Magalies 400: Toyota championship summary

TOYOTA WIN SA MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP Toyota clinched the prestige South African Manufacturer's Championship at the RFS Magalies 400, the final event of the Absa Off Road Championship, which finished at the Tarlton International Raceway over...

TOYOTA WIN SA MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP

Toyota clinched the prestige South African Manufacturer's Championship at the RFS Magalies 400, the final event of the Absa Off Road Championship, which finished at the Tarlton International Raceway over the weekend.

Toyota ended with three teams in the top five in the overall and SP Class results. The factory crew of Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin, in the Castrol Toyota Hilux, led the way with second place overall and in the premier SP Class.

Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, in the privateer Castrol Toyota Hilux, were fourth with George and Sharon Barkhuizen completing the top five in the Ruwacon Toyota Hilux. For the Ruwacon husband and wife team it was their best result of the season. Three other SP Class crews, led by the Malelane Toyota pair of Johan and Werner Horn in a Toyota Land Cruise, finished in the top 10. The Horns were seventh and were followed by Anthony Taylor/Robin Houghton (Castrol Toyota Hilux) and Mike Thomsett and Brian Haviland in the Imperial Feltex Toyota Hilux in eighth and 10th respectively.

For the factory crew of Taylor/Houghton and the Thomsett/Haviland pairing the event was full of incident. A broken propshaft early in the race cost Taylor/Houghton wads of time, while Thomsett and Haviland were hit by a spectator's vehicle at a road crossing late in the race.

"We only had two-wheel drive for most of the first loop," said Taylor. "We were determined to score points for Toyota and the service crew did a good job at the designated service point.

"It was a bit of a let down but we saw it out to the finish and that was important for Robin and I and for the team."

At the end of the race the Thomsett/Haviland vehicle carried the battle scars of the brush with the spectator vehicle. No one was hurt in the incident.

For Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn (Micaren Exel Toyota Hilux) and Chris du Plooy and Ewald van Rensburg (RFS Toyota Hilux) the final fling ended in disappointment. Mechanical problems forced the de Bruyn's to call it a day, and the RFS Toyota Hilux retired with power steering maladies.

Outgoing Class D driver's champion Cliff Weichelt finished his season on a high note. Weichelt and Nico Els (N1 4x4 Toyota Hilux D4D) took a solid second place in class, with Christiaan du Plooy and Henk van Jansen Vuuren showing a welcome return to form with third in the RFS Toyota Hilux.

Maret and Ramon Bezuidenhout showed plenty of character in the Team Barberspan Toyota Hilux. They lost time fixing a broken power steering and held on for sixth place ahead of Johan Fouche and Wentzel Pretorius in another Toyota Hilux.

Class E champions Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux (Team Barberspan Toyota Hilux) were content to stroll to fourth place. The win went to newcomers Diederik and Danie Hattingh (Toyota Hilux) in an impressive performance.

Malcolm Kock and Wayne Brink (Toyota Hilux) finished their season on a high note with a comfortable second place. It was not a happy ending, however, for Dewald van Breda/Johann du Toit (Potch Plastics Toyota Hilux) and Deon Venter/Ian Palmer (4x4 Megaworld Toyota Hilux) with both crews having weekends they would like to forget with neither team making it to the start.

"It was a solid performance through the ranks," said Toyota Motorsport manager William Haddad. "The privateers did us proud throughout the season, and with a little luck the factory team could have come away with more than just the one overall victory. "We aim to address that situation next season."

-credit: saor

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Ian Palmer , Japie Badenhorst