Family affair in Special Vehicle category qualifying at Vryburg 400
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media)
06 September 2013
FAMILY AFFAIR IN SPECIAL VEHICLE CATEGORY QUALIFYING AT VRYBURG 400
Vryburg, Friday – It was a family affair at the front of the Special Vehicle category qualifying race at the Vryburg 400, round six of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, here today.
Championship leaders Hermann and Wichard Sullwald, in the Elegant Fuel Stryker, lead home Quintin and Kallie Sullwald in the Elegant Fuel BAT Venom with 17 seconds separating the two cars. Hermann and Kallie Sullwald are brothers, Wichard and Quintin Sullwald are cousins and both crews are former South African champions.
Celebration in the Sullwald camp, however, where put on temporary hold when Hermann and Wichard provided for plenty of late drama. Five kilometres from the finish they broke a steering rod, demolished a fence and, in the process, were left without brakes. Sullwald senior was forced to steer the car with the cut brake and arriving at the flying finish the pair hit a tree and rearranged the front suspension.
“Hitting the tree was the only way I could stop the car,” said Hermann afterwards. “The last five kilometres were really hairy but we’ll fix the damage and be ready for the race.
“With the championship tightly poised we need every point we can grab.”
With national championship cross country racing returning to the Vryburg area for the first time in more than 20 years crews were greeted with hot and dusty Kalahari conditions and a flat and technical route that provided co-drivers with their toughest outing of the season.
Third place in their best qualifying performance of the championship so far went to Philip de Vries and Johan Viljoen (Conqueror Porter) who were just 11 seconds adrift of Quintin and Kallie Sullwald. The Sullwalds ran into navigation problems within two kilometres of the start but fought back despite overheating problems towards the end of the 60 kilometre route.
De Vries and Viljoen had a steady run to earn a cushion of 38 seconds over the husband and wife team of Marius and Jolinda Fourie (PHB BAT) who were under serious pressure from Neil Meyer and Joseph Lewis (Maxxis/LiquiMoly/Rockstar Zarco Challenger) and veteran Nardus Alberts and son Louis in the Wrapsa BAT. The Fouries had two seconds to spare over Meyer and Lewis with the Alberts pair another five seconds in arrears.
The top eight were rounded out by reigning South African champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen in the Motorite BAT Viper and the father/daughter combination of Coetzee and Sandra Labuschagne in the Chem Systems Zarco. Hutchison and Stassen were also a crew to battle with finding and staying on the right route and were two minutes and 11 seconds behind the first car.
“This was probably the toughest qualifying race for co-drivers that I can remember,” said Hutchison. “At times it was almost impossible to find our way and our final result could have been worse.”
The Labuscagne’s were the quickest of the Class P entries with the biggest losers on the day the Century Racing pair of Colin Matthews and Julien Hardy in the Century Racing CR3. Matthews won the recent Sun City 400 with Rodney Burke and he and Hardy were among the pre-race favourites.
The pair were forced out with a burst water pipe. That led to engine damage which could ensure they would sit out the rest of the race.
Second in Class P were championship leaders John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten in a Zarco Magnum. They were around 40 seconds behind the Labuscagnes and were comfortably ahead of debutants Sean Reitz and the experienced George Smalberger in the Regent Racing Jimco.
Tomorrow’s race starts from the Vryburg Motor Club at 08:30 with race headquarters and the designated service park at the club. Public entrance to these areas and spectator points along the route is free of charge.
Follow the Donaldson Cross Country Championship action on:
Family affair in Special Vehicle category qualifying at Vryburg 400.pdf (237kB)
2013 Vryburg 400 - Qualifying Results.pdf (125kB)