document : Special Vehicle surprises on Atlas Copco Gold 450

Special Vehicle surprises on Atlas Copco Gold 450
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media) 29 November 2014


Glenharvie, Friday – End of season events are prone to upset results and today’s Special Vehicle qualifying race for the Atlas Copco Gold 450 here tomorrow – the final round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship – was no exception.

Making a rare outing in the new Century Racing CR5 the experienced pairing of Mark Corbett and Juan Mohr grabbed pole position ahead of Sarel van Biljon and Phillip Herselman, in the Atlas Copco BAT. Testing in Dubai paid off for Corbett and Mohr and they came home three minutes ahead of van Biljon and Herselman, in the Atlas Copco BAT, who were having their first outing in a Special Vehicle after campaigning in the Production Vehicle category.

“We were quite comfortable in the car,” said Herselman, with the pair relegating South African champions Quintin and Kallie Sullwald to third place in the Elegant Fuel Bat Venom. With the overall and Class A titles already in the bag, the Sullwalds went into the race without any pressure to worry about and produced a controlled performance over a wet 100 kilometre route to determine race grid positions.

The absence of Gerhard/Hardus du Plessis (Jimco) and Laurence du Plessis/Gielie le Roux (Zarco) defused an interesting battle with reigning champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen (Motorite BAT Viper) for the minor championship placings. A handful of points separated the three crews in the overall and Class A title chases and, as it was, a puncture accompanied by a problem changing the wheel saw Hutchison/Stassen drop to 10th overall and seventh in Class A.

In one of their best performances of the season Brett Parker and VZ van Zyl (Sizanani Jimco) came home fourth ahead of Wichard Sullwald and brother-in-law Byron Sykes, in the Elegant Fuel Porter Stryker. An adventurous afternoon saw Sullwald and Sykes roll the car, which landed back on its wheels, in the first 10 kilometres and the pair finished with no GPS and had to rely entirely on the road book for navigation purposes.

Sullwald/Sykes were followed by the first of the Class P contingent where there is an interesting championship situation. Colin Matthews and Rodney Burke (Century Racing CR3) edged out Swazi pair John Thomson and Clint McNamara, in a Zarco, with KwaZulu-Natal crew James Watson and John Thompson third in a BAT.

Matthews and Burke have no championship interest, and reigning champions Thomson and Maurice Zermatten lead Watson/Thompson by 15 points – with Zermatten missing the race through overseas business commitments. Clint McNamara is deputising for Zermatten and suffered from motion sickness but, as matters stand, Watson and Thompson face an uphill battle if they are to sneak the championship via the back door.

With plenty at stake the duel between Thomson/McNamara and Watson/Thompson provides for a little late season drama that will liven up proceedings.

Tomorrow’s race will start at 8:30 with the event headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park all situated at the Kloof Country Club in Glenharvie. Public entrance to these areas and spectator points along the route is free of charge.
Special Vehicle surprises on Atlas Copco Gold 450.pdf (235kB)

2014 Atlas Copco Gold 400 - Final Qualifying Results.pdf (133kB)

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