Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton dominate opening round of the championship!

•    Ford finish 1-2 with Habig and Paisley claiming second position 
•    Ashley Haig-Smith and Craig Parry finished third in the S1600 class.

Team Ford Racing’s Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (S2000 Ford Racing Fiesta) demonstrated they are the team to beat in the 2013 National Rally Championship as they dominated the Total Rally this past weekend.

The reigning South African rally champions led the 30-strong field at the end of the first day on Friday, winning four of the five stages, and continued their good form on Saturday with six wins out of nine.

The race considered to be one of the most technical on the calendar, is a favourite of the Ford crew, with the pair having claimed victory at the event last year.

“The Fiesta proved to be faultless this weekend allowing us to concentrate on our times and setting a good pace, explained Cronje. “It’s a privilege to be running under the Ford flag on behalf of the Ford Dealer Network.”

Also flying the Ford flag were Jan Habig and Robert Paisley who finished in the runner–up slot in their Basil Read Fiesta, finishing 1 min 5 sec behind the winners. Ashleigh Haig-Smith and Craig Parry, in their Ford Fiesta R2, came third in the closely contested S1600 class.

Cronje and Houghton will be looking to defend their championship title status and are off to a positive start following this weekend’s results. Earlier this month the pair participated in a warm-up run in a WRC car in the UK where they finished 5th in the Malcolm Wilson Rally.

The next round of the Championship takes place in Mpumalanga on 19 and 20 April.  Last year the team enjoyed a strong result and will be looking to continue their good form by further extending their early championship lead.

“The 2013 Motorsport season is off to a fantastic start following the Cross Country team’s victory in the new Ranger last weekend and Mark and Robin’s dominant win this weekend. The whole team is ecstatic with the results. We’ll be working hard to continue with the positive momentum,” concludes Ford Racing Manager John Nagel.

Team Ford Racing’s efforts would not be possible without the support of its dedicated sponsors: The Ford Dealer Network, Castrol, Ferodo, Portable Shade and OMP.