Serge Damseaux and Robert Paisley stormed to their second consecutive victory in their Team Castrol Toyota RunX Rsi, winning the Toyota Dealer Cape Rally by a dominant 2½ minutes over the chasing pack in the Western Cape yesterday (31 May). Damseaux and Paisley are now comfortably atop the 2003 Sasol DualFuel National Rally Championship points log after three rounds. -

- Second were reigning champions Jan Habig and Douglas Judd in their Sasol DualFuel Volkswagen Golf 4, with the final podium going to Etienne Lourens and Andre Vermeulen in the Team Total Toyota Corolla Rsi. -

- The Production Car Class saw the Pretoria Subaru/SA Rallystar.co.za combination of Leon Botha and Richard Clark take the overall honours by finishing 5th in the standings. -

- Toyota easily walked away with the Manufactures’ trophy with 4 out of the top 5 placings. -

- On day one of the Somerset West Motor Club-organised event, held from Brackenfell to Bredasdorp, the Class A7 team of Lourens/Vermeulen held sway, with a storming drive in stage 2, to blitz the entire field by 15 seconds. Running mud tyres over the dauntingly narrow and slippery Helshoogte stage, near Stellenbosch, Lourens emerged with the overall rally lead at the end of day 1. -

- Damseaux and Paisley snatched the lead back on the first stage of day 2, taking the stage win by 28 seconds. Thereafter he built up a commanding lead while the battles for ‘best of the rest’ raged behind the Toyota pairing. -

- Initially, the factory-entered class A8 Sasol DualFuel Volkswagen Golf 4 of Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson held second place on day two, demoting Lourens to third, before the second Sasol Golf of Habig and Judd put in a charge which saw them snatch second from Kuun who dropped to third with Lourens in fourth. -

- Habig’s problems started in stage 7 when the Volkswagen pairing lost over three minutes with driveshaft CV and differential problems. Kuun and Hodgson held second again, until their Volkswagen Golf’s engine expired in stage 9. -

- Lourens was yet again back in second place in spite of damaging the left side of the car against a gate post, but a “one hundred and ten percent” drive by Habig and Judd over the remaining stages near Bredasdorp took the Sasol Golf into second overall. -

- Lourens saw off his class A7 competition, outpacing his teammates Jean-Pierre Damseaux/Cobus Vrey in the second Team Total Toyota Corolla Rsi. A spin in stage 10 cost Damseaux 20 seconds and two positions, but a white knuckled drive over the remaining stage kilometres saw him snatch the position back. This was JP Damseaux’s first finish of the season and he enjoyed an otherwise trouble-free event. -

- Not so fortunate were the Sasol DualFuel Volkswagen Polo Playa twins of Tjaart van der Walt/Mike Burrows and Hergen Fekken/Dave Lewkowicz. Van der Walt had the misfortune of sheared wheel studs on the frighteningly quick opening Paarl Rock stage. The wheel overtook the car, before bouncing off an embankment and crashing back into the bonnet. With major drops into the Paarl Valley below, Van der Walt and Burrows were exceptionally fortunate to escape unscathed. -

- Fekken and Lewkowicz held 5th position overall after day 1, before a double driveshaft failure caused their retirement on the opening stage of day 2. -

- The win in the Production Car Class and 5th overall in their N4 Pretoria Subaru Impreza WRX Sti was due reward for the current class N4 champion, Leon Botha and co-driver Richard Clark. Armed with a 6th gear in the Impreza’s standard gearbox, Botha was racing along the long straights that characterise the open wheat field stages in excess of 220km/h, a pace that couldn’t be matched by the 5-speed competition ‘box” in the Bridgestone Sasol Dual Fuel Subaru Impreza WRX of the 2001 African Rally Champion Schalk Burger and former multiple S.A. champion co-driver Vito Bonafede. -

- A frustrated Burger said he was flat in 5th at 190km/h, with nothing more that he could do to close down the gap to the class leader. Second in class and 6th overall was the reward for the veteran pairing. -

- The other top Production Car contenders, Capetonians Fernando Rueda and Martin Botha (Motion Vehicle Sales / Sasol DualFuel Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7), were forced to retire from their overnight 6th position on the first stage of day two with a broken lower control arm after hitting a sequence of ‘yumps’ early in the stage. -

- Nicholas Ryan and Brian Carrihill continued their giant-killing performances this year, taking their ABC Motors Subaru Impreza GT to a fine 7th position overall, also finding the ultimate speed required for success on this event beyond the reach of his 5 speed machine. -

- Werner Koekemoer and Graham Hooper (AutoSpot House of Subaru Impreza GT), a crowd favourite with the local spectators, finished a fighting 8th overall. Just three seconds separated Koekemoer and Ryan after 200 km of dirt racing. Koekemoer lost time on day one when a spectator in Paarl hurled a stone at the speeding Impreza, shattering the driver’s side window. A turbo pipe also burst, leaving the genial Capetonian to drive an unboosted car for 17 km. -

