Two Toyota teams are locked in a fierce battle for the overall SA Rally Championship titles which will be resolved on the final round of the Sasol dualfuelä SA Rally Championship, the Toyota Dealers Great North Rally, to be run over the weekend of 10 and 11 October in the Polokwane (Pietersburg) and Tzaneen areas of the Limpopo Province. -

- The Pretoria Motor Club-organized event will see a stand-off between the eight times former champion of the Team Castrol Toyota RunX RSi equipe, Serge Damseaux and Robert Paisley, and the Team Total pairing of Etienne Lourens and Andre Vermeulen in their class A7 Toyota Corolla RSi. -

- Damseaux has a 12 point lead over Lourens which distills down to a situation that Lourens must win the event outright, which he did in 2002, and Damseaux must be placed 4th overall or lower if Lourens is to upset the established applecart and claim his first title. -

- In the event of a points tie, the title will go to Damseaux as he and Paisley have won four events this season to Lourens/Vermeulen’s single victory. -

- The Production Car championship is a tie at the top of the points table between the class N4 leader Schalk Burger and Vito Bonafede (Bridgestone Sasol dualfuelä Subaru Impreza WRX STI) and the class N3 Team Castrol Toyota RunX RSi of Charl Wilken and Robin Houghton, where both crews have amassed 107 points. -

- Wilken and Houghton have already wrapped up their class championship with seven consecutive class wins this year, while Burger is locked in a struggle for the class N4 driver’s crown, which he leads by 14 points from Fernando Rueda (Motion Vehicle Sasol dualfuelä Mitsubishi lancer Evo 7). -

- The class N4 Co-driver’s title is led by Burger’s map-man, Vito Bonafede, 14 points clear of Brian Carrihill. Bonafede missed the Motorpics Mountain Trial in August due to business commitments, while Rueda has utilized the services of a number of different co-drivers during the year. -

- In class A5, the current title-holders Rodney Visagie and Carolyn Swan (Team Total Toyota Tazz) have come under increasing pressure from the Sasol dualfuelä Volkswagen Chico crew of Gugu Zulu and Dave McGregor. Each has won their class three times to date, while Visagie leads the title chase by a single point, and both crews have averaged a score of 7 points per rally. -

- Chris de Wit and Janine Labuschagne lead the class N2 points chase in their CTH Transport Toyota Corolla RSi from the near-identical Palbin Corolla of Capetonians Richard Behm/Grant St Clair. Behm will need a miracle to prevent the title going to KwaZulu Natal, but it isn’t over until the final time control in Tzaneen on Saturday afternoon. -

- Toyota has already secured its 12th Manufacturer’s Championship, but 2nd place is still the subject of a fierce battle between Subaru, who have a slender 40-point advantage over rivals Volkswagen. -

- Spoiling for a fight and able to upset everyone’s championship calculations are the two Sasol dualfuelä Volkswagen Golf entries of Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson and the outgoing champions Jannie Habig/Douglas Judd. Kuun has clawed his way to third overall on the points table, but the two factory-entered Golfs have endured a less than satisfactory season, each driver claiming a single win apiece. -

- In class A7, the two Sasol dualfuelä Volkswagen Polo Playas of Hergen Fekken/Dave Lewkowicz and Tjaart van der Walt/Mike Burrows have suffered from endless problems, with Fekken finishing just three rallies out of seven, and van der Walt two. Both crews are able to challenge Lourens on their day, as is the second Team Total Corolla RSi of Jean-Pierre Damseaux/Cobus Vrey. -

- Damseaux Junior is in his first year in class A7 and has picked up his pace dramatically after a slow start to the year. Cliff Blackman/Johan Klaasen have a new ‘touring car’ style 2-litre engine in their Topcar Hugo Boss BMW 318i, and with more power and a substantial 50-kg weight saving, the only rear wheel drive car in the field is now a regular points scorer and top 10 finisher. -

- Quite capable of scoring an upset victory in the forests of Tzaneen is the class N4 L&J Plant Hire Subaru Impreza WRX STi of Johnny Gemmell/Greg Godrich, who came within 1½ stages of victory in the Cape last month. Gemmell has led every rally this year before being forced out for one reason or another, and has yet to score a single point, which they are determined to change. -

