NAD team finishes fourth in weather-hit PE rally

001-off-my-wheelsBrian Joss –

The New Africa Developments rally team continued their recent good form, finishing fourth on the rain-curtailed VW Rally, which ended in Port Elizabeth on Saturday July 18.

This gives them a third place and a fourth on the last two South African National Rally Championship rounds and moves Japie van Niekerk into fifth position in the drivers’ championship. Navigator Gerhard Snyman, who missed the first two events due to business commitments, is seventh on the co-drivers’ log.

Japie Van Niekerk and Gerhard Strydom: staying out of trouble in PE. Picture:  Eric Buijs
Japie Van Niekerk and Gerhard Strydom: staying out of trouble in PE. Picture: Eric Buijs

In increasingly wet and treacherous conditions – which resulted in the final two of 12 stages being cancelled – the duo stayed out of trouble and effectively held down fourth place for the duration of the event, only beaten by a trio of full factory-supported “Works” cars. Finishing behind drivers of the calibre of Leeroy Poulter, Mark Cronje and Giniel de Villiers – arguably the three biggest names in local rallying – is no disgrace and NAD Rally is well-pleased with the result.

“We’re certainly gathering momentum, and I’m very pleased with how we approached this event,” commented property developer Van Niekerk. “It required all our experience and concentration to remain in a strong position throughout and once again we were able to keep the NAD Fiesta ahead of more fancied S2000 rivals.”

The only minor hiccup was when the car shed its alternator belt in stage 10, which in any event turned out to be the last one, with conditions having deteriorated to such an extent that the organisers were forced to put a halt to proceedings.

NAD Rally’s Fiesta will be back in action (about a thorough going-over to dig out all the Eastern Cape mud) for the Cullinan Rally in Gauteng on August 14 and 15.

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