The cool Swakopmund ocean air provided a welcome relief for the inland rally teams, who along with their coastal rivals participated in the action-packed Swakopmund Shell V-Power Rally held on Saturday, which saw Jaco Redenlinghuis and navigator Dries Booysen storm into first place driving a Toyota Yaris in a time of 1:07:12.
The event was hosted by the Walvis Bay Motor Club, and formed the second round of the 2019 Namibian Rally Championships. This year also witnessed the national rally championship status being reinstated - under the auspices of the NMSF (Namibian Motorsport Federation), which held its last national event two years ago.
Despite the rally scene only offering club events during this slump, the spirit has been revived and despite the economic crunch is gaining traction again. The teams were all fired up to chase title points early in the season, after the first early year ice-breaker held in Gobabis.
A line-up of an impressive 16 vehicles made it to the start, with some world-class rally cars in the mix taking on the championship race, of which seven cars finished. The line-up also comprised of the “bakkie brigade” - six Off-Road machines such as LandRover, Toyota Hilux, a Ford Courier and Pajero.
The official start and end of the one-day rally was held at the Shell Ocean-View service station positioned on the Henties Bay Road, where the vehicles were on display for inquisitive spectators, before heading off.
The rally route which was described as “fast and furious” comprised a total 200 kilometres of challenging desert and gravel terrain in and around Swakopmund outskirts, further testing the team’s driving and navigating skills through the 120 kilometres of special stages.
Competition amongst the front runners was fierce, with only 19 seconds separating the winner from the second car place, which was driven by Walvis Bay’s Allan Martin and his lady navigator from Windhoek, Maretha Olivier, in their lime green and white VWPolo Vivo.
A tight race was also on for the third podium place which was snatched by Tinus Malan and Paul Van Niekerk driving a Toyota-Run-X which finished in a time of 1:25:04 - over a minute ahead of the fourth car driven by Johan Bergh and Herman Robberts in their Toyota Corolla.
Fifth spot was clinched by Ettienne Van Heerden and Willy van Wyk, driving a Toyota Auris, whilst Wilro Dippenaar and Riaan van der Westerhuizen who have their eye on the title this year, and finished in sixth place under the ‘Super Rally’ category, also driving a potent Toyota Auris.
The organisers hailed the event as a resounding success, also made possible through support of the various sponsors who have made it possible to continue the national rally season once again. The next event will be held in Tsumeb.
New Era Reporter
2019-03-28 09:19:01 6 months ago