Toyota Dealer 400 review

The Proudly South African Nissan team finished first and second overall on the Toyota Dealer 400, the penultimate round of the 2003 SA Off Road Car Racing Championship--presented by Absa, in the Lydenburg area today. Production Vehicle ...

The Proudly South African Nissan team finished first and second overall on the Toyota Dealer 400, the penultimate round of the 2003 SA Off Road Car Racing Championship--presented by Absa, in the Lydenburg area today.

Production Vehicle Championship leaders and winners of five of the six events this year to date, Hannes Grobler and Richard Leeke, fought off a determined charge from team mates Duncan Vos and Mike Griffith, who finished second, Apie Reyneke and Robin Houghton (Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser) who lead at various times during the event and eventually finished third and early race leaders Neil Woolridge and Ken Skjoldhammer (Team Ford Racing Ranger) who retired with rear differential problems at the end of the second loop.

The pace was intense and Grobler/Leeke, Vos/Griffith, Reyneke/Houghton and Woolridge/Skjoldhammer ran nose to tail for much of the dusty race with each crew having a turn at leading at one stage or another.

Class E championship leaders Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin (Castrol Toyota Hilux 2700i) finished fourth overall in the Production Vehicle category to clinch the Class E championship while father and son Cliff and Louis Weichelt picked up their second Class D win of the season in the N1 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser.

The scene was set for a long overdue Special Vehicle overall win after Gary Bertholdt and Brandon Harcus qualified fastest in Friday's Prologue but it was not to be.

Bertholdt and Harcus (Adrenalise Corporate Entertainment BAT) lead from the start but then wrong slotted and landed in a hole, which cost them 30 minutes. They eventually finished fifth to give BAT Racing a clean sweep of the top five positions.

Newcomers to Class A, Clint Gibson and Mike Brown (Praesidium Financial Services BAT) took over the Special Vehicle lead and had matters well under control until 30km from the finish. They hit a big ditch and broke a left front upper control arm and were forced to limp home with the wheel askew.

To make matters worse and with a debut victory in sight they took a wrong turn in the pit complex and Mark Corbett and Juan Mohr (Century Property Developments BAT) nipped through and won by 49 seconds.

Husband and wife Gerhard and Kobie du Plessis started 38th overall this morning and worked their way through the field to finish third overall in the Mobil Jimco.

Andrew Birkin won Class B in the WPP Winfoot with Special Vehicle and Class B championship leader Giel Nel second in the LUK Africa Truggy.

Nardus Alberts and Colin Hunter won Class S in the Wrapsa Raceco.

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Mike Brown , Mark Corbett , Duncan Vos
Teams AT Racing