Rautenbach revs off in Cape rally

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Top Zimbabwean motor rally driver Conrad Rautenbach is upbeat about his chances of winning
the Toyota Dealer Cape Rally, which revs off in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The Toyota Dealer Cape Rally, which second-placed Rautenbach won last year in his debut season in South Africa, is the penultimate round of the eight-legged championship series.

According to reports from South Africa the rally will start at 1300hrs tomorrow with two gravel stages including a challenging 38km section at the McCarthy Toyota Tableview, before returning to Cape Town’s Killarney racetrack for two tarmac stages.

Rautenbach, who will be navigated by Frenchman Nicolas Klinger in G-Fuel Ford Fiesta RS, will be out to end a string of disappointing results in the South African Rally Championship.

“We have to win both of the remaining rallies to stand a chance of winning the Championship”, said Conrad. “Our only option is to go for it, I can’t take the easy option.

“We’ll be going out there to win, but so will at least half a dozen of the other guys,” said Rautenbach
Rautenbach got his campaign to a flying start with three consecutive podium finishes including wins at the Total Tour Natal Rally and the Hencom Autobody Rally and a third-place finish at the Sasol Rally.

However, since then the 26-year-old former FIA African Rally champion has found the going tough.
He missed the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally due to commitments on the FIA African Rally Championship and in his last two outings he was fifth at the Volkswagen Rally and six at the Garden Route Rally.

He has been toppled by Sasol Ford Fiesta pair of South Africans Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton who now need just one more win to wrap up the title.

“Mark has been strong over the last few rallies and he will be our biggest threat in the Cape, while Johnny Gemmell is consistently quick.

“The Volkswagen guys have dropped off the pace a bit, but Enzo Kuun has been very constant throughout the year, even though he doesn’t have the quickest car. It’s going to be a hard fight, but we’re up for it. I’m not thinking about the championship, but rather taking this event as just another rally to go out and try our best to win it.”

According to reports from South Africa, four teams remain in the running for the SA Rally Championship which should produce spectacle of the very highest shelf.

Cronje and Houghton (Sasol Ford Fiesta) will start as outright favourites after winning the last three encounters.

Top challengers Johnny Gemmell/Drew Sturrock (Castrol Toyota Auris) and Rautenbach/ Klinger (Green Fuel Ford Fiesta) would need to win both remaining rallies to fight for the title.

The last of the title-chasing quartet are defending champions Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson (BP Ultimate Volkswagen Polo Vivo).