What TRAC SA National Rally Preview
Where Dullstroom, Mpumalanga
When 17-18 November 2023
Community South Africa National
It’s all to play for at the SA National Rally Finale
It will be anything but dull when the final round of the 2023 SA National Rally Championship racing on MRF Tyres heads to the TRACN4 Rally in the Dullstroom, Mpumalanga highlands over the weekend of 17 and 18 November. The title may be decided, but that will not prevent the two last blasts in the dust from sealing what has been nothing less than a thrilling season with more than its fair share of twists in the plot along the way.
Even though the dominant JJ Potgieter and Tommy du Toit and their Hyundai R4 are already crowned 2024 South African Rally Champions after once again winning both rounds last time out at Bronkhorstspruit, the war is by no means over. The battle for second and third rages intensely on between Chris Coertse and Greg Godrich in their Rally Technic Mazda2, and NRC 2 leaders, Benjamin Habig and Barry White’s Just Tools Volkswagen Polo R2.
Habig and White have been nothing short of sensational through the season, as they pitted their front-wheel drive NRC2 car against the all-wheel drive NRC1 crews and largely acing it. The chase for second place overall may well have ended sooner, had Habig and White not picked more than their fair share of issues along the way in the earlier rounds.
Habig and White were not alone in their troubles. A Tzaneen crash dented Coertse and Godrich’s hopes to set the TRACN4 Dullstroom double-header up as a thrilling final arbiter in the points chase. All three crews will however also come under pressure from rivals crews who still have a point to prove, since their title charges came to an end.
Among them, Jono van Wyk and Nico Swartz, and Mandla Mdakane and Kes Naidoo’s Gazoo Toyota Starlets will want to end the season with a win. As do Subaru crews, Johan Strauss and Caro Storm, and Paul van Niekerk and Willemjan Human. Gustav Potgieter and Carolyn Swan, and Magriet Potgieter and Rikus Fourie’s Ford Fiestas and George Smalberger and Robbie Coetzee’s Polo are also among those keen to depose of Habig and White in NRC 2.
The fourth consecutive TRACN4 Rally, this 2023 event boasts a strong local flavour for crews and spectators alike. Held in the eMakhazeni region famous for its touristic vibe and deep-rooted culture, it is also the final leg of the National Rally Championship. Which happens to be the oldest consecutive championship in South African motorsport.
Aptly themed ‘Going All Out’, this year’s TRACN4 Rally will deliver thirteen action-packed special stages over its two days. Most of them will run in the forests that envelop Dullstroom. Friday 17 November comprises six stages conveniently accessible from the Lakensvlei Heritage Site service park. Stages 1 and 3 are called Willem, while the SAFCOL Highway Stages 3 and 4 have all the makings of a World Rally Championship special.
The TRAC Challenge Stages 5 and 6 go beyond fast cars racing in the forests by supporting event beneficiary, the Dullstroom Epilepsy Centre since 2020. Dullstroom also benefits from the TRAC E-Learning project and other corporate social investment interventions as part of the bigger eMakhazeni District.
Saturday’s service park moves to the Oval in Dullstroom. Seven stages kick off with SAFCOL Highway reversed, which also hosts stage 3. Stages 2 and 4, Henk runs in the S&N Timbers plantation opposite SAFCOL. The big ones, stages 5 and 6 Lakenvlei are in the Belfast Plantation. Grand final Legends Stage 7 goes down behind the Dullstroom cemetery.
Pick a TRACN4 Rally Program up at the service park, or follow their, or the NRC’s social media for special spectator point info. The TRACN4 Rally South African Rally Championship powerd by MRF Tyres prizegiving will be at the Dullstroom Epilepsy Centre. All proceeds from the rally will be donated to the Centre, which plays a pivotal role in the lives of people with epilepsy and their families in rural Mpumalanga.
Issued on behalf of SA Rally Championship
Photography by: Colin Windell
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