BIG LEAD FOR GROBLER/JORDAAN IN ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP Two wins in as many events in the Production Vehicle category, have given Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan a comfortable early lead in both the overall and Super Production Class in...
BIG LEAD FOR GROBLER/JORDAAN IN ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP
Two wins in as many events in the Production Vehicle category, have given Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan a comfortable early lead in both the overall and Super Production Class in this year's Absa Off Road Championship.
The veteran Nissan Navara crew are the reigning overall champions and have quickly stamped their authority on this year's series. Grobler and Jordaan won both the Nissan Dealer 400 and the recent Nissan Hluhluwe 400, to take commanding leads in both the overall and SP Class championships.
On top of that Nissan, spearheaded by Grobler/Jordaan, have also taken a commanding early lead over arch rivals Toyota in the prestige South African Manufacturers Championship. Nissan already have 141 points with Toyota, the reigning champions, second on 70 with Ford third with 49 points.
In the overall championship Grobler/Jordaan (50) lead team-mates Duncan Vos and Ralph Pitchford who are tied in second place with Ford Racing factory crew Brandon Harcus and Juan Mohr on 27 points. Third are Mark Cronje/Chris Birkin (Castrol Toyota Hilux) and Norwegian driver Ivar Tollefsen and English navigator Quin Evans (Nissan Navara) who are tied on 19 points.
The picture is slightly different in the SP Class stakes. Here Grobler/Jordaan lead Vos and Pitchford and Harcus/Mohr by 15 points. Third, a further four points adrift are Manfred Schroeder and Ward Huxtable in the Barloworld / Absolute Ford Ranger.
A Nissan crew also heads the Class D championship. Jurie and Andre du Plessis, in the BB Auto Nissan Hardbody, have a handy 13 point lead over Toyota newcomers Ramon Bezuidenhout and Stefan Lock. The Bezuidenhout/Lock combination caused a stir when they won the class first time out on the Nissan Hluhluwe 400.
Two crews are tied in third place. Once again a Nissan crew features with Coetzee Labuscagne/Johan Gerber, in the Raysonics Nissan Hardbody, level on points with Land Rover pair Harold and Tiaan Coen.
Two good results so far this season have taken Castrol Toyota Hilux pair Brian Martin and Ockie Fourie to the top of the Class E standings. But works factory crew Jack Peckham and Lucio Santoro have also had two good results and are only a single point behind the Toyota team.
Two Toyota crews, George and Sharon Barkhuizen (Ruwacon Toyota Hilux) and Jannie Visser/Joks le Roux are tied for second place. The Barkhuizen's scored their second career victory with a win in KwaZulu-Natal.
HARPERS TAKE EARLY LEAD IN ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP
Consistency is paying off for the father and son team of Nick and Ryan Harper, in the Atlas Copco BAT, in the Special Vehicle category in this year's Absa Off Road Championship.
Third place in the opening event of the year, the Nissan Dealer 400 in the Western Cape, and a win on the recent Nissan Hluhluwe 400 in KwaZulu-Natal, have taken the pair to the top of the overall and Class A championships. The Harpers have a narrow nine point cushion over former South African champion Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau, in the Total Porter, who have also made an encouraging start to the season.
Third overall are Nissan Dealer 400 winners Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergman in the Motorite BAT. Nardus Alberts and Collin Hunter, in the Wrapsa BAT, have also made an encouraging start to the season and edge out reigning SA champions Alfie Cox and Hennie ter Stege, in the second Motorite BAT, in the top five.
The position is slightly different in the Class A championship. The Harpers still lead Variawa/Rousseau, but Alberts and Hunter take over third place after both Motorite BAT crews failed to see out the distance in KwaZulu-Natal.
Two wins in a row have given Hendrik and Jan Kraaij, in the Keymax BAT, a dream start to the season and they have an early 11 point lead in the Class B championship. Two Adenco BAT crews -- father Bez Bezuidenhout and Johan de Bruin and brothers Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout-- are tied in second place.
Veteran Giel Nel, in the Bosal Zarco, and Sandra Labuscagne are also in the Class B picture. Labuscagne is the daughter of Production Vehicle driver Coetzee Labuscagne, and is in her first year of off road racing.
Only two crews have so far this season scored points in Class S where two wins in a row have given multiple champion Richard Schilling and Chris Davies an early advantage over arch rivals Nic Goslar and Richard Carolin in the Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco. The gap is 14 points and Goslar and Carolin have some leeway to make up.