F&D Racing Desert Race summary

What a joy for Dalene and myself to have finished our first Toyota 1000 Desert Race and be awarded with a class win on top of that! Having a clean run during the time trial and starting 44th on the grid our game plan was to finish the second day...

What a joy for Dalene and myself to have finished our first Toyota 1000 Desert Race and be awarded with a class win on top of that!

Having a clean run during the time trial and starting 44th on the grid our game plan was to finish the second day without braking anything. Within 20km from the start a leak developed in one of the power steering pressure lines pushing out all the power steering fluid. A good hour was lost in finding a way to close the leak on the high pressure hose. We got going again but had to refill the power steering fluid every 120km. 20 Km from the refuel a hasty stop was made to replace a flat tire with only 20 minutes in hand when reaching the refuel point. We opted to keep on running with the power steering as patched for the second loop, encountering no further problems. A thorough cheque was made of the car during the overnight stop, adjusting one wheel bearing, filling up with fuel and some oils we were ready for day 3. Not being able to repair the power steering hose we had to be content to have to stop every 120km and refill power steering fluid.

With the Hug Bug of Paulo Piazza-Musso and Scott Abraham reported being out of the race and the Nissan Safari of Franco Pieterse and Roelof van Heerden 1 1/2 hour behind we only needed to finish day 3 to win our class.

Starting in the 51st position we came in for the refuel in 33rd position, a satisfying improvement. With fuel filled up and a full 5l of power steering fluid obtained from the Toyota team we headed of for the last 260km. Catching some of the other class D competitors and passing them, later only to let them pass when we had to stop to refill power steering fluid made for some interesting racing.

61Km from the end disaster struck, total loss of brakes. We were just entering the rocky sections and various river crossings. With 2 hours in hand before time bar, we made the decision to passé our speed, and make for the flag at a crawling speed. Down shifting heavily into first at one stage a severe crunching sound indicated further damage to the drive train. With 20 km to go we could only hope that what ever had broken would last to the end. Every km was counted down. Killing the motor 200m from the chequered flag we rolled over the finishing line with a feeling of joy and cheers from our anxious awaiting crew.

A finish and a class win was an exceptional reward for us as we have now broken the drought of finishers.

-Frank and Dalene De Greef

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Series Other rally