Two in a Row for Van Niekerk

Japie van Niekerk and his navigator Gerhard Snyman won the Total Tara Rally for the second year in a row on Saturday.

Riding a Ford Fiesta S2000, the South African duo finished the rally, which covered 650km over 25 stages in three days in an overall time of two hours 54 minutes 26 seconds.

The rally took place in and around Windhoek and Rehoboth.

Another South African duo of Enzo Kuhn and Christof Snyders, who were also riding a Ford Fiesta 2000 came second overall, nearly three minutes behind in 2:57:20, while the Namibian pair of Wilro Dippenaar and Riaan van der Westhuizen came third in a Toyota Auris in a time of 2:57:51.

It was one of the closest rallies in recent years as the top three rode neck and neck throughout the rally.

If it wasn’t for several mechanical setbacks, Dippenaar could well have won the rally for the second time after his maiden victory in 2011.

On Friday, in Rehoboth, he took a 24-second lead over Van Niekerk by the seventh stage but then hit a tree stump on Stage 8 which took his rear left suspension out as Van Niekerk once again took the lead.

Later on Friday, Dippenaar also had further setbacks at Stages 12 and 13 at Aris and Prosperitas, allowing Van Niekerk to pull away.

Piet Bakkes and Shaun Visser came fourth in a Toyota RunX in a time of 3:11:23. Cecil Koorts and Oscar Schoombee came fifth overall in a Toyota RunX in a time of 3:22:22 while they also won the S2 class.

Jan Everson and Fanie Botes came sixth overall in a VW Polo in a time of 3:31:00 while they won the S1 class.

Only 11 of the 24 starters completed the rally which took place for the 46th year.

Source : The Namibian