Slowly but surely everything is going back to normal. Sports may resume and one of the most exciting sports’ first event will be taking place in Secunda to kick off this year’s National Rally Championships (NRC)! Local driver, AC Potgieter will be back on the track and cannot wait for the 3… 2… 1… GO!
The last time The Bulletin reported on AC, AC had just won his appeal after being accused of allegedly having a hole where the number plate has to be.
An excerpt from the previous article:
“The alleged complaint is regarding the new test model 1 litre Volkswagen he was driving this year. The complaint is allegedly regarding a hole, where the number plate is normally mounted, in the bumper. AC said that they will not go down without a fight and has lodged a dispute at Motorsport South Africa to contest these allegations.
The appeal (Appeal 445) has now been conducted and the results are positive for AC and Nico. Here are some excerpts from the findings:
“In the appeal of ANTHONIE POTGIETER – APPELLANT relating to his protest against the findings of the Stewards of the 2019 TRANC4 National Rally Championship event held at Bronkhorstspruit on 28th September 2019.
MSA granted leave to appeal to competitor AC Potgieter (competitor # 2) against the decision taken by the Stewards at a protest hearing held on 28th September 2019 during Round 6 of the 2019 National Rally Championship held at Bronkhorstspruit”
All parties involved were given the opportunity to present their arguments relevant to the appeal document provided to the court.
- According to the Technical Delegate (Mr Language), it was ruled that the modification of the bumper was non-compliant as it contravened the homologation of the car and constituted a performance enhancement.
- A set of homologation documents was supplied to the Technical Delegate, who confirmed he had these documents in his possession at the event. He stated that, although the issue in dispute (front bumper modified air inlet) was stated on the document, there was no photo (photo no 19) to go with the statement and therefore he found it to be non-compliant.
a. Homologation documents with no A-143/12 Extension no 25/20 VR2N dated 24/09/19 were presented to the court as evidence. A reference on the right-hand bottom corner of the document indicated – VW POLO RS2 A143_ 12 25_ 20 VR2N 24.09.19 2. This document had been sent prior to the event. b. The court also had in its possession homologation documents with reference no A143/12, Extension no 25/20 VR2N dated 29/03/2019 and dated 11/10/19, in which the item for the Front Bumper Modified Air Inlet was not reflected. On the right-hand bottom corner of the document indicated – VW POLO RS2 A143 12 25_ 20 VR2N 24.09.19 _3. This document had been sent post the event. “
It is clear to the court that this vehicle is busy being homologated during the 2019 year and, as can be seen from the homologation documents, this process is ongoing and the homologation document is being changed as technical changes and parts are being added or removed.
The findings of the Stewards, whereby the # 2 car driven by competitor AC Potgieter was excluded from the results of the event, are set aside in their entirety and the # 2 car is to be reinstated in the event results.”
READ ALSO: AC reinstated after positive appeal
Now, with the first NRC rally to take place in Secunda, AC spoke to The Bulletin and told The Bulletin that he cannot wait to get back behind the wheel.
During the lockdown, AC’s test model 1 litre Volkswagen was maintained. For anyone who knows about cars, these cars have to be kept maintained even when the car is not being driven, sponsors must be sought and everything has to be kept in tip top shape.
“The car is ready to go! We have sorted out every snag that we encountered last year. With the test drive we did everything went smoothly,” AC said enthusiastically.
With the first rally being hosted in Secunda, AC has a hometown advantage.
“There are various stages in each rally. You have a certain time to complete each stage. If you have a flat or something happens to your car, you still only have, for example, 10 minutes to complete the stage. If you do not complete the stage in time, you will receive penalties. You have an open section and a special stage. An open section means that we have to follow the road rules like any other driver,” AC explained excitedly.
The rallies will take place on these dates:
11 – 12 September, Secunda (NRC and NR Round 1 and 2)
This rally will be seen as two rallies.
The reason for this is that in order to have a national championship for the year, there must be five rallies. The organisers of the events went to a great deal to make this happen.
