Category Archives: South African Rallying News and Events

Henk Lategan set for outing in ERC in Greece

Volkswagen Sasolracing’s 19-year old Henk Lategan left South Africa last week to contest the FIA Europena Rally Championship’s (ERC) Acropolis Rally in Greece. This rally takes place from Friday to Sunday, 28 – 30 March.

“The Acropolis Rally takes place on both gravel and tar,” says Lategan. “There is a very strong entry list and I’m expecting it will be a tough weekend, not just facing the top drivers and teams there, but also the unfamiliar stages.”

Lategan contested three international events last year, with his best result a fifth overall in Croatia. In preparation for the Acropolis Rally, part of the European Rally Championship, he will make a quick stop in Austria to spend some time testing with the BRR (Baumschlager Rallye & Racing).

“Competing in Europe can be very different to competing in South Africa,” says Lategan. “The road surfaces, the stage layouts and also the language can often be obstacles that need to be overcome. It certainly adds a different dimension to competing there.”

To this end, Lategan will be teamed with navigators experienced in competition in the European championship. For the Acropolis event his co-driver is Klaus Wicha, a German competitor with more than three decades of experience and one of the top professionals in his field. The pair will contest a Skoda Fabia S2000 in the RC2 class, a category which accounts for most of the entry list.

South Africa’s first rally of 2014 is GO!

The 2014 South African National Rally Championship will be all about who can prevent reigning champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Dealer Team Fiesta S2000) from winning their third successive title.

After taking seven victories in last year’s eight-round Championship and winning more than half of the stages, the Ford pair starts the new season as hot favourites. But they will have to contend with a strong challenge from the S2000 factory teams of Toyota and Volkswagen. Continue reading South Africa’s first rally of 2014 is GO!

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. Continue reading South Africa: 2014 season gears up

VIDEO: Mark Cronje aims for sixth win in South Africa in 2013

The South African National Rally Championship’s penultimate round of 2013 is the Polokwane Motor Rally this weekend, and Mark Cronje is favourite for victory in this fast event. If he does so, it will be his sixth victory from the season’s seven rallies thus far. Watch this video of their pre-event testing. HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS will bring you stage-by-stage action from this thrilling event this weekend.

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H&H at the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally – IN PHOTOS

This past weekend saw Handbrakes & Hairpins cover the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally, Round Six of the 2013 South African National Rally Championship in the Malmesbury farming region of the Western Cape.

Here is our photo gallery from this wet and muddy rally. This photo gallery is on our Facebook Page, but even if you don’t have a Facebook account you will still be able to see all our photos. We hope you enjoy it our photos; please click here:



Win a once in a lifetime rally experience with South Africa’s best driver

Reigning South African Rally Champion Mark Cronje is a fantastic ambassador for the sport. His smooth driving style has brought him four wins from the five rounds of the 2013 national rally championship this far, but it is his dedication to raising the awareness and profile of rallying in South Africa that is to be commended too. Mark’s latest project is a wonderful one, a “Chance in a Lifetime”…

“Like” his Facebook Page HERE and follow the instructions to stand a chance of a hot seat experience with him ahead of the Toyota Western Cape Dealer Rally on 19 – 20 August in the Malmsebury, Western Cape area.


Handbrakes & Hairpins is a FREE weekly eMagazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and entertainment from the world of rallying. Click here to download the latest issue:

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Four wins in five rallies for Cronje and Ford in South Africa [PLUS Photo Gallery]

A very successful inaugural Ford Dealer Rally ended in Cullinan, Gauteng yesterday with another dominant national rally championship victory for reigning champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Dealer Fiesta S2000).

It was the current runaway championship leaders’ fourth win in five events and, with three rounds remaining, they enjoy a comfortable 30-point lead at the top of the standings. They won eight of the 14 special stages over the two-day event, which took place in the historical diamond mining area of Cullinan east of Pretoria.

It was the perfect weekend for Ford. In addition to winning the four-wheel drive S2000 class, Ford Fiestas also won the S2000 Challenge for earlier specification four-wheel drive cars and the two-wheel drive S1600 class. Toyota spoilt the party slightly by taking the Manufacturers’ Award and extending their lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship.

Henk Lategan/Barry White (Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000) were second overall, 01min 16sec in arrears. The 20-year-old Lategan, the hottest young property in South African rallying today, came from fifth overnight and added another three stage wins to the two he scored on Day One. Had it not been for a 20-second penalty for deviating from the route on Day One, he would have finished the first day in third place.

Third was the Castrol Team Toyota combination of Johnny Gemmell/Carolyn Swan in a Yaris S2000, who finished 42 seconds behind the Polo and, who in turn, just managed to hold off a determined challenge from Toyota team-mates Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee.

