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PRODUCTION VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP DELICATELY POISED With three rounds of the Absa Off Road Championship remaining the Production Vehicle championship is delicately poised and heading for a grandstand finish. Second place on the 4x4 Mega World...

PRODUCTION VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP DELICATELY POISED

With three rounds of the Absa Off Road Championship remaining the Production Vehicle championship is delicately poised and heading for a grandstand finish.

Second place on the 4x4 Mega World 400 at Carnival City has kept privateers Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, in the RFS Toyota Hilux, seven points clear of reigning drivers' champion Duncan Vos and Rob Howie. The win by Vos and Howie at Carnival City gave the factory Castrol Toyota team its first win of the season and provided Howie with a maiden win in the premier SP Class.

Veteran former South African champions Hannes Grobler and Hennie ter Stege kept their championship hopes alive with a maiden podium for the diesel powered RFS BMW, which was having only its third outing. Grobler and ter Stege are 11 points behind the works Castrol Toyota pair and have a 10 point advantage over Sun City 400 winners Terence Marsh and Buks Carolin (Regent Racing Nissan Navara) who were sixth overall in the SP Class at Carnival City.

A hefty time penalty on the 4x4 Mega World 400 did nothing to help Team Ford Ranger pair Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer. They are now more than 30 points behind Visser and Badenhorst and have a mountain to climb.

Despite anomalies in scoring for overall and class results the status quo remains unchanged in the SP Class championship. Here, however, Visser/Badenhorst lead Vos/Howie by only four points with Grobler and ter Stege a further eight points adrift.

There were no classified Class D finishers on the 4x4 Mega World 400. This keeps reigning champions Dewald van Breda and Johann du Toit (Northam Toyota Hilux) at the top of the championship with a 19 point lead over Deon Venter and Ian Palmer who gave the new 4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux an encouraging debut at Carnival City.

The Class E championship is also starting to look interesting and has turned into a two horse race. A second win of the season at Carnival City has taken Pikkie Labuschagne and Rikus Erasmus, in the 4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux, to within nine points of leaders Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable in the Team Ford Ranger.

Teenager Woolridge, in his first season of national racing, and Huxtable finished third at Carnival City behind Hein Moolman and JD Wolfaardt in a third 4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux. For Woolridge the Toyota 1000 Kalahari Botswana Desert Race on September, 24, 25 and 26 later is going to be a test of character.

SPECIAL VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP HOTS UP

The Special Vehicle championship has warmed up following the 4x4 Mega World 400, round five of the Absa Off Road Championship, at Carnival City.

It was not a happy event for championship leaders Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau, in the Total Porter, who now find themselves under pressure over the remaining three events of the season. Variawa/Rousseau failed to finish the Donaldson Prologue after landing in a donga, and retired from the race with a gearbox problem.

The Total team's woes gave other crews the opportunity to close the gap - and they did just that. Only 14 points now separate the first four teams and it is game on! Variawa and Rousseau now lead the overall championship by just six points from 2008 champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald in the Elegant Fuel BAT. The Sullwald's followed up a win on the Sun City 400 with second place at Carnival City.

Seventh overall and second place in Class P kept Atlas Copco BAT crew Johan van Staden and James Rossouw firmly in the championship race. They are in third place and trail the Sullwald's by three points.

Victory on the 4x4 Mega World 400 lifted Herman and Wichard Sullwald (Sullwald Racing SVR) to fourth place in the championship stakes. They are five points behind van Staden and Rossouw and 14 points behind the leaders.

Anomalies in the scoring for overall and class results paints a different picture in Class A where Kallie and Quintin Sullwald are the new leaders. They have a 10 point advantage over Variawa and Rousseau while Nick Harper and Herman Sullwald are tied for third among the drivers.

On the co-driver front Wichard Sullwald is alone in third place. Ryan Harper, who normally sits alongside his father, has missed the last two events through injury. Two wins in a row have lifted Bes Bezuidenhout and daughter-in-law Lindie, in the Adenco BAT, into a commanding Class B lead. Early season leader and reigning champion Derick du Toit, who is also Cape Town based, has missed the last two events.

Van Staden and Rossouw, who early in the season made history by becoming the first Class P crew to win an event overall, still have a healthy lead in the class championship. Van Staden has a 15 point advantage over Archie Rutherford (Regent Racing Jimco), who won at Carnival City, with Swaziland driver John Thomson (Zarco) in third place.

Among the co-drivers Rossouw (71) leads Clinton McNamara (48) who accompanies Thomson. Craig Doubtfire, who was replaced by Jacque le Roux in the Regent Racing car on the 4x4 Mega World 400, is in third place.

The next round of the championship is the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race from September 24 to 26.

-source: saorc

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Series Other rally
Drivers Ian Palmer , Duncan Vos , Japie Badenhorst