- Visser du Plessis and Thilo von Westernhagen claimed 9th overall in their Lipton Iced Tea Subaru Impreza WRX Sti. The Pretoria businessman lost 2 minutes in stage 2 with intercom failure, this on a stage with over 43 corners packed into just 17,7km! -

- Rounding out the top 10 was another brilliant performance by the Cape crew of Richard Behm and Grant St Clair in their class N2 Palbin Toyota Corolla Rsi. Armed with the latest computer chip, Behm took the class lead from the start and held off the reigning overall Production Car champion Dean Sanders and co-driver Rod Hering in their Team Total Toyota Corolla Rsi. Sanders scored his first finish of the season and ended 11th overall. -

- 12th overall was the KwaZulu Natalian crew of Chris de Wit and Etienne Lourens’ sister, Janine Labuschagne in their CTH Transport Toyota Corolla Rsi. -

- The three class N2 Toyota drivers spent the entire rally slicing seconds off each other and their overall positions changed continually with the evenly paced and powered trio. -

- Winning class A6 was the Team Total Toyota Corolla Rsi of Craig Trott and Gerhard Snyman. Trott incurred a minute penalty for arriving six minutes late at a time control on day 1, having got lost en route to a stage. -

- The factory-entered Team Castrol Toyota RunX Rsi of Charl Wilken and multiple Off Road Co-driver’s champion Robin Houghton, won class N3 for the third consecutive event. Their only competition in the class, Wiley Harrington/Willie van Straaten, retired their Friendly Grocer Renault Clio on stage 4 with broken front suspension, incurred at the same spot as Rueda’s demise. -

- Scoring their maiden class A5 victory was the former track star Gugu Zulu and co-driver Dave McGregor in their Sasol DualFuel Volkswagen Chico. The “Impi Warrior” team’s Chico never missed a beat and the driver was delighted to have finished his first rally of the year and scored his 1st class win, nearly 2 minutes ahead of their nearest class rivals. -

- The second “Impi Warrior” pairing of Nkosinathi Nzimande/Fani Fani Meyiwa had a subdued event, but finished the ultra fast rally safely, while the class A5 titleholders, Rodney Visagie/Carolyn Swan (Team Total Toyota Tazz) retired with overheating problems in stage 2. -

- Steve Putter and Kelvin Flockhart (Volkswagen Chico) ended second in class A5 after a sterling drive, which included a harmless spin in stage 9. -

- Class N1 fell to the Capetonian pairing of brothers Brian and Keith Heine (Penny Pinchers Volkswagen Chico), who scored their 5th consecutive class win in as many outings. The delighted siblings were happy with their pace, consistency and reliability. Hylton Belitzky and Ryan Cheyne (Protea Hotels Toyota Tazz) were second in class N1, while the Team Total Sowetan development crew of Vusi Mabanga/Patrick Yende were forced to retire in the open section en route to stage 7 with engine maladies. -

- Other leading retirements included: -

- · Johnny Gemmell/Greg Godrich (L&J Plant Hire Subaru Impreza WRX Sti) – engine after stage 1 -

- · Rocky Reyneke/Andre Pheiffer (Hencom Motorsport Subaru Impreza GT) – turbo SS10 -

- · Amlay Abduraghman/Yusuf Ganief (Toyota Corolla Rsi) -

- · Andre Cleenwerck/Carl Peskin (VW Polo Playa) -

- · Deon and Stella Coleske (Volkswagen Polo Playa) – engine stage 3 -

- · Cliff Blackman/Johan Klaasen (Bosch Topcar BMW 320) – diff. -

- · Michele Lupini/Gary Kingsley Wilkens (Sabat Toyota Tazz) – engine -

- · Adrian Karth/Rikus Fourie (Shatterprufe Volkswagen Polo Playa) – did not start. -

- Amongst the special awards presented after the event, Richard Behm and Grant Sinclair received the Dunlop award for the top Dunlop-shod privateers and Somerset West Motorsport Club secretary Sylvia Taylor was the first recipient of the Sasol DualFuel “Fab Femm” award, nominated by the competitors as the lady who made the biggest contribution to the event. -

- The dedicated arrowing team of Marius and Jeanne Nel were presented with the first PlayStation2 console and game worth R4500.00. -

- Watch highlights of the Toyota Dealer Cape Rally on Topcar on Supersport on Saturday 7 June at 19h00 (Supersport 2) with further repeats. The next “Sasolrallyscene” magazine programme on SABC3, featuring this past weekend’s rally, will be broadcast directly after the Canadian F1 Grand Prix qualifying session on Saturday 14 June. -

- For more information as well as the full results of the Toyota Dealer Cape Rally and all the news on the Sasol DualFuel Rally Championship, log onto the official SA National Rally Website www.sasolrallyscene.co.za. or call 08 22 33 4321. -

- For a good selection of photographic from this weekend’s event visit: www.motorpics.co.za-

- The 4th Round of the championship is the much-awaited Sasol Rally 2003 in Mpumalanga (Nelspruit, White River, Sabie) from 19 to 21 June. -

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Original article from Car