NISSAN DEALER 400 GETS OFF TO A HIGH-SPEED START The Nissan Dealer 400, round two of the Absa Off Road Championship, got off to a high-speed start in Darling in the Western Cape this afternoon with Nissan Sugarbelt 400 Special Vehicle winners...
NISSAN DEALER 400 GETS OFF TO A HIGH-SPEED START
The Nissan Dealer 400, round two of the Absa Off Road Championship, got off to a high-speed start in Darling in the Western Cape this afternoon with Nissan Sugarbelt 400 Special Vehicle winners Gary Bertholdt and Siegfried Rousseau setting the pace in the 40km Prologue, which determines the starting order for tomorrow's main event that starts at 08h00 at the Darling Club.
Bertholdt and Rousseau set a blistering pace in the Advansoft BAT and completed the Prologue in a time of 28m39s and will start 21 sec. ahead of reigning Production Vehicle Drivers Champion Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan, who won the Production Vehicle category in the season opening event in the Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody.
Third fastest and 20 seconds behind Grobler and Jordaan were reigning Class D champions Alfie Cox and Ralph Pitchford in the ex-Giniel de Villiers Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody who were followed 2m06s later by reigning Special Vehicle champions Atang Makagekgene and Buks Carolin in the Total Jimco with father and son Robert and Gareth Wark fifth fastest and a further 14 seconds behind in the Superpave Chenowth.
Terence Marsh and Michael Whitehouse were sixth fastest and a further 28 seconds adrift in the Nashua Mobile BAT Spec-1 and have Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin in the Class D leading Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.71 only 40 seconds behind them. The Castrol Toyota crew is only nine seconds ahead of archrivals and Class D winners on the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, Manfred Schroder and Alec Harris in the Team Ford Racing Ranger.
Ninth fastest are Class A contenders Bevan Bertholdt and Nick Selemolela in the Itec BAT Spec-1 with Class B winners on the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 Evan Hutchison and Trevor Ormerod in the Class B leading Motorite Racing BAT rounding out the top ten.
The leading Class S crew was Nardus Alberts and Collin Hunter in the Wrapsa Raceco who qualified 14th fastest after the vehicle lost power 15km from the end of the Prologue.
Shameer Variawa and VZ van Zyl will be forced to start near the back of the pack after a throttle linkage broke on the Total Porter and they were forced to limp to the finish of the Prologue. Other notable retirements include John Weir-Smith and Geoff Minnitt who will start from the back of the pack tomorrow after an upper control arm on the front suspension on the Kopanong Hotel Superteam Jimco broke, Cape Town based father and son crew Bes and Ettiene Bezuidenhout and Coetzee Labuschagne and Johan Gerber who have to work through the night to replace the engine block on the Class D Raysonics Nissan Hardbody.
The Nissan Dealer 400 continues with the main event tomorrow, which comprises three laps of a deceptively tough but at times very fast 115km loop. Crews who survived the Prologue will come under starters orders at 08h00 at the Darling Club and there are numerous excellent spectating opportunities along the route.
<pre> Provisional Prologue times: 1 Gary Bertholdt, Siegfried Rousseau BAT 28:39 2 Hannes Grobler, Francois Jordaan Nissan 29:00 3 Alfie Cox, Ralph Pitchford Nissan 29:20 4 Atang Makgekgenene, Buks Carolin Jimco 31:26 5 Rob Wark, Gareth Wark Chenowth 31:40 6 Terence Marsh, Michael Whitehouse BAT Spec 1 32:08 7 Mark Cronje, Chris Birkin Toyota 32:48 8 Manfred Schroder, Alec Harris Ford 32:57 9 Bevan Bertholdt, Nick Selemolela BAT Spec 1 33:14 10 Evan Hutchison, Trevor Ormerod BAT 33:48