Port Elizabeth – There is one month to the start of the annual Volkswagen Rally on Friday and Saturday, 11 and 12 July. Round four of the national rally championship – and the traditional mid-point of the season – will see South Africa’s best rally talent tackling one of the most popular events on the national rally calendar, aiming for a new finish line at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“There are some changes to the layout of the rally this year,” says route organiser Joe Fourie. “The Volkswagen Rally will start on a brand new stage on Friday and end on a new stage on Saturday afternoon – there is also a Super Special stage complete with bridge and crossover to make things even more exciting.”
The traditional start at Auto Pavilion in Uitenhage, right at Volkswagen South Africa’s main gate, remains the best place to meet the teams, take photos and get autographs before the midday start on Friday. It is from this point that the Volkswagen Rally will head to stage one opposite the Uitenhage hospital on Mission Road.
“Stage one is 16km of loose surface gravel rallying and there are three very good spectator points,” says Fourie. “This stage will be run twice during the Volkswagen Rally, providing variety and excellent spectating before the field heads out to the Longmore Forest.”
The final two stages of day one on the Volkswagen Rally sees the field leave the gravel behind and head for Jeffreys Bay where two stages take place – at Fountains Mall and in the city centre. These stages are targeted specifically at spectators, bringing the action right into town.
“This year Gabriel Jewellers are again offering a pair of Tissot watches, valued at a combined R11 000, for the Fountains Mall stage winners,” says Fourie.
After an overnight stop at Port Elizabeth Oval Track Raceway, the Volkswagen Rally field will complete two stages in this area before heading out to Longmore for the second day of gravel action in the forest.
The big finish for the Volkswagen Rally this year takes place at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium where the final stage will be run in the access roads within the stadium area.
Access to the stadium stages for spectators will be from the Fettes Road area.
After this stage the podium and prizegiving will take place at the same venue, continuing the Volkswagen Rally tradition of making the rally as accessible as possible to motorsport fans, whether they can follow the rally throughout the weekend, or can just make a few stages close by.
A rally guide and further Volkswagen Rally information will be made available in the coming weeks.