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2013 Season



You can’t beat seat-time to gain experience in rallying so Nic Van Der Westhuizen and Stefan Cilliers re-claimed the SA Earthworks Ford Fiesta R2 for round one of the Northern Regions Rally Championship held at Bapsfontein on Saturday.


Van Der Westhuizen and Cilliers finished 2nd overall and second in class S3, a minute behind the rally winners, Tjaart /Mari van der Walt.  The pair suffered a tyre coming off the rim in the SuperSpecial 4th stage and elected to retire from the stage and incur a penalty, which brought 3rd placed Jaco Baker perilously close to taking their overall position.

A sterling performance in stage 5 saw Van der Westhuizen comfortably beating the Baker brothers to pull back a safe gap.  The final stage was cancelled, allowing the young S2000 Challenge class rally driver to reflect on his day’s outing.


"The Fiesta is a great little car but feels so slow coming from the Toyota Auris I used in Kwa Zulu Natal last week", said Van Der Westhuizen.  "After not finishing the first National Rally, this has helped with my confidence before the Sasol Rally next month".


Team owner Danie Van Der Westhuizen stepped into his class S1 SA Earthworks Toyota yaris and promptly won the class - with a stand-in navigator.  Wife Debby, who navigates for Van der Westhuizen Senior was unavailable and was helped out on the day by Dean Stokes, father of Andrew, who prepares the car.  They set the fastest class time in four of the five stages run.


Team Manager Rod Hering was impressed with his young driver’s performance: "Nic drove really well today which bodes well for the Sasol Rally next month.  He was convincing all day and is starting to show what he can do behind the wheel.  With a little more coaching, he will be a regular front-runner".


The next outing for the SA Earthworks Rally Team is the SCC East Rand regional Rally on 6th April, followed by the Sasol Rally on 19th and 20th April.


The SA Earthworks Team acknowledges their associate sponsors Construction Tyres High Power Equipment and Nguni Voyager (www.ngunivoyager.co.za)


Issued on behalf of the SA Earthworks Rally Team by Race Prep Motorsport Solutions





Looking back on "The Total"


The Total Rally, the opening round of the National Rally Championship may not have ended the way the SA Earthworks Team would have liked but the signs are encouraging that the new team of Nic van der Westhuizen and co-driver Stefan Cilliers have the ability to go head-to-head for the Super 2000 Challenge championship.


After a day of drama on the South Coast that saw several top factory drivers caught out in the tricky conditions run in sweltering heat, Van Der Westhuizen and Cilliers ended their first day 4th in class and 10th overall after a trouble-free day, covering 48½ km of hot action over 5 stages after the organizers were forced to cancel two speed tests.


The SA Earthworks pair was locked in a fierce battle with rivals Morne Janse Van Rensburg in a Volkswagen Polo that spilled over into the cooler day two.  Van Der Westhuizen had an overnight lead of just over two minutes at the end of the duel.


The opening stage on Saturday was cancelled after another incident so the teams headed to "Montevideo" for the resumption of their showdown.


Van Der Westhuizen took a wrong turn and got lost in the tall sugar cane plantations, narrowly avoiding an accident in the process.  Their lead was reduced to just 6 seconds after their "moment".  Determined to defend, Van Der Westhuizen gave it his all in stage 10 but over cooked a corner and rolled his Toyota Auris gently in the canefield.


Danie and Debby Van Der Westhuizen, owners of SA Earthworks made their national debut in a Class 1600 (front-wheel drive) Ford Fiesta R2.  After steadying their nerves, the pair completed their rally in 20th place, earning a championship point for their consistency.


From the cockpit:


Nic Van Der Westhuizen said:  "Our objective was to bring the car home and day one ended according to our plan.  I had some handling issues but it was a good day.  I probably overdrove trying to keep Morne at bay and went wide into a corner.


A rear tyre went into the ditch and for 3 seconds, the car was deciding which way to fall.  Unfortunately it went over onto the roof.  Damage is light – really cosmetic, but our rally was over.


My first experience of Super 2000 is amazing.  I love the car and the grip is has.  I can't wait to get back out there".


Team Manager Rod Hering said: "We had a de-brief after the rally.  The shortcomings of a new driver/co-driver crew were very apparent.  Nic has competed for two years and needs an experienced navigator to help him pace the event.    Stefan has only done a few rallies so we will put a programme of events together for him to gain more experience as part of an intensive training programme.


The team will be back in action on the Sasol Rally in Mpumulanga from 19th to 20th April.


The SA Earthworks Team acknowledges their associate sponsors Construction Tyres High Power Equipment and Nguni Voyager (www.ngunivoyager.co.za)