BONUS - RUSTENBURG - The 2022 international motorsport season kicked off to an epic start on 1 January with the running of the 44th Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia with no less than nine South African teams amongst the hundred odd teams competing in the Car Category while the event also saw the launch of the inaugural FIA World Rally-Raid Championship.
Toyota Gazoo Racing returned home from this punishing event as the overall victors and added a second victory to their first in 2019. All four their vehicles, crewed by the overall winners, Nasser Al-Attiya/Mathew Baumel as well as local teams, Giniel de Villiers/Dennis Murphy; Shameer Variawa/Danie Stassen and Henk Lategan/Brett Cummings, finished in the top 20 in the FIA T1.1+ Class for 4x4 petrol or diesel engine vehicles. The South African built Red-Lined VK56, prepared by WCT Engineering and piloted by Daniël Schröder and South African navigator, Ryan Bland, also finished in the top 20.
With the dust now settled on this awe-inspiring event and the country still extremely proud of the achievements by the local South African competitors and teams, the SA Cross Country Series (SACCS) is poised to build on the success of the 2021 national championship and has introduced some innovative thinking to maintain the momentum achieved over the past years.
To introduce the 2022 South African season, the championship will adopt the international reference of Rally-Raid and in future the championship will be known as the South African Rally-Raid Championship. The well-established and successful championship will still be administered and promoted by the South African National Cross Country Association NPC under the guidance of Chief Executive Officer, Archie Rutherford and his dedicated team.
The FIA Class has grown exponentially over the past two seasons with a staggering number of 22 potential entries expected on the starting grid at the season opener, the Mpumalanga 400 that takes place in the Dullstroom area on March 25 and 26.
The calendar for the 2022 season will see teams competing in five of the country’s provinces with the opening round, the Mpumalanga 400, taking place in the Dullstroom area on March 25 and 26. It will be the fifth running of this popular event that was first hosted in 2018. The traditional Sugarbelt 400 will form round two of the series when competitors will travel to KwaZulu-Natal to return to the well-known Eston area on 29 and 30 April.
After an extremely successful desert race in 2021 in Upington, the event will again return to the Northern Cape where it will form the third round on 24, 25 and 26 June. Round four will take place at Bronkhorstspruit on the border of Gauteng on 19 and 20 August while the Free State will welcome all for the fifth and sixth rounds at Nampo Park on 30 September and 1 October and again on 12 November for the seventh and final round event at Parys.
Changes according to international regulations; a full calendar and the expectation of seeing new teams and vehicles in action combined with the welcome return of familiar faces and teams, all add to the promise of an exciting 2022 SA Rally-Raid Championship.