Top teams enter for Dakar Challenge
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media)
15 June 2012
TOP TEAMS ENTER FOR DAKAR CHALLENGE
A string of top crews in the Absa Off Road Championship will be hoping the Dakar Challenge, run conjunction with the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race from June 22 to 24, will gain them free entry into the 2013 Dakar Rally.
Former South African champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst lead a string of high profile – with some not so high profile names also included in the entry list – in what is going to develop into races within a race. Crews from both the Production and Special Vehicle categories have entered the Dakar Challenge, and will clash head to head with the prize a free entry into the 2013 Dakar Rally in South America.
Visser and Badenhorst, the 2010 Production Vehicle champions, will be joined by Ford Racing team-mates Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable. Other notable SP Class entries include Thomas Rundle/Juan Mohr (Barden Tyres Services Nissan Navara), Deon Venter/Ian Palmer (4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux), Gary Bertholdt/Siegfried Rousseau (Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux), Christiaan du Plooy/Henk Janse van Vuuren (RFS BMW) and Pikkie Labuschagne/Rikus Erasmus in the Ruwacon Racing Toyota Hilux.
Also among the Production Vehicle entries are reigning Class D champions Jack and Sarel Oosthuizen in the LMC Land Rover. There have also been entries from two Class E crews in championship leaders Dirk Putter/Koos Claasens (Elite Furniture Removals Toyota Hilux) and Johan Griffioen/Willem Marais in the Force Fuel Toyota Hilux.
The Special Vehicle entries are led by Johan van Staden/Mike Lawrenson (Atlas Copco BAT), the father and son combination of Nick and Ryan Harper (Motorite Revo 4x4) and the husband and wife team of Marius and Jolinda Fourie in the PHB BAT. Ruwacon Racing will also be represented by David and Gary White and Pieter Ruthven/Leander Pienaar, with Botswana driver Keith du Toit linking up with Lesotho co-driver Ashley Thorn in the White Star Racing BAT.
Two Class P crews have also taken the plunge along with Class B pair Johan Steyn and Saun van der Berg who have done most of their racing in the Northern Region championship. Class P newcomers Johan Wiese/Cois Mare, in a Raceco, and Ben Kruger/Etienne Nienaber, in a Jimco, will also take on some heavyweight opposition.
“The Dakar Challenge has added an extra dimension to the race,” said South African National Off Road Association chief executive Richard Schilling. “While entries from top crews were always to be expected, it is nice to see some of the lesser known teams throwing their hats into the ring.”
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