2007 season preview

ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP GEARS UP FOR BUMPER YEAR The Absa Off Road Championship is gearing up for a bumper year in 2007. The 2006 season was a highly successful one for the sport in South Africa. But the Motorsport South Africa Off Road Car...

ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP GEARS UP FOR BUMPER YEAR

The Absa Off Road Championship is gearing up for a bumper year in 2007.

The 2006 season was a highly successful one for the sport in South Africa. But the Motorsport South Africa Off Road Car Racing Commission is gearing up for an even more exciting year in 2007.

"There are a number of reasons for optimism," said commission president Piet Swanepoel. "First and foremost is the fact that Absa had already renewed their commitment to off road racing in the middle of last year.

"On top of that our other major partners in Ford, Nissan and Toyota will also once again be part of the fold. That is a healthy situation and provides the sport with a solid base for growth."

On the growth front the commission is expecting increased participation in a number of key areas, notably the Super Production Class in the Production Vehicle category and in Class A in the Special Vehicle category. It is expected that at least nine SP Class vehicles from the Ford, Nissan and Toyota stables will line-up at the first event -- the Nissan Dealer 400 -- in the Western Cape in March.

"The growth of the SP Class is encouraging, but we are also expecting additional entries in Class A," said Swanepoel. "We are expecting some competitors from lower classes to upgrade, and there are indications that the sport will attract a number of newcomers.

"The standard of competition last year was outstanding, and we expect another fiercely competitive championship in 2007."

The Africa Heritage Cross country which broke new ground last year, has again been inscribed on the FIA Cross Country World Cup calendar. It is expected the event will draw more overseas entries this year, and organisation of the event is at an advanced stage.

"Apart from the prestige of running a world championship event in South Africa, we are very proud of one other achievement," said Swanepoel. "Former South African champion Giniel de Villiers is the only South African from the off road or rally ranks who is currently part of an international works team."

Swanepoel added that the Absa off road championship would again be prominently marketed via television, radio and print media. Independent television company Videosport Television will once again produce highlights packages that will be screened on SuperSport channels servicing enthusiasts in South Africa and throughout Africa.

"With so many factors working in our favour we are looking forward to a terrific year," Swanepoel said. "We are, however, aware that we cannot sit back and rest on our laurels.

"There is a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we have dedicated and innovative people in key areas and we are all looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead."

-credit: msa

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Giniel de Villiers