KZN offers Total package
KwaZulu-Natal will be the focus of motorsport action this weekend when the province hosts the Total Rally.
Run over two days - today and tomorrow - the event will cover 753km, over stages through sugar cane fields of the South Coast and a new innovation - a special section around central Durban.
The latter is believed to be a first for rally racing - two cars going head-to-head on tar - that is expected to draw more than 20000 people.
"As far as we know, these special stages are a world first, pitting cars against each other on a course that starts and ends in the same place," said rally spokesman Richard Vaughan.
"We expect about 42 cars to take part in this year's rally, which will have two classes competing - the S1600 and S2000 classes."
Special stages will incorporate roads around the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Kings Park and the Suncoast Casino .
Now in its 54th year, the KZN event is the first on the rally calendar for the year and the Toyota Motorsport team of Leeroy Poulter and Elvene Coetzee will look to take up from where they left off last year, with a win in the final event in Polokwane.
"We are starting the new season with the same spec car that gave us two victories last year," says team principal Glyn Hall.
"We are approaching the limit of the development with the Auris - in Polokwane it was the fastest it has ever been - so it's difficult to find more speed. There's always room for improvement and soon we'll benefit from developments in the engine and suspension departments."
The rally will consist of 16 stages - 14 gravel and two tar - and the all-woman crew of Stefanie Botha and Angela Shields will be aiming to dish it out to their male counterparts in the S1600 category with their RunX vehicles.
The first car will be flagged off at noon today and at 6am tomorrow morning outside the Suncoast Casino.