Team Gianca excited ahead of Sasol rally

The Gianca rally team led by Davite Giancarlo and his navigator Slyvia Vindevogel is excited going into the first stage of the Sasol Rally this Friday.
Davite Giancarlo and his navigator Slyvia Vindevogel celebrating after winning a past local rally. The New Times / File.
Davite Giancarlo and his navigator Slyvia Vindevogel celebrating after winning a past local rally. The New Times / File.

The Gianca rally team led by Davite Giancarlo and his navigator Slyvia Vindevogel is excited going into the first stage of the Sasol Rally this Friday.

The Sasol Rally, round two of the South African and FIA African Rally Championships, takes on a distinctly international flavour as 44 entries from South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Rwanda and the United Kingdom prepare to tackle 15 timed special stages in and around the Mpumalanga Lowveld towns of Sabie, Graskop, White River and Nelspruit this weekend.

Davite and Vindevogel in an N4 Mitsubishi Evo 10 are contesting against big names including reigning African championship Mohamed Essa of Zambia, Greg Stead of Zimbabwe in a Class N4 Subaru Impreza WRX and Jassy Singh and Dave Sihoka of Zambia in an N4 Subaru Impreza WRX among others.

Singh is the son of former ARC champion Muna Singh.

Former national champion Christakis Fitidis, who will be driving on a Ugandan licence, is the other familiar name to Rwandan motorsport followers. He will be navigated by Eric Maxime Nzamwita.

Vindevogel said yesterday, “Sasol rally stages are clean, fast and twisty with few rocks here and there. We are starting the rally tomorrow [today] at 10.00am and we are ready for the challenge.”

The pair goes into the Sasol rally, a month after missing out on the Rally de Bandama title in Cote d’Ivoire.

Before the end of the last stage, Giancarlo was easily leading the return of the famous Rallye Bandama when the engine stopped with just a kilometer left.

Battle of machines

Heading the South African entry and the teams competing in the top S2000 class for two-litre, four-wheel drive cars are current championship leaders and defending 2012 champions Mark Cronjé and Robin Houghton in a Ford Dealer Team Fiesta.

They are looking for their second win in a row after taking the honours in the Total Rally in KwaZulu-Natal in March. They also won last year’s Sasol Rally.

Their main competition will come from multiple former champions Jan Habig and Robert Paisley. Habig has won the Sasol Rally six times, but not since 2006.

He and Paisley are second in the championship, four points behind the leaders after a fine second place in the Total Rally, and they will be keen to go one better in Mpumalanga.

The 22nd Sasol Rally, which will be held over a distance of some 600 kilometres including 210 kilometres of timed special stages, starts in the Sabie market square today and ends at the Lowveld Showgrounds in Nelspruit on Sunday.

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