will end each day in Durban. The entire event, including liaison sections, totals some 660 kilometres.
The first car will be flagged away from the ceremonial start in Durban at 11:00 on Friday with the first of the day’s six gravel special stages starting near Scottburgh at 11:58. Three stages will be repeated with competitors visiting the service park at Scottburgh Country Club after stages one and five. A remote service park will operate at Drumdurroch after stage three.
A festive atmosphere will welcome fans at the Durban drive-in site for the closing night Super Special, which will start at 19:30 with competitors running against each other in pairs over a 1,35-kilometre course adjacent to the Total Rally Village.
Saturday’s action starts from Durban at 06:30 with the first of eight gravel stages (four repeated), Ellingham, near Park Rynie due to get underway at 07:50. The Scottburgh Country Club will host the service park, which competitors will visit after stages nine, 11, 13 and 15.
The final stage, a repeat of Friday’s night’s Super Special in Durban, will start at around 15:30. This will be followed by the podium ceremony and prize-giving.
While the usual farm roads in the South Coast area will be used for the gravel stages on Friday and Saturday, competitors should not necessarily expect to find familiar roads, warns clerk of the course Richard Vaughan. Heavy rain in the area in recent weeks has resulted in some modifications to the route and all the roads have been graded.
“They will be extra slippery and fast,” said Vaughan. “Some stages have had to be shortened and Montevideo, in particular, is not as rough and technical as it was last year and will be faster and more flowing.
“The landowners have once again been generous in their support of our event and we thank them for making it possible to put on one of the fastest and most popular rallies of the year.”