Carnival: Prologue summary

Special vehicles set the pace in Carnival City Casino 400 Prologue. Two Special Vehicle entries this afternoon set the fastest times in the prologue for the Carnival City Casino 400, the final round of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, to be...

Special vehicles set the pace in Carnival City Casino 400 Prologue.

Two Special Vehicle entries this afternoon set the fastest times in the prologue for the Carnival City Casino 400, the final round of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, to be run on the East Rand tomorrow.

The prologue determines grid positions for the race proper and it was brothers Gerhard and Laurence du Plessis, in the Mobil Jimco, who set the early pace. The du Plessis brothers stormed around the 43 kilometre route in a shade over 32 minutes, to edge out fellow Class A crew John Weir-Smith and Geoff Minnitt in the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam BMW Jimco.

Weir-Smith and Minnitt, winner of the recent Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400, were only three seconds behind the du Plessis pair who have three wins to their names this season. The Class T Super Truck entries, running in the Production Vehicle category, completed the top five with just 40 seconds separating factory teams from the Nissan, Toyota and Ford stables.

Overall and Class T championship contenders Hannes Grobler and Richard Leeke were the first of the Class T brigade in the works Nissan Hardbody, and were followed by Apie Reyneke and Robin Houghton in the Team Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser. Next up were another set of overall and Class T championship contenders in the Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer in the Ford Racing Ranger.

Woolridge and Skjoldhammer go into tomorrow's event level on points with Class D champions Duncan Vos and Mike Griffiths, in a factory Nissan Harbody, in the Production Vehicle overall drivers and co-drivers championships. Vos and Griffiths set the 10th fastest time to lead the Class D contingent, with an overall win for the pair unlikely against the big guns in Class T.

Sixth and seventh in the prologue went to the BAT Racing team-mates Gary and Bodo Bertholdt, a father and son combination, and Brandon Harcus and track racer Regardt Roets running in Class A in the Special vehicle category. They were followed by former Bankfin Touring Car stars in Anthony Taylor and multiple champion Giniel de Villiers.

Taylor and Hennie ter Steege were out in a Toyota Hilux with de Villiers and Francois Jordaan, the reigning Production Vehicle champions, campaigning another of the factory Nissan Hardbodys. Between them Grobler/Leeke and de Villiers/Jordaan have won six of the seven events run so far in this year's Bankfin Off Road Championship.

Fastest time in Class E went to Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn in the Toyota Hilux, who struck the first blow in their championship shootout with reigning champions Manfred Schroder and Jack Peckham in the Ford Racing Ranger. Schroder and Peckham were third fastest in Class E behind the de Bruyns and Neels and Zelda Niemand, in a Nissan, and will have their work cut out tomorrow.

The quickest time in Class S was set by by Greg Daus and Archie Rutherford in the Nashua Mobile Racing Raceco, with local driver Francois Smit the fastest of the Class B contingent. Daus has already won the Class S drivers championship with the Class B drivers title a straight fight between Marcus Taylor (Truck Time JRE) and defending champion Giel Nel who set the fifth fastest Class B time in the Luk Africa Truggy.

Taylor and Marc de Chalain, however, ran into problems in the prologue and it was Nel who struck the first blow in the title fight finale. A couple of other prominent crews also ran into problems among them racing legend Sarel van der Merwe and Scott Abraham in the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam Jeep.

An onboard fire forced them to withdraw from the prologue while Atang Makgekgenene and Alec Salley, contenders for the overall honours in the Special Vehicle category, were also sidelined in the SAM Racing Jimco. Today's prologue was run in stifling hot and dusty conditions and, according to the weatherman, competitors can expect more of the same tomorrow.

The first car will be away at 08h00 with the event likely to turn into a war of attrition -- with a high casualty rate on the cards.

-msa/cf-

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Giniel de Villiers , Sarel van der Merwe , Duncan Vos
Teams AT Racing