New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Young Rally 'hotties' Wilro and Jaco Dominate the Champs!

They are young, potent, and two of the hottest rally drivers in the country - which combined with their charming good looks and competitive streak, not only do they make the girls go weak at the knees, but seasoned competitors to take a back seat in the company of these two unrivalled talents.

As they dominate one of the most challenging motorsport codes in the country, both Wilro Dippenaar who claimed the 2012 Namibian Rally Championship status at the age of 20, and rally rival Jaco Wiese (22), remain humble and dedicated, with one thing in common - their eye set firmly on the prize.

Young Wilro has been making waves in motorsport circles since the age of eight when he raced Go Karts. He then moved onto circuit racing at 12 years-old when he also raced his first oval track event in South Africa. He continued to race in Namibia and SA for a further four years - till the rally bug bit him.

But it was when Wilro unleashed his driving skills on the rally circuit that he made Namibian motorsport history, and was crowned winner of the gruelling 2011 Total Tara Rally at the tender age of 18, making him the youngest competitor ever to achieve such an accolade.

His competition vehicle - a potent Class S2000 Toyota Run-X four wheel drive, which brought Wilro and his crack navigator Mornay Du Toit to championship victory during 2012 rally season, is going to be hard at work again. This year he plans on defending his title and hopefully aims to win the Total Tara Rally this year, with the support of his main sponsors PZN Panel beaters.

His year is cut out for him, between competing in SA and on home turf, and for the 2013 SA rally season he has bought an ex SA rally champ competition vehicle -a Toyota Auris 4x4, which is driving its first rally with the Namibian champ on 8 March in Durban.

"I feel I still have a lot to learn before I can truly say I am a contender for the SA championships, because the competition is exceptionally tough, but I will work hard and stay focussed to make this happen," said Wilro.

Wilro pointed out that rallying is one of the most expensive forms of motorsport in the world, and that just to get behind the wheel of his rally car in SA, costs anything up to N$100 000 for and event, which includes flight costs, accommodation, auto technicians, tyres, entry costs, fuel, preparation on the car - you name it.

"With this kind of money that is being spent the responsibility to give it your all is huge, and there is a lot of pressure to work hard," he added saying. "I feel very positive about this year, and am happy with my cars - now all I need is stay focussed and keep my fingers crossed that 'lady luck' is on my side."

Select team

Meanwhile second runner up in the championships, Jaco had a cracking year under his belt driving a 'street modified' 2-litre turbo 4x4 Subaru Impreza, and with Ernest Thatcher in the navigator seat, the Select Rally team had a flying success and their best year to date.

Jaco took the bull by the horns from the start of the season, winning the first event in Swakopmund, and gave the field of competitors a full go throughout the rest of the year, reinforcing his performance capabilities even further when he tore into second spot in last year's Total Tara Rally against 23 entries.

Jaco's first rally competing Go-Karts at the age of nine, followed by circuit racing at 16, then a year later climbed into a rally car. He claimed that 2012 was a good year, but will be back this season with a fighting spirit to have a shot at the championships and win the Tara rally.

"I think this year might be a final year driving under the Select Car sponsorship," concluded Jaco, adding. "My main objective was to match up to my father's Pierre's motorsport achievements and become a champion just like him, which he took three years in succession.

"That was quite a tall order - but we hope for the best."

The first National Rally event is being held on 16 March in Walvis Bay.

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