Championship points update 2005-04-07

NISSAN SUGARBELT 400 SURVIVORS HAVE A POINTS ADVANTAGE The eleven Production Vehicle and nine Special Vehicle crews that survived the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, the opening round of the Absa Off Road Championship, head for the Nissan Dealer 400,...

NISSAN SUGARBELT 400 SURVIVORS HAVE A POINTS ADVANTAGE

The eleven Production Vehicle and nine Special Vehicle crews that survived the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, the opening round of the Absa Off Road Championship, head for the Nissan Dealer 400, which takes place in Darling in the Western Cape on April 22 and 23, with a distinct points advantage over their rivals.

Team Ford Racing's Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer won the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 and top the Overall Production Vehicle Championship points log with 25-points, which is six points clear of Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan in the Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody.

Manfred Schroder and Alec Harris finished a fine third overall in the Team Ford Racing Ranger to earn 15 valuable points and are third in the overall championship and first in Class D ahead of father and son Cliff and Louis Weichelt in the Class D Bosal / N1 4X4 Toyota Hilux V6. However, Weichelt's position is provisional pending clarification regarding the vehicle's eligibility.

Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn are handily placed in fifth position in the overall championship and head Class E after a steady performance in their Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.7i while 2004 Milestone Award winners, for completing every event last year, Henri Zermatten and Bodo Schwegler, finished sixth overall and third in Class D in their trusty Mastercraft / Ryobi Mitsubishi Pajero are sixth in the overall championship and third in Class D.

Team Castrol Toyota pair Zane Pearce and Peter Chadwick are seventh overall and second in Class E after a strong showing in the Toyota Hilux 2.7i in KwaZulu-Natal and are only one point ahead of teammates Gavin Cronje and Robin Houghton who finished eighth overall and fourth in Class D.

Father and son Dirk van Reenen Sr. and Jr. scored their first finish on the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 in four attempts when they powered their Savannah Ford Ranger to ninth overall and third in Class E and are four points behind Class E championship leaders Hugo and his father Jaap de Bruyn.

Brothers Mark and Stuart Moffat are fifth in Class D after finishing 10th overall in their Bosal / N1 4X4 Land Rover in KwaZulu-Natal with Team Ford Racing development pair Baphumze Rubuluza and Khulile Vakalisa eleventh in the overall championship and fourth in Class E.

<pre> Overall Production Vehicle Championship: 1. Neil Woolridge / Kenny Skjoldhammer Ford Class F 25 2. Hannes Grobler / Francois Jordaan Nissan Class F 19 3. Manfred Schroder / Alec Harris Ford Class D 15 4. Cliff Weichelt / Louis Weichelt Toyota Class D 12 5. Hugo de Bruyn / Jaap de Bruyn Toyota Class E 11 6. Henri Zermatten / Bodo Schwegler Mitsubishi Class D 10 7. Zane Pearce / Peter Chadwick Toyota Class E 9 8. Gavin Cronje / Robin Houghton Toyota Class D 8 9. Dirk van Reenen Sr. / Dirk van Reenen Jr. Ford Class E 7 10. Mark Moffat / Stuart Moffat Land Rover Class D 6 11. Baphumze Rubuluza / Khulile Vakalisa Ford Class E 5

</pre> The Production Vehicle Manufacturers Team Award on the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 went to Ford for the first time since 2000 and the marque tops the championship log with 52-points followed by Toyota with 40-points and Nissan with 19-points. Mitsubishi has 10-points and Land Rover six points.

Only nine Special Vehicles managed to complete the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 and winners Gary Bertholdt and Siegfried Rousseau in the Advansoft BAT are the Overall Special Vehicle Championship leaders with 25-points to their credit.

John Moore and Graham Maclachlan drove a calculated race in the Connix Internet Chenowth and their second place earned them 19-points in the overall championship and in the Class A championship but they will have to be on their guard because third placed Clint Gibson and Marcelle Trethewey in the Gibson Plant Hire BAT are known for their consistency and could snatch second place away from them on the Nissan Dealer 400.

Bevan Bertholdt and Nick Selamolele survived a roll and completed the last 40km of the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 with a broken control arm on the Itec BAT Spec-1 to finish fourth overall. The tenacious pair has 12-points in the bag and a good performance in the Western Cape should see them rocket up the standings.

The star performers in KwaZulu-Natal were undoubtedly Evan Hutchison and Trevor Ormerod in the Class B Motorite BAT. The pair led briefly when Bertholdt and Rousseau stopped to replace a flat wheel and then ran second for a long time before settling for a safe fifth overall and the Class B win. They are 14-points behind the overall leaders and are the Class B leaders ahead of reigning Class B champions Marcus Taylor and Marc de Chalain in the JRE who finished seventh overall.

Terence Marsh and Michael Whitehouse's sixth overall in the Nashua Mobile BAT Spec-1 earned them 10-points and they will have to up their pace if they hope to make an impression on the early overall and Class A championship leaders.

Taylor and de Chalain were seventh on home turf and are one point ahead of David White who finished eighth overall and third in Class B in the ex-Giel Nel Truggy with brothers Rudi and Pierre van Graan in the Technochair Zarco ninth in the overall championship and fourth in Class B. <pre> 1. Gary Bertholdt / Siegfried Rousseau BAT Class A 25 2. John Moore / Graham Maclachlan Chenowth Class A 19 3. Clint Gibson / Marcelle Trethewey BAT Class A 15 4. Bevan Bertholdt / Nick Selamolele BAT Class A 12 5. Evan Hutchison / Trevor Ormerod BAT Class B 11 6. Terence Marsh / Michael Whitehouse BAT Class A 10 7. Marcus Taylor / Marc de Chalain JRE Class B 9 8. David White Truggy Class B 8 9. Rudi van Graan / Pierre van Graan Zarco Class B 7

The Nissan Dealer 400 on April 22 and 23 promises to be a closely fought affair with the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 non-finishers out to thrash their rivals that already have points in the bag.

-msa-

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Series Other rally
Drivers John Moore , David White , Gavin Cronje