document : Castrol Team Toyota first and third in Atlas Copco 400 prologue

Castrol Team Toyota first and third in Atlas Copco 400 prologue
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media) 21 May 2011

Castrol Team Toyota first and third in Atlas Copco 400 prologue

The Castrol Toyota team of Duncan Vos/Rob Howie and Anthony Taylor/Chris Birkin are well poised to fight for a maiden national off road car championship victory this weekend in their Super Production V8 Toyota Hilux Double Cabs.

In today’s 72km prologue to determine the start order for tomorrow’s 330-km Atlas Copco 400, held in the Dundee area of KwaZulu-Natal, the pair fell a tantalising two seconds short of completing a dominant 1-2. Taylor took the line honours in a fast time of 1 hr 1 min 6 sec, a clear 52 seconds ahead of reigning off road champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst (Ford Ranger) with Castrol Toyota team-mate and former champion Vos just two seconds further back.

“It was a challenging course,” said Taylor. “The route was well-marked and it was nice to race over roads we have never used before. There were some tricky rocky sections and water hazards, but the Hilux came through with flying colours.”

The Toyota sandwich with a Ford filling will lead off a strong field of 57 national and 14 regional entries (split over the production and special vehicle categories) starting from 08.30 tomorrow morning.

“We have a great opportunity to pull off a win this weekend,” said team principal Glyn Hall. “Anthony and Duncan did what they had to do this afternoon and now we must take full advantage of our good start positions. There’s a lot of racing to come tomorrow over a brand new route (although the first of the race’s four loops centred on the Battlefields Country Lodge outside Dundee will be a repeat of the prologue), but we’re confident we have the pace and the reliability to stay in front.”

Fourth production vehicle away on Saturday will be the diesel BMW X3 of former champion Hannes Grobler and Hennie ter Stege, who will start 2,5 sec behind Taylor and Birkin. The next three places are all occupied by Toyota Hiluxes with Willem and Dana Vos fifth ahead of Malcolm Kock and Johan Burger and Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen.

Michael Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson are eighth in a Nissan Navara and the top 10 is completed by the BMW X3 of Christiaan du Plooy and Henk Janse van Vuuren and the Ford Ranger of Kobus van Tonder and Freddie Kriel.

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Tags | Motorsport | 2011 Atlas Copco 400 | Cross Country Commission (Media) |