Reigning SA Rally Champions Serge Damseaux and Robert Paisley in the Class S2000 Castrol Toyota RunX RSi are the overnight leaders on the Total Rally South Africa. The championship winning pair controlled the event from the moment they tackled the nine dirt Special Stages today and have a 1m 21s lead over Ettienne Lourens and Andre Vermeulen in the Class S2000 Total Toyota RunX RSi.

“I wasn’t too happy with the tarmac Special Stages at Zwartkops on Thursday and couldn’t wait to tackle today’s nine dirt Special Stages between Bethal and Badplaas,” said Damseaux. “It was vitally important to gain the lead so that we didn’t have to drive in someone’s dust and I’m pleased we achieved our objective early into the event.”

Volkswagen pair Jannie Habig and Douglas Judd trail the leaders by 2m 37s with Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries (Volkswagen Golf) fourth overall and first in Class A7. Fekken and Arries are 3m 15s behind Damseaux and Paisley.

Zimbabweans Conrad Rautenbach and Peter Marsh are fifth overall and lead Class N4 in their Subaru Impreza WRX STi with Charl Wilken and Robin Houghton sixth in the Castrol Toyota RunX RSi and Japie van Niekerk and Greg Godrich seventh in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8.

“The route was extremely technical and dust was a major problem,” said Wilken’s co-driver Robin Houghton. “One couldn’t afford to make a single mistake on any of the dirt Special Stages because it would lead to instant retirement.”

Visser du Plessis and Thilo von Westernhagen are eighth in the Subaru Impreza WRX STi and are followed by Richard Himmel and Adolf Botes in yet another Subaru Impreza WRX STi with Cliff Blackman and Johan Klaasen tenth overall and the Class S20 leaders in the BMW 320i.

The Class leaders after 11 Special Stages are:

Class S2000 / 1st Overall Serge Damseaux / Robert Paisley (Castrol Toyota RunX RSi)

Class A7 / 4th Overall Hergen Fekken / Pierre Arries (VW Golf)

Class A6 / 15th Overall Craig Trott / John Costa (Total Toyota Corolla RSi)

Class A5 / 21st Overall Michael Houghton / Bryn Doherty (Toyota Tazz)

Class N4 / 5th Overall Conrad Rautenbach / Peter Marsh (Subaru Impreza WRX STi)

Class N3 / 14th Overall Rodney Visagie / Caroline Swan (Total Toyota RunX RSi)

Class N2 / 19th Overall Michael Nathan / Graham Hooper (Toyota Corolla RSi)

Class S20 / 10th Overall Cliff Blackman / Johan Klaasen (BMW 320i)

The Total Rally South Africa resumes at 08h22 on Saturday.

All times and positions are provisional.

Original article from Car