CHAMPIONSHIP LEADERS CRASH OUT OF SUN CITY 400 PROLOGUE Sun City - Production Vehicle championship leaders Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst suffered a setback today when they rolled out of the Donaldson Prologue, a race within a race to...
CHAMPIONSHIP LEADERS CRASH OUT OF SUN CITY 400 PROLOGUE
Sun City - Production Vehicle championship leaders Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst suffered a setback today when they rolled out of the Donaldson Prologue, a race within a race to determine start positions for tomorrow's Sun City 400, in the Pilanesberg.
Visser and Badenhorst (RFS/Visser Transport Toyota Hilux) lead the championship after two wins in three races this season. But after hitting a low bank today and rolling the Hilux the pair face an uphill repair battle if they are to start from the back of the field tomorrow.
"It was a slow roll but there is a fair bit of damage to the vehicle," said Visser. "We'll burn some midnight oil and hopefully we can salvage some points."
The fastest time went to privateers Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen, in the Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux, who bounced back from disappointments on the Toyota Dealer 400 and the Atlas Copco Sugarbelt 400. But they were just 11 seconds ahead of the Castrol Toyota Hilux factory crew of Anthony Taylor and Robin Houghton who are hungry for an overdue win.
"We lost our GPS about 15 kilometres into the route, but Robin did a great job and we are well placed," said Taylor. "But it is all about tomorrow and the team needs the win."
With other crews running into a variety of problems Thomas Rundle and former South African champion Juan Mohr were third fastest in the Barden Nissan Navara. After two non-finishes in a row the Barden team also needs a good result and will start only three seconds behind the factory car.
The father and son crew of Willem and Dana Vos (Vossies Toyota Hilux) produced their best result of the season with fourth fastest. Right behind the Rustenburg crew, and separated by just two seconds are the two Regent Racing Nissan Navaras crewed by Terence Marsh/Buks Carolin and Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson.
Former champions Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer, in the factory Ford Racing Ranger TDCi and Louw de Bruyn/Riaan Greyling (Ruwacon Racing Ford Ranger) completed the top eight.
Veteran former champion Hannes Grobler and Hennie ter Stege sneaked into the top 10 in their first outing in the new RFS BMW, while reigning driver's champion Duncan Vos and Rob Howie, in the second factory Castrol Toyota Hilux, will start 13th. The pair lost time when they picked up a puncture and could not find a level piece of ground on which to jack up the car.
Reigning champions Dewald van Breda and Johann du Toit (Northam Toyota Hilux) set the pace in Class D. The Potchefstroom crew came in ahead of Deon Venter and Ian Palmer in their first outing in the 4x4 Megaworld Toyota Hilux.
A second 4x4 Megaworld Toyota in the hands of Pikkie Labuschagne and Rikus Erasmus led home the Class E contingent. Gerald le Roux/Willem Pretorius (Ruwacon Ford Ranger) and teenager Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable (Ford Racing Ranger) were second and third with all three crews having won this season.
The race starts at 8am at the Sun City complex, which is also home to race headquarters and the designated service point. Public access to the start/finish, service point and 13 spectator areas along the route is free of charge.
FORMER CHAMPIONS WIN SPECIAL VEHICLE PROLOGUE ON SUN CITY 400
Sun City - Former South African champions Kallie Sullwald and son Quentin hit top form when they won the Donaldson Prologue at the Sun City 400 here today.
The Sullwald's, in the Elegant Fuel Racing BAT, finished just four seconds ahead of Bevan Bertholdt/Danie Stassen (lab88 BAT) in what was a race within a race to determine start positions for round four of the Absa Off Road Championship.
"We had one wrong slot that cost us a little time but otherwise we had a clean run," said the younger Sullwald. "All today did was confirm that this is going to be another tight and very tough race."
The experienced Bertholdt and Stassen, having their first outing in a new BAT, came up with a highly encouraging performance. They were, however, only 14 seconds clear of another father and son combination in Nardus and Louis Alberts in the Wrapsa BAT.
The top five were completed by Colin Matthews/Alan Smith (Century Racing BAT) and reigning SA driver's champion Evan Hutchison and new co-driver Darryl Curtis in the Motorite BAT. Curtis is a multiple South African off road motorcycle champion and is having his first outing on four wheels.
"At least you can't fly over the handlebars," quipped Curtis after the 60 kilometre prologue. "It was fun and I'm looking forward to the race."
The biggest losers, despite reporting a clean run, were overall championship leaders Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau in the Total Motorsport Porter. The pair have won twice this season but will start 15th and have a small mountain to climb.
Behind the first five Class A cars the scene is set for a terrific Class P battle between championship leaders Johan van Staden and James Rossouw (Atlas Copco BAT) and brothers David and Gary White in the Ruwacon Racing BAT. The two crews finished sixth and seventh and posted identical times.
Third were reigning drivers' champion Johan Bezuidenhout and brother Deon in the Adenco BAT. The Cape pair were just over a minute in arrears.
The fastest time in Class B went to another Adenco entry. Bes Bezuidenhout and daughter-in-law Lindie outpaced another father/daughter combination in Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne in the Raysonics Zarco Lite with both veteran drivers making their first appearances of the season.
Tomorrow's race starts at 8am with race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service point all located within the Sun City complex. Entry to the start/finish, the designated service point and 13 spectator points along the route is free of charge.