South Africa: 2014 season gears up

The 2014 South African National Rally Championship calendar has been revealed, as well as some of the shock driver musical chair movements in recent weeks…

The series remains an eight-event championship, starting off with the traditional KwaZulu-Natal opener in March. It concludes nine-months later with the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally at the end of November. With TOTAL South Africa no longer active South African motorsport, the highly-popular TOTAL Rally in March is in search of a title sponsor. This predicament also exists for the PMC Rally, which used to be the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally. Taking in six of the country’s nine provinces with over 1,200km of special stages, the 2014 season will be another exciting instalment in this series’ long history.

Two works teams have undergone a change for 2014, too. The picture is not clear or complete yet, but we’ve managed to piece together the following…
• Johnny Gemmell has left Castrol Team Toyota
• Hergen Fekken replaces Gemmell at the Toyota squad
• Enzo Kuun has left Volkswagen Sasolracing
• Thilo Himmel has moved into the Super S2000 category to take up Gugu Zulu’s S2000 Challenge seat in the ageing Polo Vivo S2000
• Henk Lategan, sensational in their first full season of S2000 competition for the works Volkswagen team, are set to take up the lead driver seat at the Volkswagen Sasolracing team
• Gugu Zulu will join Henk Lategan in the new Polo S2000s for the Volkswagen Sasolracing team
• Leeroy Poulter and Giniel de Villiers, fresh from their admirable Dakar Rally campaign, will continue to drive the Toyota Yaris S2000s for the works Toyota squad under different sponsorship banners.

With a number of privateer teams set to join the series for 2014, this will be an exciting heart ahead in South African motorsport.

The 2014 Calendar:
KZN Rally (KwaZulu-Natal): 14 – 15 March
Sasol Rally (Mpumalanga): 11 – 12 April
PMC Rally (Gauteng): 23 – 24 May
Volkswagen Rally (Eastern Cape): 11 – 12 July
Ford Dealer Rally (Gauteng): 15 – 16 August
Toyota Cape Dealer Rally (Western Cape): 19 – 20 September
Polokwane Rally (Limpopo Province): 17 – 18 October
Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally (Northwest Province): 21 – 22 November

Photo Credit: Evan Rothman.
Mark Cronje