Superteam enters three cars for Desert Race

'Superteam' enters three cars on Toyota 1000 Desert Race. The O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam has entered three vehicles for the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, round three of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, in Botswana from June 21 to ...

'Superteam' enters three cars on Toyota 1000 Desert Race.

The O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam has entered three vehicles for the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, round three of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, in Botswana from June 21 to 23.

Special Vehicle and Class A championship leaders John Weir-Smith and Tony George will again be out in the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel BMW Jimco, with the car being rebuilt after the pair's win on the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 in KwaZulu-Natal. Richard Carolin and Geoff Minnitt will also campaign in the Special Vehicle category in a Raceco entered in Class S.

Superteam management has abandoned its plan for shared drives in the Jeep. From the Toyota 1000 Desert Race Paolo Piazza-Musso and Franz Czepek Sr. will alternate on an event-by-event basis. For the Toyota 1000 Paolo Piazza-Musso and Scott Abraham have been entered in the rebuilt Jeep Cherokee in Class F in the Production Vehicle category.

Technicians at the 'superteam' headquarters in Midrand have been hard at work since the KwaZulu-Natal outing. Apart from rebuilding the Jimco and the Jeep, which rolled down a mountainside 40 kilometres from the finish of the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, they have also been sorting out a side shaft problem that has plagued the Raceco.

"We have been burning the midnight oil," said team spokesperson Arthur Abraham. "The Nissan Sugarbelt 400 was very hard on machinery, and with the Toyota 1000 Desert Race likely to be just as hard, it was felt it would be better to strip and rebuild the Jimco.

"Weir-Smith and George are leading both the Special Vehicle and Class A championships and we don't want to take any chances."

Abraham added that the team had no option but to rebuild the Jeep Cherokee after its mountain experience. The 30 metre roll destroyed body panels and left the vehicle a little worse for wear.

"Franz Czepek and Scott were leading Class F when they went over the mountain, so it was an unfortunate excursion," Abraham said. "Damage wasn't quite as bad as we expected but, again, we have decided to take no chances and the Jeep has been stripped and rebuilt.

"We have also taken the opportunity to fit the Jeep with a new high performance engine, and the side shaft problem that has plagued the Raceco has also been addressed."

Abraham added that after all the work on the three vehicles, the team was looking forward to good results on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race. The Botswana event is one of the highlights of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, and offers conditions that are a contrast to the Nissan Sugarbelt 400.

"After two 'sprint' races this season, the Toyota 1000 Desert Race is also the first 'marathon' event of the year," said Abraham. "This places a premium on reliability, and after all the hard work that has gone into the three vehicles we will be looking for good returns.

"There is plenty of opposition out there, but we will be ready for them."

-msa-

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