Scene set for tough Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media)
27 June 2014
DU PLESSIS/LE ROUX WIN SPECIAL VEHICLE QUALIFYING RACE
Scene set for tough Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1 000 Desert Race
Jwaneng, Botswana - Experienced Laurence du Plessis and newcomer Gielie le Roux threw down the gauntlet to other Special Vehicle category crews when they won the 100 kilometre qualifying race to determine grid position for the start tomorrow of the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race.
The race is round four of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship with double points up for grabs on the only marathon event on the calendar. Crews will complete a 450 kilometre course tomorrow and another 450 kilometres on Sunday, with this year’s route completely new after the event was moved to rural Jwaneng, about 160 kilometres from Gaborone.
A clean run on a route that drew rave notices from crews saw du Plessis and le Roux (Zarco), in only his second national championship event, eke out a 59 second lead over former South African champions Wichard and Hermann Sullwald in the Elegant Fuel Stryker. Le Roux’s father Joks is a former SA champion competing in the Production Vehicle category, while the younger Sullwald is having only his first full race as a driver.
There was a mild surprise when KwaZulu-Natal crew Arthur Barnes and Anthony Usher took the final podium place in a BAT Venom. The pair, however, have performed steadily in their first full season at national level, and currently lie sixth in the overall championship.
For the rest there were no major surprises with crews in no hurry to find themselves in trouble on the first day of a three day race. Fourth place went to championship leaders Gerhard, brother of Laurence, and son Hardus du Plessis in a Jimco.
They were followed by the BAT of the Argazzi brothers, Eduardo and Riccardo, from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were chased home by the first of the Class P entrants in Colin Matthews and Rodney Burke in the Century Racing CR3.
Next up were reigning SA champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen (Motorite BAT Viper) who, after a couple of successive non finishes, will be desperate to take advantage of the double points on offer. Former SA champions Quintin and Kallie Sullwald (Elegant Fuel BAT Viper) were eighth and will have their eyes on wiping out a nine point deficit to du Plessis and his teenage son at the top of the championship.
Brett Parker and VZ van Zyl (Sizanani Plastics Jimco) and Derick du Toit/Andrew Makenete (CRC BAT) rounded out the top 10 to provide the makings of two days of close and dramatic racing.
As was expected Matthews and Burke dominated Class P. They were just on four minutes clear of second placed Nic Goslar and Andrew Massey (SA Clinics Zarco) with KwaZulu-Natal crew James Watson and John Thompson third in a BAT.
Reigning Class P champions John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten, in a Zarco, and a second KZN crew in Iain Maclean and Luke van Doort (BAT) completed the top five. The rest of the Class P brigade cannot match Matthews/Burke for sheer pace, and will be basing their victory hopes on reliability.
The move from Kumakwane to rural Jwaneng has produced a Dakar Rally type bivouac event with the race generating a strong family atmosphere. Tomorrow’s first racing section will be run over two laps of approximately 225 kilometres, with a compulsory 15 minute halt after the first loop.
Follow the Donaldson Cross Country Championship action on:
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