- With two class wins to their credit, Nicholas Ryan/Brian Carrihill (ABC Motors Subaru Impreza GT) can cause an upset, while a fleet of Subaru runners are capable of top 10 placings. Leon Botha/AN other (Pretoria Subaru Impreza WRX STi) is the defending class champion and has taken one victory this year, while Rocky Reyneke/Andre Pheiffer (Hencom Panelbeaters Impreza GT), Jose Ferreira/Miguel da Costa (Italian Panelbeaters Impreza GT), Lola and Megan Verlaque (Rally Chicks Impreza WRX), Rob du Preez/Richard Gerntholtz (Slurry Reclaimers Impreza GT), Visser du Plessis/Thilo von Westernhagen (Lipton Iced Team Impreza WRX STi) and Callie van der Merwe (the newly crowned Northern Regions rally driver’s champion) and co-driver Gideon Trollip (Mobil Impreza GT) have all scored handsome points positions this season. -

- Class A6 has already found a home in the form of Craig Trott/Gerhard Snyman (Team Total Toyota Corolla RSi), but they came under increasing pressure from Andy Haigh Smith/Gerald Brace (Team REACT Corolla RSi) in the Cape event last month. Schalk Burger Jr/Wimpie van Greunen will add interest in yet another G&J Panelbeaters Corolla RSi. -

- The class A5 battle will center on the two aforementioned title protagonists, but will face added competition from the second Sasol dualfuelä Volkswagen Chico of the fondly named “Zulu Impi” team of Nkosinathi Nzimande/Fani Fani Meyiwa. The class N1 champion duo for 2003, Bryan and Keith Heine, have upgraded to a class A5 Penny Pinchers Volkswagen Chico, while Gregory Bloomer/Greg Gericke (Toy Toy Spares Toyota Tazz) can get amongst the class front-runners. -

- Michele Lupini/Gary Kingsley Wilkens, fresh from their career first rally win in a Sabat Saab on the recent SCC All Tar regional rally, will be anxious to finish their first national event of the year in their Sabat Toyota Tazz. -

- With the N2 championship all but wrapped up, Chris de Wit/Janine Labuschagne can cruise and let the outgoing champion Dean Sanders/Rod Hering (Team Total Toyota Corolla RSi) make the running, while Danie van Hengel/Paul Botha (Loden Electrical Corolla RSi) adds extra spice to the class. -

- With the Heine Brothers already the champions in class N1, Vusi Mabanga/Patrick Yende (Team Total Sowetan Toyota Tazz) and Hylton Belitzky/Ryan Cheyne (Protea Hotels Tazz) are the only contenders for honours in the smallest class. -

- A number of non-points scoring class S20 entries from the well-supported Northern Regions rally championship are expected to enter the fray, and will see some rear-wheel-drive historic rally cars from yesteryear thrill the throngs of spectators. -

- The PMC Toyota Dealers Great North Rally starts at the Meropa Casino in Polokwane on Friday, 10 October at 12h30 before tackling three stages around the city. -

- Meropa Casino, the stadium and Castrol Airfield all give local enthusiasts a chance to witness the action on their doorstep, before the teams head to Magoebaskloof and Tzaneen for a further two stages, including the hugely popular Tzaneen testing grounds stage. -

- A short rest break before three telling night stages will return the competitors to NTT Toyota in Tzaneen for the overnight parc ferme. -

- Day two starts at 08h00 and takes in stages around Duiwelskloof and the tea plantations near Tzaneen. The spectator friendly Keet 2, Dam and Eldorado stages are included in the route. -

- A final short blast through the streets of Tzaneen brings the event to an exciting conclusion with the finish location at NTT Toyota at about 16h00 on Saturday. -

- For further information on the Toyota Dealers Great North Rally or the Sasol dualfuelä SA Rally Championship, log on to www.sasolrallyscene.co.za or call 08-22-33-4321. -

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Original article from Car