Local rally competitors, Louis Menge who is a navigator for a Pretoria based driver Anton Raaths and rally driver Pieter Pilusa in his Class D Nissan Sentra are rearing to compete again. Photo: Roelof de Jonge

Good news for petrolheads is that Motorsport South Africa (MSA) announced on Thursday the 16th of July that it has received full permission to resume all MSA-sanctioned motorsport events.

Local rally driver Pieter Pilusa and navigator Louis Menge who navigates for the Pretoria based driver Anton Raaths, are eager to get race again in the Northern Regions Rally Championship.

Pilusa said his Nissan Sentra is tuned and ready to drive.

“I am ready to race, but I surely became a bit rusted because of the lack of competing. I have since took the Sentra for a 150km test drive, did some fine tuning, but it is not the same as to race in rally events.”

Menge said he cannot wait to get into the hot seat or rather navigator seat. The 2019/20 Class D African Regional Rally Organisation (ARRO) navigator champion said that he usually gets to exercise his navigational skills in the first stage of a rally.

Louis Menge and driver Anton Raaths in their Class D VW Golf kicking up dust on one of the ARRO rally stages.

“I don’t actually practice, after the first stage I start to get more comfortable which means I can direct the route quicker which means we can drive faster through the stages. But it takes a special bond between driver and navigator to become successful. The driver really needs to trust the navigator.”

Any hopes of kicking up dust in the nearby future for Tzaneen’s rally contenders was dashed and it seems more likely that the rally season will only come into effect in 2021. This means the Tzaneen Rally that was meant to be held on the 24th and 25th of July will not take place this weekend.

Pieter Piusa and navigator Brendan Ferns from Tzaneen during last year’s Tzaneen Rally.

This was after the committee of the WOMZA National Rally Championship (WNRC) has already considered by the 2nd of July to terminate all possible future events with immediate effect up until such time that the pandemic is under control and the risk level has stabilized.

Due to the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus environment, MSA reserves the right to make revisions to the prevailing protocols at short notice should the Covid-19 circumstances change.
Event organisers who wish to run an MSA affiliated event are requested to engage with their relevant MSA Sport Coordinator.

Although suitable arrangements must be made with the relevant event organisers to ensure that events can be run in a safe and responsible manner amidst the Covid-19 environment.

The permission from Minister Nathi Mthethwa and the Department of Sport and Recreation follows a formal submission by MSA regarding the safe resumption of MSA-sanctioned motorsport events.

The permission from government regarding other motorsport events incorporates several conditions prescribed by the department. These include a restriction on spectators, the presence of a Covid-19 compliance officer at events, strict cleaning protocols, compulsory wearing of face masks at all times and temperature screening of all attendees at motorsport events.

The WNRC has with great excitement announced a new formula that should hopefully debut in September or even earlier, depending on the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The WRNC have taken the current situation into consideration and the implications this pandemic will have on the economy. Rallying will become extremely difficult for the salary earning competitor which in turn might make rallying not viable after the lockdown due to financial constraints.

This new super exciting action-packed affordable formula might just make it possible for many to still compete despite full rally budget constraints.

The Pro’s:
Driver only formula
Stadium based centralised racing
20kms of racing for the day
Fully graded roads which will ensure low maintenance costs
All entry money is Prize money guaranteed

The 2020 WNRC AutoCross Series will comprise of 3 Rounds, two on gravel at the Secunda Super Dome and one tar event at The Rock Raceway.

This formula will require as much committed cornering speed and consistency to get to the Grand Final where good prize money will be up for grabs on each event.

The rally teams need to outperform each other in the four Qualifiers, although the winners still need to be consistent enough throughout to ensure that the aggregated stage time after the four Qualifiers is good enough to allow for progress to the Semi Finals as there are only four spots available.

This formula will be stadium based which in turn will offer awesome spectating with the entire track visible at all time. The WNRC reckons this will be great fun for the whole family.



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