Rautenbach ready for thrilling climax

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Top Zimbabwean motor rally driver Conrad Rautenbach said a thrilling climax to this year’s South African Rally championship is in store as he heads for the season finale inaugural Polokwane Rally from October 22-23.

Rautenbach (Super S2000 Green Fuel Ford Fiesta) who has three wins to his credit, heads for the final race in the South African Rally Championship leading the drivers’ standings with 125 points.

It is a little different in the co-drivers’ championship, where Rautenbach’s French co-driver Nicolas Klinger doesn’t score as he is not competing on a South African licence.

Joint second are Mark Cronjé (Sasol Ford Fiesta), who also has three wins and defending champion Enzo Kuun in a factory BP Volkswagen Polo on 116 points.

With a maximum of 25 points in the offing for the winner in the eighth and final round, any one of three drivers could still be crowned champion.

Rautenbach and his French co-driver Nicolas Klinger are on a roll after the recently won the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally near Cape Town to head into the final race at the top of the standings.

In an interview with NewsDay Sport on Sunday the soft-spoken 26-year-old driver said his preparations were on the right track:

“We have been rebuilding the car in preparation for the rally in Polokwane and at the moment everything has gone on well. It’s definitely going to be a very close contest as there will be a lot at stake, but we are confident of doing well.

“The fact that this is the first time in a long time that the Rally of Polokwane is taking place is also a boost for us as it will level the playing field between us and the South African drivers.

“We will all be using the route for the first time and the fact that it closer to home is also another boost for us as we don’t have to travel a long way,” 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.

The 26-year-old former FIA African Rally champion then missed the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally due to commitments on the FIA African Rally Championship.

He then went through a rough patch after finishing fifth and sixth at the Volkswagen and the Garden Route Rally respectively before coming back with a bang after his victory in Cape Town recently.

Rautenbach will be eager to finish off in style with a victory in Polokwane, which will see him win his maiden South African Rally Championship crown.

The Polokwane Rally will start and finish on each of the two days at the Polokwane Police Club opposite the Peter Mokaba Stadium, which will also serve as rally headquarters and the media centre.