Himmel shines Slamet wins in Tsumeb

The true test of character is not to see how hard or often you fall, but rather how you recover from adversities and there are few sports that challenge motorsport when is comes to unexpected surprises.

The 20th Bank Windhoek Azurite Rally Tsumeb no exception. Richard Slamet and Wiets Coetzee turning their 2015 Total Tara Rally disappointment into celebrations with a deserved victory in the Slamet Racing S3 Toyota Run X 4x4. The I-S Freight Services / CVP Toyota duo did not start well when the drivers window dropped into the door early on Special Stage 1 and the resultant dust storm in the cabin led to the crew wrong slotting for almost a kilometer.

Having handed Allan Martin and Melvin Gous a commanding lead so early in the event was not part of their planning and ironically it was the service crew of their opponents who actually repaired the window between stages. Melvin Gous stepped in as navigator for the 2013 Namibian Rally Drivers Champion, Allan Martin, and the Walvis Bay combination looked comfortable on the more restricted Tsumeb stages, but their progress came to a grinding halt when the J&P Hydraulic S3 VW Polo 4x4 overheated in SS5.

With multiple Namibian Champion, Wilro Dippenaar, and Riaan van der Westhuizen failing to start in their Shell V Power / PZN Panelbeaters S3 Ford Fiesta 4x4 and the J&P Hydraulics VW Polo of Allan Martin and Melvin Gous in trouble they simply had to reach the finish for victory and though that sound relatively simple the pressure was provided from an unexpected source.

Using local knowledge to their maximum Roland Himmel and Juan Erlank proved exceptional in the giant killing S1 (S1600) Toyota Etios R2 1.5i. Boxing way above their weight level the popular Tsumeb duo not only managed second place overall, they also moved to the top of the 2016 Namibian Rally Championship Points Log. Early days yet when taken into account this was only round two but pretty significant when one realises that it has been 13 years since the Himmel name had appeared at the top of the table.

Five times Namibian National Rally Drivers Champion, Richard Himmel, winning the fifth and final title in 2013 with the ex-Serge Damseaux (10x South African Rally Champion) Toyota Conquest 4x4. A car that will now find it’s way into the private Himmel museum where it is to be joined by the ex-Serge Damseaux Toyota Corolla RXi 1600 as well as the Himmel inspired Toyota Etios R2 S1600. All three sons rally with Roland (28) concentrating on the Namibian Championship, Thilo (26) making his debut in the JWRC with a Citroën in 2016 whilst Marko (24) occasionally rallies in the Gauteng Championship when studies allow.

The toughest element of Richard Slamet and Wiets Coetzee winning the 20th Bank Windhoek Azurite Rally the fact that they encountered the traditional Richard “Jagermeister” Himmel celebration during prizegiving.

Brothers, Jannie and George Coetzee, finished on the podium for the first time since acquiring the ex-Hergen Fekken (A7) S2 VW Polo from Oswaldo Mendes and the neatly prepared Compass Walvis Bay Aluminium Glass & Hardware VW Polo something of a surprise challenger to Jan Everson and Fanie Botes in their Seal Consulting Engineers S2 VW Polo who simply did not have an answer to the youngsters pace.

Marco Luis and De Wet du Plessis pushed hard in their S4 (Gp N4) Xenium Racing Subaru Impreza Turbo 4x4 over the final two stages but had to settle for fifth position overall and the satisfaction of winning their class.

Etienne van den Heever and Willy van Wyk enjoyed their second event in the ex-Cecil Koorts TR S2 (Gp N3) Toyota Run X RSi 1.8, finishing a very credible sixth overall after a consistent effort.

Pieter Greef and Steven Robinson, ex-Hanré Myburgh S1 Seal Consulting Engineers Toyota Corolla RXi 1600, enjoyed a rally long dual with Peer Röhm and Eugene Marais in their ex-Richard Slamet S1 Gunite Pools Toyota Auris. The latter combination even shedding some weight on the Auris by attacking a pylon but still found themselves six seconds shy of seventh overall.

Final finishers classified was the newcomer Gobabis based combination of sister and brother, Welmie and ST Kuhn, in their ex-Stefanie Hugo S1 Kuhn Panelbeaters Toyota Run X 1.6.

Bad luck award of the event must go to the father and daughter combination of Willem and Mandi Hugo in their Griffin Transport S4 Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 4x4. The bright green machine running as high as third overall before succumbing to a troublesome ECU just 2km short of finishing the final special stage.

And they could not even leave the car unattended as the local wildlife have never before encountered anything nearly as green, considering it the perfect meal.

Bertie Smith and Dewald Venter posted two stage times before having the differential on their Bertie Smith Contractor Services S4 Mazda Magnum 4x4 cried enough on SS3. With the wheel studs sheared that was the end of the participation for the day. Jaco Redelinghuys and Dries Booysen never got a time on the scoresheet as their S3 Toyota Run X 4x4 chose to destroy the engine whilst Gert Coetzee and Hugo Arangies turned the ex- Jacques Botha S2 Ford Focus ST into a three wheeler when the right front wheel departed 600m before the flying finish of SS1. 

Harald Linger the Clerk of the Course with Bernd Becker the NMSF Steward whilst Rozanne Rossouw took care of both the Scoring and 10month old Theane. Carla Havenga providing the images on the 20th Bank Windhoek Azurite Rally Tsumeb.

Round three set for Gobabis on Saturday 10 September 2016.