TWO CLASS WINS FOR TOYOTA ON ADENCO 400 Toyota scored two class wins and a string of other encouraging results on the Adenco 400, the opening round of the Absa Off Road Championship, in Darling in the Western Cape over the weekend. The class...
TWO CLASS WINS FOR TOYOTA ON ADENCO 400
Toyota scored two class wins and a string of other encouraging results on the Adenco 400, the opening round of the Absa Off Road Championship, in Darling in the Western Cape over the weekend.
The class wins went to Cliff and Louis Weichelt (N1 4x4 Toyota Hilux D4D) in Class D and Deon Venter and Ian Palmer (4x4 Megaworld Toyota Hilux) who took the Class E honours. Toyota crews also finished second and third in Classes D and E respectively.
The highest placed Toyota crew overall and in the premier SP Class were Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, in the RFS Toyota Hilux, who were fifth. The pair had a relatively clean run to get their season off to a good start.
Factory crew Anthony Taylor and Robin Houghton, in the Castrol Toyota Hilux, were steadiness personified throughout the weekend and completed the top five overall and SP Class placings. "This was my first race in this part of the world and all we wanted was a good finish," said Taylor.
"We got what we wanted but it was a tough event. The vehicle was good and it was an encouraging start for us."
There were also encouraging results for Christiaan du Plooy and Henk Jansen van Vuuren (RFS Toyota Hilux) and Hein Lategan, a late replacement for Mark Cronje in the Castrol Toyota Hilux, and Chris Birkin who were seventh and ninth overall and in Class SP. It was du Plooy's first outing in an SP Class vehicle with Lategan making his off road debut.
It was a tough baptism for Lategan with an engine sensor problem putting them out of the Friday prologue. They were forced to start at the back of the field and, apart from a slight overheating problem on the second of the two 160 kilometre loops, Lategan and Birkin had a clear run.
There were, however, disappointing results for Chris du Plooy and Ewald van Rensburg, in another RFS Toyota Hilux, and George and Sharon Barkhuizen in the AIM Toyota Hilux. Du Plooy and van Rensburg were taken to hospital with back injuries after crashing on the first loop, while the Barkhuizen's were forced into retirement with a broken propshaft.
Also in the wars were Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn in the Micaren Toyota Hilux. After a troubled prologue, a broken propshaft in the first loop and a 30 minute penalty for deviating from the route they were finally classified 10th in the SP Class.
The experienced Weichelt's revelled in the tough conditions. They totally dominated Class D with Dewald van Breda and Johan du Toit bravely hanging on for second after running into overheating and other problems.
"That was real off road racing," said Louis Weichelt afterwards. "It was tough going but we had a lot of fun."
Venter and Palmer overcame a string of front and rear suspension and tyre problems to guts out the Class E win. Reigning champions Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux (RFS Toyota Hilux) broke a radiator on the prologue, were forced to play catch up throughout the event and finally salvaged a brave third place.
Other retirements included newcomer Heinie Strumpher (Micaren Toyota Hilux) in Class D and brothers Diederik and Danie Hattingh in the Transcor Toyota Hilux. It was also a disappointing first outing for Pikkie Labuschagne and Rikus Erasmus, in a second 4x4 Megaworld entry, who were also forced to call it a day.
"It was a really tough start to the season, but the results were encouraging," said Toyota motorsport manager William Haddad. "We were particularly happy with Hein's performance and he did well under extremely difficult circumstances.
"We take away a lot of positives from this event, and are looking forward to the next race in the Eastern Cape."