Gemmell holds 3-sec lead

After 12 special stages of the Sasol Rally, which restarted in Nelspruit on Saturday morning, and only one 21-kilometre gravel stage remaining before the 500 metre dash at the ceremonial finish, Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan (Castrol Toyota Auris) were still in the lead by a slender 3.4 seconds after 170 kilometres of special stage rallying since Friday morning over Mark Cronjé and Robin Houghton (Sasol Ford Fiesta).

On special stage 12, which Gemmell started only 0.8 second ahead of the Sasol Ford pair, he pulled out all the stops to increase his lead to 3.4 seconds.

Hans Weijs Jnr and Bjorn Degandt (BP Volkswagen Polo), who fell off the furious pace of the leaders, were well over a minute in arrears followed by Habig/Paisley (Basil Read Ford Fiesta) +1 min 54.4 seconds, and Williams/Vrey +3 min 02.3 seconds.

Gugu Zulu and Charl Peskin (BP Volkswagen Polo), in only their second S2000 rally, were sixth overall and first in the S2000 Challenge Class and 11.3 seconds clear of Jean Pierre Damseaux / Grant Martin (Total Toyota Auris) and multiple former national champion Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries (BP Volkswagen Polo).

More drama in the S1600 class saw leaders Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle (S1600 Yato Toyota RunX), drop out with mechanical problems, handing the lead back to Ashley Haigh-Smith/Craig Parry (Castrol Ford Fiesta) who had dominated the class since Friday until losing six minutes with a puncture in special stage nine.