Darling 400 route change

NEW ROUTE FOR NISSAN DEALER 400 There will be no comfort zones for competitors when the Absa Off Road Championship gets underway with the Nissan Dealer 400 in Darling, in the Western Cape, on February 29 and March 1. The opening event also...

NEW ROUTE FOR NISSAN DEALER 400

There will be no comfort zones for competitors when the Absa Off Road Championship gets underway with the Nissan Dealer 400 in Darling, in the Western Cape, on February 29 and March 1.

The opening event also sees the continuation of what has been a long and cordial relationship between Absa and the national off road series. The association is one of the longest running sponsorships in South African motorsport.

"We are more than happy to again be associated with a championship that in the past has embodied the best traditions of motor racing," said Absa Marketing Head, William James. "The championship brings us close to three giants in the South African motor industry in Ford, Nissan and Toyota and over the years the association has been mutually beneficial.

"Off road racing has a stable management structure, the championship has shown good growth in recent seasons and Absa is proud of the role we have played in the growth of off road racing in South Africa."

Organised by the Cape Peninsula Motorcycle and Car Club the route for this year's race has been drastically altered. With unprecedented help from the local community, clerk of the course Robert Marle and his organising team have come up with a radically different route.

"The local community have really entered into the spirit of the race," said Marle. "We have had unbelievable co-operation and as a result have been able to come up with what is virtually a new route.

"The course has a bit of everything and is going to be a good test of man and machinery."

The event starts at the Darling Club with documentation opening at 08h00 on Friday, February 29. A prologue starting at Kikoesvlei, about 15 kilometres from the club and run over approximately 75 kilometres, to determine start positions for the race proper will start from 13h00.

In a new development this season all pre-race prologues will be run over a minimum of 70 kilometres. It is a move that is likely to see some drastic changes in the seeding list for prologue start positions.

In another new departure the race will start in Jacaranda Street, next to Darling College, in central Darling at 08h00 on March 1. The finish will be at the Darling Club with the first cars expected at around 14h30.

An entry of more than 70 cars is expected with off road pundits expecting another season where the majority of championships on offer are likely to again go all the way to the wire.

"I don't think there is any doubt that we are in for another hugely competitive season," said Motorsport SA Off Road Car Racing Commission president Piet Swanepoel. "Darling will see early battle lines drawn and we are in for some interesting racing throughout the year."

The Nissan Dealer 400 will be preceded by an Off Road Expo at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town from 16h00 on Thursday, February 28. All the top factory and privateer teams competing in the Special and Production Vehicle categories in this year's championship will have cars on display.

The Expo offers motorsport enthusiasts a golden opportunity to cast an eye over some expensive hi-tec race cars and to meet drivers and technical crew. Route guides and other race information will also be available at the Expo.

-credit: msa

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