The Total Rally South Africa was by far one of my most favourite events of my debut season in 2002. After three gruelling days of rallying and a number of stage wins, a first for me, we managed to finish 3rd in our class, my very first podium and one of many to come. -

- As for the 2003 Total Rally South Africa, I was sure of a win. After a two-week break, our Sasol DualFuel Volkswagen Chico (A5) had gone to the panel beaters for a face-lift after dropping seven meters into a river and suffering some damage, which put us out of the Tour Natal Rally in March. -

- On the first day of the Total at Zwartkops, my circuit racing experience gave me a slight advantage in that the first two stages were around the famous Zwartkops main circuit and go kart circuit. I had to stamp my authority and save face for all my former circuit racing colleagues, of which we did in style. Dave McGregor was also replaced in the hot-seat by Uwe Koch and I needed to show him that I was no rookie either. -

- On the first stage on Thursday afternoon, we pulled a gap of 10 seconds against the reigning 2002 Champion Rodney Visagie. This we did in style after having to overtake a number of cars. Later in the evening, we drilled everyone again by another 15 seconds to take the class lead after day one. -

- However our luck was to change on Day 2. On Stage 3 of Friday morning, we broke down hardly 1km into the 3.5km stage. A petrol pump wire had come loose, thus losing 16 minutes in the stage and the lead. Thankfully a spectator managed to assist us and got us going after getting underneath the car and rectifying the situation. We managed to get out of the stage and started our drive out of Pretoria to stage 4. -

- Sadly 20km out of Pretoria our temperature gauge showed that it was running extremely hot. After negotiating the Pretoria traffic and finally getting onto the open road to Witbank, our car expired. After starting so well the previous day this was rather hard to swallow. -

- With all the problems aside, I am glad that my fellow team-mates in the sister Sasol Chico, Nzimande and Fani Fani managed to finish the gruelling Total Rally with a brilliant 2nd place in Class A5. I would also like to thank Uwe Koch for coming all the way from London to partner me in the suicide seat while regular team-mate and navigator, Dave McGregor, was running the Vodacom Power Tour in Port Elizabeth. -

- As they always say, one must fight till the bitter end and we shall continue our struggle to get to the coveted prize for Class A5 in Cape Town on the Toyota Dealers Rally at the end of May. -


Original article from Car