VISSER/BADENHORST SET THE PACE AT ADENCO 400 Darling, Friday - Unheralded Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst upstaged a few star teams in the Production Vehicle category to win the Donaldson Prologue, to determine grid positions for the Adenco...
VISSER/BADENHORST SET THE PACE AT ADENCO 400
Darling, Friday - Unheralded Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst upstaged a few star teams in the Production Vehicle category to win the Donaldson Prologue, to determine grid positions for the Adenco 400, round one of the Absa Off Road Championship, here today.
Provisional results saw Visser and Badenhorst finish 40 seconds ahead of veteran former champion Hannes Grobler and Hennie ter Stege (RFS Toyota Hilux) after a tough 90 kilometre route. Visser and Badenhorst (RFS/Visser Transport Toyota Hilux) reported a clean run and struck an early psychological blow.
"We had a good run," said Visser. "The car is better than it has been for some time and we were able to push hard. "Now we have to do the same in the race."
The veteran Grobler and ter Steege were having their first outing together, with Grobler behind the wheel of a Toyota after 33 years of driving Nissan products.
"It was a bit strange but Hennie and I worked well together," said Grobler. "The competition is tough but we'll just go out there and enjoy ourselves."
Third fastest were Anthony Taylor and Robin Houghton, in a Team Castrol Toyota Hilux, who were only four seconds behind Grobler and ter Steege. The top five were rounded out by Ramon and Maret Bezuidenhout, out for the first time in the Red Star Raceway Toyota Hilux, and Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen in the Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux.
It was not a happy afternoon for reigning South African champion Duncan Vos and Rob Howie. Having their first outing in the second Team Castrol Toyota Hilux the pair were penalised 15 minutes for a defective rear warning light, and were further hampered by propshaft problems that reduced the Toyota to two-wheel drive.
It all helped to drop Vos/Howie nearly half an hour behind Grobler and ter Steege leaving them with a mountain to climb in the race. Reigning champions Dewald van Breda and Johann du Toit, in the Northam Toyota Hilux D4D set the pace in Class D with Pikkie Labuschagne and Rickus Erasmus (4x4 Megaworld Toyota Hilux) the quickest of the Class E vehicles. Labuschagne and Erasmus lost last year's championship by a single point.
Tomorrow's race starts at the Darling Club at 08h00. The start/finish and the designated service park are all at the club. The route is spectator friendly with a number of viewing points within easy access of the club. Entry to these areas is free.
VARIAWA/ROUSSEAU WIN ADENCO 400 DONALDSON PROLOGUE
Darling, Friday - Former South African champion Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau won the first skirmish in this year's Special Vehicle war when they won the Donaldson Prologue on the Adenco 400, round one of the Absa Off Road Championship, here today.
Provisional results for the prologue, to determine grid positions for tomorrow's race, saw Variawa and Rousseau (Team Total Porter) finish 33 seconds ahead of the father and son team of Herman and Wichard Sullwald in a new Sullwald Racing SVR.
Variawa/Rousseau and the Sullwald's reported only minor problems on a tough 90 kilometre route. Third fastest were another father and son pair in Nick and Ryan Harper in the Atlas Copco BAT.
The first three cars were separated by 56 seconds with Colin Matthews and Alan Smith (Century Racing BAT) and reigning champions Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann (Motorite BAT) rounding out the top five. The champions, out in a conventional two-wheel drive after winning last year's championship in the Revo1 4x4, were also hampered by power steering problems over the last 50 kilometres.
"We had a clean run so it has been a good start for us," said Variawa. "Early season points are important so there won't be any heroics from us.
"We'll set a steady pace and take it from there."
Pretoria pair Johan van Staden and James Rossouw (KEC BAT), last season's Rookies of the Year, were quickest of the Class P runners. They came in ahead of local crew Johan and Deon Bezuidenhout in the Adenco BAT with over a minute separating the two cars.
Third quickest in Class P were Archie Rutherford and Craig Doubtfire (Regent Racing Porter) who were another half a minute further back. Reigning champion Derick du Toit (Orange Tree BAT) and Adre Rheeder led the Class B pack. Rheeder is a local businessman who is sitting alongside Cape Town-based du Toit with the pair promoting the Darling wine route.
Brothers Keith and Andrew Makanete, in a Zarco, were second in Class B. The brothers finished second in last year's championship after showing plenty of tenacity.
Tomorrow's race starts and finishes at the Darling Club with the designated service point also at race headquarters. The race route is spectator friendly with plenty of viewing points within easy access of the club.
Access to viewing points is free.