17 October, Venue TBA (NRC and NR Round 3)
27 – 28 November, Trac N4 Rally, Dullstroom (NRC and NR Round 4 and 5)
Format for Events and Championship
For the two “Double Round” events, the following will apply:
Each Day / Round will consist of +/- 80 to 100 stage kilometres.
Each Day / Round will be scored separately.
Stages used on Day 1 will not be repeated on Day 2.
All five Rounds will count towards the NRC (no dropped points).
For the Northern Regions Championship only the best four results will count.
Rally specific Covid-19 Prevention Measures will be published in the Event Regulations.
Preparations have already started for the Secunda NRC rally. The routes have been laid out and the stages being prepared.
Motorsport South Africa (MSA) also released the following guidelines and regulations that must be followed at the rallies by the organisers. Here are some of the COVID-19 regulations:
- Appoint a COVID-19 Compliance Officer, who shall complete the specified MSA COVID-19 checklist document and submit same to MSA by the Tuesday following the event.
- It is the responsibility of the COVID-19 Compliance Officer to ensure ongoing compliance with these protocols throughout the event. If, at any stage during the event, these protocols are not adhered to, the COVID-19 Compliance Officer must advise the appointed Stewards, who will promptly instruct the Clerk of the Course to cease competition until such time as the breach has been rectified.
- Ensure that temperature-screening is conducted on all persons entering the venue and maintain a complete register of event attendees and their contact details for contact tracing purposes should this prove necessary. This register, preferably in electronic format, must be submitted to MSA.
- Any person with a recorded temperature of 37.5 degrees or higher will be denied access to the event and will be advised to return home, self-isolate and contact the government’s coronavirus hotline – 0800 029 999 – for further instructions, which may include being referred for COVID-19 testing.
- Ensure daily appropriate sanitisation of the venues they make use of for their events, before, during and after the event.
- Suitable confirmation in this regard shall be required by MSA prior to an event permit being issued.
Put in place practical measures to enforce social distancing requirements, including the provision of signage and the creation of barriers and/or markings that restrict the number of people in any given area.
- The Stewards at each event are not authorised to approve the start of the competition until they have received the signed and satisfactorily completed checklist from the COVID-19 Compliance Officer.
- Under no circumstances shall anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (such as fever, respiratory symptoms, shortness of breath, sore throat, cough, fatigue or lack of sense of smell) or who has tested positive for COVID-19, be admitted to a motorsport event.
- Under no circumstances shall anyone attend a motorsport event if they have been:
- diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 14 days: or
- been in contact with a known COVID-19 positive case in the previous 14 days.
- No spectators may be granted access to events.
- Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people in all places at an event:
- Social distancing requirements to be adhered to by all event attendees.
- 1.5 m minimum distance to be maintained between people.
- Masks are to be worn at all times by all event attendees (except competitors when wearing full face crash helmets or a properly fitted fire-resistant balaclava (which must cover the mouth and nose at all times) with an open face helmet where these are permitted).
READ ALSO: 2020 SA | National Rally Championship
- All persons present at motorsport events shall ensure that they have access to alcohol-based hand sanitisers in order to promote hand cleanliness in the absence of soap and water. Event organisers are also required to make a supply of hand sanitisers available for general use in suitable locations. All hand sanitisers must contain a minimum of 70% alcohol.
- No alcohol may be distributed or consumed at motorsport events.
- COVID-19 specific signage must be clearly displayed as and where appropriate to remind the people present to wear masks, clean their hands and practice social distancing.
“The masks would not be an issue as we always wear are fireproof balaclavas when driving.”
AC and Nico Swartz will be driving together again and both men are rearing to go.
“It is like second nature getting back behind the wheel. Yes, we are a bit rusty but nothing can compare to that adrenaline that kicks in when you are at the starting point!”
Even though no spectator would be allowed to enjoy the rally, Secunda will be rooting for AC and Nico from home!