THE Volkswagen Rally starts today at the Auto Pavilion in Uitenhage, with the cars departing after the ceremonial start at noon.
Before this, the vehicles will be held in parc fermé at the Auto Pavilion parking lot.
Fans can mingle with the teams, view the cars up-close and take photos with their favourite rally competitors.
“It has been a bit trickier to get everything done this year,” route organiser Joe Fourie said.
“We’ve been ambitious in our planning and have two stages in Jeffreys Bay, a Longmore Forest stage and a redesigned Kings Beach stage for rally fans to look forward to.”
The Algoa Rally Association organises the annual event, which is sponsored by Volkswagen.
This relationship has ensured the successful running of the contest, with this year marking 31 years of rally action.
“Keeping the rally as close [as possible] to the people of the Eastern Cape is a primary goal every year,” Fourie said.
“Stage planning and routes all factor in that one important aspect so we can have as many motorsport enthusiasts supporting the rally as possible.”
The first stage takes place just around the corner at VW’s own vehicle test track, close to the new People Pavilion complex.
It starts at 12.15pm with the rally field heading out to Longmore Forest for stages two to five.
Stage six is at Fountains Mall in Jeffreys Bay at 4.54pm, and today’s final stage will be in the centre of the town at 7pm.
“Anyone not able to get out to Longmore Forest today will have three chances to see the rally cars,” Fourie said.
“The first in Uitenhage and, again, at the final two stages in Jeffreys Bay.
“Tomorrow the Kings Beach finale will be very exciting.
“While a short tar stage, we’ve designed it to be a dramatic finish to the Volkswagen Rally and it will be quite a challenge for the competitors.”
Fourie revealed that Longmore Forest had been laid out for spectators to make tomorrow’s trip to view the gravel stages as rewarding as possible.
“Five stages in Longmore Forest, all in relatively close proximity to one another, will keep fans entertained,” he said.
“There is minimal driving required between the various spectator points, but we urge caution on the gravel roads, and fans should be going to see the action, not to be the action of the event.”