It will be anything but, when the final round of the 2023 SA National Rally Championship heads to Dullstroom, Mpumalanga for two last blasts in the dust to seal what has been a thrilling series that offered up plenty of twists in the plot along the way.
Even though JJ Potgieter and Tommy du Toit in their Hyundai R4 were crowned champions after winning both rounds of the Bronkhorstspruit event, the war is by no means over with the battle for second and third still raging intensely between Chris Coertse/Greg Godrich in the Rally Technic Mazda 2 and Benjamin Habig/Barry White (Just Tools Volkswagen Polo).
Habig and White have been nothing short of sensational this season, pitting their two-wheel drive NRC2 car against the four-wheel drive NRC1 crews and largely acing it – and the chase for second place overall may well have ended sooner if Habig had not picked up a few issues in earlier rounds.
A huge crash in the Tzaneen event somewhat dented to the chase by Coertse/Godrich, leaving it to the TRACN4 Rally double-header in Dullstroom to become the final arbiter in the points chase.
This is the fourth consecutive year this motorsport event, which boasts a strong local flavour for teams and spectators, is being held in the eMakhazeni region, renowned for its touristic vibe and deep-rooted culture. The 2023 TRACN4 Rally is the final leg of the South African National Rally Championship, which is also the oldest, consecutive championship in South African motorsport.
Aptly themed ‘Going All Out’, and given the current point standings, there is no doubt that this year’s TRACN4 Rally will deliver with 13 action-packed stages, most of which will be held in the forests that envelop Dullstroom.
On Friday, November 17 the rally Service Park will be located at the Lakensvlei Heritge Site and the event will consist of six Special Stages with easy spectator access. Stages 1 & 3 are know as Willem with Stages 2 & 4 – SAFCOL Highway – one to watch as this stage has all the making of a World Rally Championship special.
Stages 5 & 6 will be the TRAC Challenge and this is important as the event goes beyond simply fast cars racing in the forests and the TRACN4 Rally is about uplifting the eMakhazeni community socially and economically, and supporting the Dullstroom Epilepsy Centre, which has been the event’s beneficiary since 2020. The town also benefits from the TRAC E-Learning project and other smaller corporate social investment interventions as part of the bigger eMakhazeni District.
For the Saturday event the Serice Park moves to the Oval in Dullstroom with seven Special Stages to make up the day, kicking off with SAFCOL Highway reversed (also Stage 3), while SS2 & 4 are called Henk and run in the S&N Timbers plantation opposite SAFCOL.
SS5 & 6 are the big ones for the day being Lakenvlei inside the Belfast Plantation with the Grand Final SS7 known as legends taking place behind the cemetary in Dullstroom.
The prize-giving – for the event and for the year – takes place at the Dullstroom Epilepsy Centre, a facilitiy that plays a pivotal role in the lives of those with epilepsy and their families, in the province’s rural areas. All proceeds from this year’s rally will be donated to the organisation, which will again serve as rally headquarters.
Spectators are also in for a treat as they can watch their favourite teams from specially set-up spectator points, the location of which will be communicated on TRAC’s and the NRC’s social media platforms, as well as the much sought-after TRACN4 Rally Programme, which will be out a week before the event.
Published by: William Louw
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