After the first special stage of Rally South Africa, a nine kilometre gravel stage near Inanda Dam in the Valley of 1000 Hills Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Sasol Ford Fiesta) opened their account with the fastest time of 6 minutes 36 seconds, 6 seconds quicker than Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee (Castrol Team Toyota Auris) and 9.09 seconds quicker than third placed Johnny Gemmell/Carolyn Swan (Castrol Team Toyota Auris). Fourth was the BP Volkswagen Polo of Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson with Jon Williams/Cobus Vrey (Sasol Ford Fiesta) filling fifth place.
Hergen Fekken/Pierre Arries (BP Volkswagen Polo) failed to start the stage after encountering electrical problems en route to the stage.
Special Stage two, which had already been shortened due to heavy rains, was cancelled for safety reasons. At 38 kilometres it was the longest stage of the event which has left the organisers with a bit of a challenge to meet the minimum distance for a national championship event.
Team tactics are being revised with some of the crews having adopted a cautious approach to the first stage and failing to have the opportunity to take advantage of the longer second stage.
With only one gravel stage remaining for the day there is not much opportunity for making up time before the final tar stage in Durban this afternoon. Tomorrows four gravel stages take on greater significance in the outcome of this World Rally Championship candidate event.
To View 2012 Rally Sa Overall in progress Stage1 .pdf Click here.