Jeep Team Sugarbelt summary

The Atlas Copco / Chicago Pneumatic Jeep Off Road Team of Scott Abraham (22) and Richard Carolin (54) beat the odds to finish the past weekend's Nissan Sugarbelt 400, round two of the SA Off Road Championship - presented by Bankfin, ABSA's ...

The Atlas Copco / Chicago Pneumatic Jeep Off Road Team of Scott Abraham (22) and Richard Carolin (54) beat the odds to finish the past weekend's Nissan Sugarbelt 400, round two of the SA Off Road Championship - presented by Bankfin, ABSA's specialist vehicle finance division - in the Eston area near Pietermaritzburg.

The 5,9 litre V8 powered Jeep picked up a puncture during the 50km Prologue on Friday and the crew was faced with the prospect of a midfield starting position but their spirits were lifted when a cane fire caused the cancellation of the Prologue and the organisers decided to start competitors according a seeding list.

Based on Abraham and Carolin's recent performances they were seeded 12th, which meant they would have to contend with less dust in the opening stages of the 390km main event.

By the end of the first 130km lap they were tenth on the road and intent on hunting down the pack ahead of them. Midway through the second lap they had moved up to sixth on the road but then disaster struck. Abraham, the youngest driver in the field and in only his second stint behind the wheel of the two-wheel drive Jeep, misjudged a corner and the Jeep ended up in a ditch.

Carolin trekked through the cane fields in search of a tractor and an hour later they were able to extract the 2800kg Jeep from the ditch and went on to finish fifth in Class T.

The pair finished third in Class T on the season opening Nissan Dealer 400 in the Western Cape,which combined with their Nissan Sugarbelt 400 result places them joint second, with former champions Neil Woolridge and Ken Skjoldhammer in the Team Ford Racing Ranger, in the Class T championship.

The Goodyear shod Atlas Copco / Chicago Pneumatic Jeep Off Road Team's next outing will be on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana from 13-15 June 2003 and Abraham and Carolin will be looking to add to their championship points tally.

-sa-

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