Botswana: Series preview

COMPETITORS AIM FOR TOYOTA KALAHARI 1000 DESERT RACE ROLL OF HONOUR A number of competitors will be aiming to rewrite the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race record books in this year's event, round six of the Absa Off Road Championship,...

COMPETITORS AIM FOR TOYOTA KALAHARI 1000 DESERT RACE ROLL OF HONOUR

A number of competitors will be aiming to rewrite the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race record books in this year's event, round six of the Absa Off Road Championship, from September 24 to 26.

Reigning South African drivers' champion Duncan Vos will be chasing an unprecedented fourth win in a row in the Production Vehicle category, while Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau (Team Total Porter) will be looking for a hat-trick of wins in the Special Vehicle category. Only one other driver, Hannes Grobler, has won three times in a row in the Production Vehicle category and only one other crew, Franz Czepek senior and junior, have won three times in a row in the Special Vehicle category.

Grobler's wins in 2002, 2003 and 2004 were all achieved with Richard Leeke as co-driver, while Vos's three wins came with the aid of three different co-drivers. Leeke scored a record eighth win with Vos in 2007 while deputising for Ralph Pitchford who had overseas commitments.

Pitchford was also overseas in 2008 when Louis Weichelt stepped into the breach. Vos and Pitchford finally got to win together last year to give Nissan their eighth victory in row.

Vos's three victories were also achieved in Nissan entries. This year, however, Vos will be part of the Team Castrol Toyota factory squad and links up with Rob Howie.

The Czepek's won three years in a row from 1997 to 1999 and added a fourth victory in 2000. Nick and Ryan Harper in 2006, Kallie and Quinton Sullwald the following year and the Czepek's are the only father and son combinations to have won the race.

Grobler, out this year in the RFS BMW, will be aiming at a fifth victory along with Team Castrol stalwart Robin Houghton. Grobler's four wins were with Leeke (3) and Francois Jordaan, while Houghton's four wins were all with former champion Apie Reyneke, who won the event six times, in Toyota Land Cruisers.

Grobler also holds the record for the longest gap between race wins. His first win was in 1986 with Piet Swanepoel, and he had to wait until 2002 for his next victory.

Two other off road veterans who will be competing again this year, Buks Carolin and Neil Woolridge, each have three wins. Carolin won as a driver with his brother Richard in 1995 and twice as a co-driver with Atang Makgekgenene in 2004 and 2005.

The Carolin's are the only brothers to have won the race. This year Buks will co-drive a Regent Racing Nissan Navara with Terence Marsh, while Richard will team up with Nic Goslar in the Men's Health International Zarco.

Ford stalwart Woolridge first won in 1995 with Paul Vermaak and again in 2000 and 2001 with Kenny Skjoldhammer. The 2001 win was the last by a car in the Production Vehicle category other than a Nissan.

Other former winners who will be competing this year are Weichelt, who will be driving the N1 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser in Class D, Mark Corbett and Juan Mohr, who won together in a Jimco in 2000 and SA National Off Road Car Racing Association chairman Richard Schilling who won way back in 1990 with Fred Levesque in a Chenowth.

-source: saorc

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Series Other rally
Drivers Ralph Pitchford , Mark Corbett , Duncan Vos