Franz Czepek joins Jeep team

Multiple South African off road champion Franz Czepek senior will be seen in a new role when the 2002 SA Off-Road Car Racing Championship gets underway with the Barberspan 500 on March 22 and 23. Czepek, the reigning Special Vehicle champion,...

Multiple South African off road champion Franz Czepek senior will be seen in a new role when the 2002 SA Off-Road Car Racing Championship gets underway with the Barberspan 500 on March 22 and 23.

Czepek, the reigning Special Vehicle champion, will be having his first outing in the Production Vehicle category and will share the Arthur Abraham-owned Jeep Cherokee with Paolo Piazza-Musso. Co-driving duties will be handled by Scott Abraham who is currently overseeing a major rebuild for the Jeep Cherokee at the Piazza Motorsport workshops in Midrand.

Czepek last year reached new heights in a long and distinguished career when he won seven out of eight events to completely dominate the Special Vehicle championship. After last year's success, Czepek decided to this season take a sabbatical -- but jumped at the opportunity to drive the Jeep Cherokee in the season's pipe-opener.

"After last season's success I felt there was not much left to prove in the Special Vehicle category," said Czepek. "I was looking forward to a break from competitive driving, but when the chance to drive the Jeep came up I jumped at it.

"I have always wanted to try my hand in one of the Class T monsters, and I am looking forward to the experience."

Team owner Abraham said the Jeep squad had brought off something of a coup in grabbing Czepek's services. "He is a big name driver with an incredible record in the Special Vehicle category," said Abraham.

"With Franz's proven ability and record, Paolo's rally pedigree, his past experience in the Jeep and Scott's navigating and mechanical skills we will go into the Barberspan 500 with a powerful team."

By running two drivers in the Barberspan 500, the Jeep Cherokee squad will put itself out of the running in terms of scoring maximum championship points. This, however, is of little concern to Abraham.

"The objective has always been to pick up good finishes, and challenging for the championship has never been a consideration for the team," Abraham said. "The intention has also always been for Paolo to drive in all events this season with myself and other big names like Czepek putting in guest

-saorc/aa-

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