Western Cape 400 undergoes facelift

EXCITING NEW ROUTE FOR NISSAN DEALER 400 The route for the Nissan Dealer 400 in the Western Cape has undergone a facelift and will be much slower than in previous years. The event, based in Darling, is the opening round of this year's Absa Off...

EXCITING NEW ROUTE FOR NISSAN DEALER 400

The route for the Nissan Dealer 400 in the Western Cape has undergone a facelift and will be much slower than in previous years.

The event, based in Darling, is the opening round of this year's Absa Off Road Championship with the organisers, the CPMCC, listening to feedback from competitors in revamping this year's route. The revamp has taken into account suggestions that in previous years the 'Darling Desert Race' was too fast.

"We have had a lot of assistance from landowners in revising the route," said clerk of the course Robert Marle. "Once they knew what we wanted they came to the party and the long sections of sand that led to the 'Darling Desert Race' nickname have been replaced.

"We have stuck with the three-loop format, but from the halfway mark the route now heads more towards the sea with fairly rough and winding tracks taking competitors over some enormous contours around vineyards. There are also some serious mountain sections with very steep hills that will slow down overall speeds.

"The infamous watersplash will be approached from the opposite direction this year and, to my mind, this is the most challenging route that has ever been set for an off road event in the Western Cape."

Marle added that the Friday prologue to establish start positions for the race, would run over a 40-kilometre route that would give crews an indication of what they could expect under race conditions. With little rain falling in the Darling area so far this season, the route is also expected to be dry and dusty.

The three-loop format, with the event starting and finishing at the Darling Club, means the route is once again spectator friendly. Spectator points are easily accessible and offer a good view of the action.

All told there are 12 designated spectator areas with three of these on the N315 Darling/Yzerfontein Road. These are all within walking distance of each other and offer good view points on both sides of the road.

There are also three good spectator points on the Hildebrand Monument/Burgherspan road, and four points within five kilometres of the start on the Waylands Road off the N304 Malmesbury/Atlantis Road. The final two spectator points are situated on the Darling/Moorreesberg Road and the Rooihoogtevlei Road.

The Nissan Dealer 400 gets underway at 13h00 on Friday, March 17 and the main event starts at the Darling Club at 08h00 on Saturday, March 18

-msa-

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