THE fourth round of the Volkswagen Rally on the 2012 South African national rally calendar in the Port Elizabeth region takes place next Friday and Saturday.
The event will be an intense battle between the top five competitors in the S2000 class.
Just ten points separate these first five teams of Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen entries making it a tough three-way battle. With nearly 200 kilometres of competition distance and 12 stages of rallying over the two days on both gravel and tar, the competitors are going to have to keep their wits about them.
Competitors will start outside the Volkswagen plant in Uitenhage.
Contesting stages will take drivers in the different stages in Gamtoos, the Longmore Forest, Uitenhage, Port Elizabeth Oval Track Raceway in Greenbushes as well as the popular Kings Beach spectator stage, which is the traditional grand finale.
Competitors will face one of the two new stages at the start of the event when they head to Melon in the Gamtoos area. They will face a challenging, but extremely good first stage.
The home team for this event, the BP Volkswagen Rally Team, will be showcasing their new BP Volkswagen Polo S2000 at the Volkswagen Rally with a traditional three-car entry in the category.
Each rally victory is worth 25 points so none of the teams can afford to take it easy when they tackle the Volkswagen Rally.
For Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Fiesta S2000) the championship lead holds little comfort when Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swann (Toyota Auris S2000) are just three points back – although much the same can be said of Gemmell and Swann’s second place with Jon Williams and Cobus Vrey (Ford Fiesta S2000) just four points behind them.
This narrow points margin between positions continues all the way to eighth place before the first sizeable gap between teams appears – and even then it is just 11 points between eighth and ninth.