Toyota teams Botswana 1000 Prologue summary

TOYOTA MAKE GREAT START TO TOYOTA 1000 DESERT RACE Gaborone - Toyota teams made a great start today to the Toyota 1000 Desert Race by setting the fastest times in three Production Vehicle categories in the prologue to determine start positions...

TOYOTA MAKE GREAT START TO TOYOTA 1000 DESERT RACE

Gaborone - Toyota teams made a great start today to the Toyota 1000 Desert Race by setting the fastest times in three Production Vehicle categories in the prologue to determine start positions for the race proper which gets underway tomorrow.

The race is round four of the Absa Off Road Championship with the father and son team of Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn causing a stir by setting the fastest time in the prologue in the Micaren Exel Dealer Team Toyota Hilux. Three Castrol Toyota Hilux crews in Mark Cronje/Chris Birkin (4), Chris Visser/Japie Badenhorst (5) and Bevan Bertholdt/Robin Houghton (6) were all in the top 10.

"I grew up in the sand so we weren't surprised with our time," said de Bruyn junior. "The vehicle is brilliant and now we can look forward to a good race."

Cronje/Birkin, Visser/Badenhorst and Bertholdt/Houghton all reported no major problems. The trio will all be looking for good results when the race proper starts and, along with the de Bruyn's, give Toyota a strong hand in the Super Production Class.

Fastest time -- albeit by only four seconds -- in Class D went to Cliff and Louis Weichelt in the Bosal Toyota Hilux 4D4. The Weichelt's edged out Malcolm Kok/Wayne Brink (Toyota Hilux) with privateers Ramon Bezuidenhout and Stefan Lock (Toyota Hilux) a long way back. The three Toyota crews are up against a horde of Nissan Hardbody entries.

A Toyota crew also set the fastest time in Class E where Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux (Team Barberspan Toyota Hilux) were nearly a minute ahead of George and Sharon Barkhuizen in the Ruwacon Toyota Hilux. Brian Martin and Ockie Fourie (Castrol Toyota Hilux) were third with Fabio Tafani/Alun Dearling (Club Refrigeration Toyota Hilux) and karting legend Derrick Irving and Grayham Bishop (IDM Cement Toyota Hilux) also in the mix.

Irving is having his first taste of off road racing and was preparing himself for a tough weekend.

"It is going to be a very steep learning curve," he said, "but I was happy with the way it went in the prologue. There won't be any heroics, and all we want is to get the vehicle to the finish on Sunday."

"It has been a good day for us," said Toyota Motorsport manager Wammy Haddad. "Hopefully we can keep the trend going, but it is going to be a long and hard two days."

-credit: toyota,za

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Japie Badenhorst