Poulter/Coetzee were penalised a total of 70 seconds for two jump starts on Day One, which saw them drop from second to eighth overnight and lost them a second place finish at the end of the rally. Seven top three finishers in Day Two’s eight stages saw this crew close to within six seconds of their team-mates at the finish at Zonderwater Correctional Services in Cullinan.

Privateers Japie van Niekerk/Gerhard Snyman were fifth and enjoyed their best result of the season so far in only the second outing in their New Africa Developments Ford Fiesta S2000 Challenge entry. Former champions Enzo Kuun/Douglas Judd (Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000) scraped home in sixth place with a fast-finishing Giniel de Villiers/Greg Godrich (Imperial Toyota Yaris S2000) following just two seconds in arrears.

Completing the top ten were Team Total’s Jean-Pierre Damseaux/Hilton Auffray and Mohammed Moosa/Andre Vermeulen in eighth and ninth places in their Toyota Auris S2000 Challenge cars, with another Challenge entry the Toyota RunX of Stephanie Botha and her father Willem Hugo in tenth.

Defending S2000 Challenge champions, Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin (Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo Vivo S2000), were forced to retire with a broken engine valve after completing just one stage on Day Two.

Former national rally champions Jan Habig/Robert Paisley were cruelly robbed of a hard-earned fifth place on the very last stage of the rally, when their Basil Read Ford Fiesta S2000 suffered a broken camshaft belt.

Hergen Fekken/Pierre Arries (Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000) had a weekend to forget. The former champions hit a gate on SS2 on Day One and were forced to retire. They started on Day Two under Super Rally rules, which apply stiff penalties for all the stages missed, but only managed to complete two stages before retiring once again with a severe driveshaft vibration.

The two-wheel drive S1600 class honours went to a resurgent Ashleigh Haigh-Smith/Craig Parry (Castrol Ford Fiesta R2), who were 12th overall and 01min 22sec ahead of the second S1600, the Beurden Construction Volkswagen Polo R2 of Chad van Beurden/Nico Swartz. It was circuit racer Van Beurden’s best result in his first year in rallying, and came after he and Swartz won the final stage.

Haigh-Smith had started fourth on Day Two after a puncture on Day One dropped him to eighth after the first three stages. He fought back magnificently to win the Class for the first time this season. Third were Paul Franken/Henry Kohne (Manitou Group Volkswagen Polo R2) in their best result of the season, who were just 0.8sec behind Van Beurden after more than two hours and 160 kilometres of gravel rally action.

Another circuit racer competing in only his second-ever rally, Ernie van der Walt was a very happy fourth with co-driver James Aldridge in their Ferodo Ford Fiesta R2. Fifth were Matthew Vacy-Lyle/Schalk van Heerden (Fragram Tools Toyota RunX S1600) ahead of Andrew Heine/Stephen Jones (Toyota Auris S1600) and Lourens van Rensburg/Jason Plumbley (7 Films Ford Fiesta S2000).

Completing the top ten were eight-times former Class champion Craig Trott/Janine Lourens, whose rally was bedevilled by punctures and delays in other competitors’ dust; championship leaders Clint Weston/Christoff Snyders (Reef Tankers Citroen C2 R2); and Marko Himmel of Namibia and Gert Nienaber (Toyota Corolla S1600).

Weston and Snyders had led throughout the event until dropping back to second behind the winners on SS13 and rolling their car on the final stage due to a wheel breaking off their Citroën on a straight section 5km into the final stage.

Himmel’s older brother Thilo and Armand du Toit (Toyota Etios R2), second in the championship, competed in the Super Rally on Day Two after suffering a broken driveshaft on Day One. They dominated the stage times with five wins out of eight to Weston/Snyders’ two, and retired on the final stage with suspension problems.

The next round of the Championship is the Toyota Western Cape Dealer Rally in the Western Cape on 13 and 14 September.

Final Overall Classification:
01) M. Cronje/R. Houghton
Ford Fiesta S2000 – 01h 44m 56.4s
02) H. Lategan/B. White
Volkswagen Polo S2000 + 01m 16.9s
03) J. Gemmell/C. Swan
Toyota Yaris S2000 + 01m 59.7s
04) L. Poulter/E. Coetzee
Toyota Yaris S2000 + 02m 06.3s
05) J. Van Niekerk/G. Snyman
Ford Fiesta S2000 + 02m 25.6s
06) E. Kuun/D. Judd
Volkswagen Polo S2000 + 02m 46.1s
07) G. De Villiers/G. Godrich
Toyota Yaris S2000 + 02m 48.9s
08) J-P. Damseaux/H. Auffray
Toyota Auris S2000 + 03m 28.9s
09) M. Moosa/A. Vermeulen
Toyota Auris S2000 + 05m 39.0s
10) S. Botha/W. Hugo
Toyota RunX S2000 + 11m 20.5s

Handbrakes & Hairpins is a FREE weekly eMagazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and entertainment from the world of rallying.

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