One of the finds in South African rallying in 2002, Steve Mearns is set and ready to challenge for Class A5 glory in the Sabat Motorsport Africa Magazine Junior Team Toyota Tazz. Mearns, who sprang to prominence when he won the Media Challenge in his national rally debut at a treacherous Mountain Trial rally will be alongside young navigator Lewellyn Fouche in the Sabat Tazz for the 2003 season... -

- The Tazz, which was used by the magazine in the now defunct Media Challenge, has been acquired by Motorsport Africa and will run in Sabat Batteries' famous red, white and black colours in 2003. It's Sabat's first foray into national rallying following close to thirty years of circuit racing sponsorship and the Sabat Motorsport Africa Junior Rally team will run alongside Sabat's Production Car, V8 and Formula Vee circuit racing campaign, along with an also new off-road racing campaign. -

- Young Mearns is thrilled at the opportunity to rally again this year after an impressive showing in the latter half of the 2003 season, where he not only shocked his media rivals, but settled down to prove a force to be reckoned with in the overall Class A5 fray. -

- "I am delighted to have this opportunity," the Motorsport Africa editor enthused. "It's great to be able to look forward to a season of rallying in a well organised and professional team and I need to thank all our sponsors, Sabat in particular, and the team for this chance..." -

- "Welly and I are relishing the opportunity to challenge both our established rivals and other Junior Teams this year," Mearns admitted. "We're out to learn and progress and we hope that we'll be able to impress our sponsors and our rivals this season..." -

- The Sasol Motorsport Africa Junior Team Tazz also has continued support from Dunlop tyres and Halfway Toyota, while it will run Sasol Duel Fuel and Sasol lubricants this season. The Tazz will switch to Bilstein suspension as part of a development programme that will see it re-shelled and sporting a brand new engine as the season progresses, with the assistance of Toy-Toy Used Spares. -

- The team also has support from Multi Purpose Cement and will use Champion ignition products and Ferodo brake components. Lusio Panel Beaters and Signs For You will keep the Sabat Junior Team Tazz shipshape. -

- But Mearns, Fouche and the Sabat Tazz will have their work cut out with a strong nine-car field in Class A5. Topping their list of rivals will be double A5 champions Rodney Visagie and Carolyn Swan, while last year's N1 champions, Greg Bloomer and Greg Gericke will be out in a brand new N5 Toy-Toy Tazz, along with teammates and 2001 N1 champs Mike Houghton and Bryn Doherty in another N5 Toy-Toy Tazz. -

- But the Sabat team will be looking more to beat the two Sasol Dual Fuel Junior Team VW Chicos of KZN flyers Nkhosinathi Nzimandli and Fani Fani Meyiwe and Gugu Zulu and Dave McGregor. -

- "Steve and Lewellyn will bring a most interesting aspect to N5 along with Nkhosinathi and Fani Fani and Gugu and Dave," said Sabat Motorsport Africa team manager Michele Lupini. "With the Media Challenge coming to an end, the Junior Team prospect held a lot of merit, especially considering there are now three similarly positioned teams in the class..." -

- The Hitachi Power Tools Tour Natal starts at Umhlanga's Gateway Centre in on Friday before heading off to the South Coast, then Westmead and back to Gateway. Saturday will take crews to Dududu and Harding prior to travelling back to Umhlanga for a repeat of the Gateway stage and the finish. -

- The Sabat team's progress this year will be telegraphed through the magazine's website - http://motoring.iafrica.com as well as in Motorsport Africa every issue alongside features on SA and World Rallying, local circuit and off-road racing, F1, IndyCar Racing and other regular motorsport articles. Motorsport Africa, along with Cars in Action magazine, which it shares its home with, goes monthly from May - don't miss the action every month... -

- Images of the 2003 Sabat Tazz will be available shortly, images from 2002 are available on www.motorpics.co.za

Original article from Car