THE highlight on the Namibian motor sport calendar, the Total Tara Rally, takes place for the 44th consecutive year this weekend.
The drivers will complete a total of 718km, of which 263km will be made up of 26 special stages. The rally started at SKW in Olympia, Windhoek last night and will continue today and tomorrow around Windhoek, Okahandja and Otjimbingwe.
Today’s route takes the drivers out to Okahandja, Wilhelmstal and Otjimbingwe, while they will return to Windhoek, with further stages taking place on the Tony Rust Race Track and next to the Western Bypass.
Tomorrow, several more stages will be held in Prosperita, along the Western Bypass and at the Tony Rust Race track, while the first drivers are expected to finish at SKW at 13h00.
Namibian rally aces Wilro Dippenaar and Morné du Toit will be back to defend the title they won last year, when Dippenaar became the youngest winner of the rally at the age of 18.
They are currently leading the Namibian rally championship and will once again be among the favourites in their Toyota RunX.
Other contenders for the title include Jaco Wiese and Ernest Thatcher, Richard Himmel and Adolf Botes, and Dick Cornelissen and Melvin Gous, who will all compete in Subaru Imprezzas.
Top South African rally drivers like Jean Pierre Damseaux, who won the Total Tara in 2007 and 2008, and Mohammed Moosa, will not be competing this year, although there are still four teams from South Africa who will be in the starting line-up. They include Sebastiaan Klaasen and Kes Naidoo in a Ford Fiesta, Jacques Botha and Tommy du Toit in a Mitsubishi and former Namibian Stefanie Botha and Robbie Coetzee in a Toyota RunX.
This year's rally has been sponsored by Total Namibia to an amount of N$500 000.