Botswana: Series Special Vehicle day 1 summary

VARIAWA/ROUSSEAU TAKE CHARGE OF SPECIAL VEHICLE CATEGORY Gaborone, Saturday - Two-time winners Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau took control of the Special Vehicle category on the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, round six of the...

VARIAWA/ROUSSEAU TAKE CHARGE OF SPECIAL VEHICLE CATEGORY

Gaborone, Saturday - Two-time winners Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau took control of the Special Vehicle category on the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, round six of the Absa Off Road Championship, today.

Variawa and Rousseau, in the Team Total Porter, ended an eventful day four minutes and two seconds ahead of 2007 winners and former South African champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald in the Elegant Fuel BAT. Adding a little spice to a duel likely to develop between the two crews tomorrow is the fact that the two crews are also locked together at the top of the championship table.

Provisional results at the overnight halt saw a second father and son Sullwald crew, Herman Wichard, in third place in the Sullwald Racing SVR. It was a happier end to the day for the Sullwald's who last year spent the night in the desert.

Looking for a hat-trick of wins Variawa and Rousseau started the day fifth among the Special Vehicle category entries and gradually took control. They were helped by the retirements of Evan Hutchison/Darryl Curtis (Motorite Revo1) and Nick Harper and Kevin Hume in the Atlas Copco BAT.

The other major casualties in Class A were Bevan Bertholdt and Danie Stassen (lab88 BAT) and local crew Mohammad and Faizal Noble in a Porter.

Problems for the two Sullwald cars who started ahead of Variawa and Rousseau, also played into the hands of the Team Total crew. Hassles for the Sullwald's were, however, not serious and a good three-way battle could develop as today unfolds.

"We started where we wanted to, and achieved exactly what we wanted," said Variawa at the overnight stop. "We set out to bring the car home without any problems and had a troublefree run."

The next four places were filled by Class P cars with brothers Johan and Deon Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) ahead of championship leaders Johan van Staden and James Rossouw (Atlas Copco BAT), John Thompson and Zelda Niemandt (Zarco) and Bodo Bertholdt and Philip Herselman in the second Atlas Copco BAT. Bertholdt, at 68, is the oldest driver in the race and has competed in ever Desert Race since the inception of the event.

It was a good day for van Staden and Rossouw who started ninth in Class P and 41st on the road. At the other end of the scale Donaldson Prologue winners Archie Rutherford and Mike Lawrenson, in the Regent Racing Jimco, gradually slipped down the pecking order to end the day sixth in class.

Two veteran drivers were the only survivors in Class B. Former Blue Bulls scrum-half Coetzee Labuscagne and daughter Sandra (Raysonics Zarco) were around 10 minutes ahead of former champion Giel Nel and Jaco Jonck in the Zarco Truggy. There was no luck, however, for championship leaders Bez and Lindie Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) who fell by the wayside.

A broken wheel also sidelined brothers Keith and Andrew Makenete, in another Zarco, who were time barred.

The final leg of the race starts at Kumakwane, 25 kilometres from Gaborone, at 8am tomorrow. The designated service point is also at Kumakwane with the first cars expected at approximately 3pm.

-source: sa national off road racing

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Series Other rally
Drivers Darryl Curtis , John Thompson