Team 431 wins Darling Rally

Ismaeel Davids (Rondebosch) and Yusuf Ganief (Surrey Estate) made their S5 debut in Darling in 2018 but this year they returned as outright favourites for overall victory in their ex-factory ID Paving 431 CCMCC S5 (S2000) Toyota Run X 4x4. It was wet in 2018 and very dry and sandy in 2019, both favouring the 4x4 and as expected they dominated.  

The eight special stages certainly delivered a challenging scenario to the seventeen  teams that actually started from the Darling Golf Club only ten teams would be classified as finishers. Great weather conditions on Saturday related to vast number of spectators enjoying a great spectacle at the easy to reach spectator points.

Ismaeel Davids (Rondebosch) and Yusuf Ganief (Surrey Estate) quickly settled into a rhythm with their completely rebuilt S2000 Toyota and they reached the final Parc Fermé first overall with six outright stage victories.

It was however the debut performance of the 3 cylinder, 1000cc, Turbocharged VW Polo of Paul-Hendrik Franken (Gansbaai) and Warren Köhler that will be the topic of discussion leading into the Overberg Grand Prix 29-30 March 2019, opening round of the South African Rally Championship, as they certainly delivered a stunning result on debut to finish a mighty second overall. Technically this car could be classified in class S2 on regional events and only some debate about the gearbox in use led to it being classified in the same class as the 2.0 20v 4x4 Run X.

On paper it stood no chance, but thanks to almost two years of constant development the little car shocked friend and foe with a stunning performance in an environment that certainly favoured the opposition. Equal fastest time on SS6 just added the cherry on top as the car never missed a beat.

Keenan Sassman (Edgemead) and Randall Marais (Kensington) also lived up to expectations by placing their Barno 413 CCMCC S4 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.8 third overall. Their intercom giving up on the final two repeat stages but one can expect this duo to be very consistent in 2019.

Cobus Edas (Malmesbury) and Kesevan Naidoo (Kuilsrivier) also doing exceptionally well on their return by placing their 464 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6i fourth overall. Riyaan Amlay (Grassy Park) and Ebrahim Mia fifth in their similar Ramlay Builders 433 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6i and Mustapha Mia (Kensington) and Yaseen Amlay (Retreat) sixth in their 456 CCMCC S3Toyota Conquest RSi 1.6i.

Sixteen year old Owen Jones, turns 17 on 17 April 2019, and Michelle Taylor (Plattekloof) brought the Llewellyn Jones 454 CPMCC S4 VW Polo Turbo 2.0 home in a very respectable seventh place overall on debut.

Class winning debutants, Gareth and Gill Vernon, eighth overall in their 459 CPMCC S2 VW Golf MkI 1.4i. The dream could not have had a better start.

Julian Calvert (Goodwood) and Marius Rudolph (Bothasig) drove their customary consistent event to claim 9th overall in the 409 CCMCC S3 VW Golf MkIII GTi 2.0 with Johann and Petra Zulch (Ceres) recovering from a broken accelerator cable on SS1 to  finish 10th overall in the Ceres Toyota 439 WBMK S2 Ford Escort 1600 Sport, just a single second shy of the Golf.

Derick Clift (Paarl) and John Clift (Struisbaai) found themselves stuck before SS1 even started when a blocked fuel line left the 2017 and 2018 S4 championship winning ACW Engineering 418 CPMCC S4 Toyota Hilux 2.0 with no choice but to rejoin under Super Rally rules but as the only team to finish under SR rules they somehow managed to claim SS8 with a time 12 seconds faster than the S2000 Run X (Really).

Warren Köhler (Heathfield) and Dylan Timmes (Muizenberg) retired the 65 CCMCC S2 Toyota Corolla TRD 1.6 with a broken differential housing after just two stages whilst Warren Scholtz and Justin Gay fell foul to a broken gearbox on their 444 CCMCC S3 VW Polo 2.0. Erin Joshua (Retreat) and Terry Croy completed five stages but the 462 CCMCC S3 Totota Tazz 1.6i expired.

Paul Emmanuel (Constantia) and Lloyd Brady called it a day almost on the start of SS1 with a broken driveshaft on the 449 CCMCC S4 VW Polo 2.0. Winston Neethling (Kensington) and Lyle Marais (Kensington) retired the spectacular Howard Centre Motors 428 CCMCC S5 Nissan Sentra 4x4 2.0 with serious overheating problems after a promising start. Trevor Hodges  (Ottery) and Ian Thebus (Edgemead) also falling by the wayside with mechanical gremlins on their 421 CCMCC S4 VW Golf Gti 2.0 16v.

The second Darling Rally lived up to it’s demanding status, but then local teams were thoroughly tested in the dry conditions. Compliments to Clerk of the Course , Michael Taylor, and his team who certainly provided local competitors and spectators with a great event.

Polyplastix, A&A Powder Coaters, CEJ Plant Hire, Imperial Toyota and the Darling Country Club deserve credit for their support of what will continue to be a fixture on the annual Western Cape Rally Championship.

Perfect weather and a perfect start and finish venue makes this an event to remember, even if you did not achieve the result you desired!

Round two of the Western Cape Rally Championship is incorporated in the opening round of the South African Rally Championship on 29/30 March 2019 as the Cape Overberg Grand Prix.