Bridgestone South Africa

Firestone Legendary Drives Fiat Dealer Rally

Mar 14, 2012
Llewellyn Barnard and Joe Smith

Llewellyn Barnard and Joe Smith

Robin Ross and Greg Pridgeon

Robin Ross and Greg Pridgeon

Llewellyn Barnard and Joe Smith (1996 Alfa Romeo 146 TI) surprised the Gauteng regularity rally community with a debut win in the second round of the 2012 Firestone Legendary Drives series, the popular Fiat Dealer Rally, which ended in Pretoria on Sunday.

In a relatively high-scoring event that saw several of the fancied crews lower down the finishing order than usual, Barnard and Smith completed the 250 kilometre event with 69 seconds penalties. Second with a score of 96 were Robin Ross and Greg Pridgeon (BMW 318i) and just two seconds further back were Laurie Steyn and Syd Brett (1977 Jaguar XJ6), who won the season-opening Chicks Rally in February and saw their run of three successive victories come to an end.

The rally, always one of the best-attended on the calendar, attracted a healthy total of 46 competitors together with another 10 who competed in the second round of the Total Blind Navigators Rally Championship.

It started from CMH Fiat in Pretoria and took competitors along the N4 to Cullinan and then north to the Warmbaths area, where the halfway stop was at the Total Petroport on the N1 near Warmbaths. The second half of the route took in areas and new roads not used before in regularity rallying, including the Pyramid area between Hammanskraal and Onderstepoort, with competitors completing several loops before finishing back at CHM Fiat in Pretoria.

Defending champions and husband and wife pairing Schalk and Susan van Niekerk (1998 SAAB 9.3), who won this event last year, were a distant and uncharacteristic fourth with 101 seconds penalties. The father and son combination of Brian and Caelin Askew were fifth in their 1964 Jaguar Mk 11 with 118 penalties.

Making up the top 10 were Bill Dreyer and Stewart MacGregor (1981 Triumph TR7), Richard Grover and Wally Langsford (1970 Ford Escort), Henry and Herman Ploeger (1978 Mercedes-Benz450 SLC), Steve Crook and Pat Whelan (1967 Lotus Elan) and Duncan and Agata MacGregor (2008 Toyota Yaris).

Gerhard Korf and Susan Webber (Toyota Conquest) won the class for blind navigators with a score of 122. Second were Greg Turner and Marlene Swanepoel (Suzuki Swift) with 186 seconds penalties, followed by Patrick Mills and Jessica Grib (Toyota Corolla) with 392 penalties.

More information about the Firestone Legendary Drives Championship and regularity rallying in general can be obtained from the SARRA website http://www.sarra.co.za/.


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