MORE MIXED FORTUNES FOR CASTROL TOYOTA TEAMS There were more mixed fortunes for Castrol Toyota teams on day two of the Toyota Dealer 1000, the penultimate round of the Absa Off Road Championship, which ended in Lydenburg ...
MORE MIXED FORTUNES FOR CASTROL TOYOTA TEAMS
There were more mixed fortunes for Castrol Toyota teams on day two of the Toyota Dealer 1000, the penultimate round of the Absa Off Road Championship, which ended in Lydenburg today.
The event, which is being observed by the FIA, the world controlling body for motorsport, for possible inclusion on the 2006 FIA Cross Country World Cup, started off badly for the Castrol Toyota squad. Class D contenders Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin rolled down a mountain, totally destroying the Castrol Toyota Hilux 2,7i, with Cronje taken to hospital in Nelspruit with possible concussion.
The team was hit by another top withdrawal on day two with Class E championship leaders Zane Pearce and Hennie Vosloo forced to head for home. The pair broke a rear axle early on in the day, and suffered their first 'did not 'finish' result of the season.
"It was disappointing but I suppose the law of averages had to catch up with us," said Pearce. "We are allowed to drop one event for the championship, so it is not a major train smash."
On the bright side, however, provisional results saw Paolo Piazza-Musso and Ockie Fourie running second overall and first in Class D. They trailed overnight leaders Alfie Cox and Ralph Pitchford, in the Nissan Hardbody by around eight minutes.
Gavin Cronje and Robin Houghton, in the Castrol Toyota Hilux, were third in Class D and sixth overall behind the factory Ford Ranger of Manfred Schroeder and Alec Harris. In a tight battle only 17 seconds separated the two crews.
Toyota also led Class E via Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, in the Tyco Trucks Toyota Hilux, who were fourth overall after another sterling effort.
"We had an up and down day," said Piazza-Musso. "The brakes were fading over the last 100 kilometres to the morning service point, and then we had a flat five kilometres from the service area.
"A broken rear shock absorber on the final leg of the day also slowed us down, but we are more than happy to be where we are."
The Cronje/Houghton combination also had a mixed bag day. The pair got lost once or twice and were struggling to keep pace with the cars ahead and behind them.
"It got worse when the gearbox packed in 600 metres from the finish," said Houghton. "We managed to get it into fourth gear but in the process burnt the clutch. It gave the service crew a little extra work, but we replaced the clutch and gearbox and will be ready for tomorrow."
Visser and Badenhorst, for the second day running, battled with overheating problems. A broken front torsion bar also slowed them late in the day.
"It's not looking too bad," said Toyota Motorsport manager Wammy Haddad. "It has been a punishing event, and tomorrow is going to be a fight for survival."