Variawa/Rousseau continue good form on Sun City 400 Prologue
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media)
27 July 2009
Sun City, Friday – Toyota 1000 Desert Race winners Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau continued their good form when they won the Special Vehicle prologue for tomorrow’s Sun City 400 in the Pilanesberg.
The race is round five of the Absa Off Road Championship with Variawa and Rousseau, in the Total Porter, hoping for a repeat of history. After winning last year’s Toyota 1000 Desert Race the pair scored two more wins on the trot to mount a strong championship challenge.
“We had a clean run and hopefully it will be the same in the race,” said Variawa. “It would be nice to win this race two year’s in a row, and we have a little leeway to make up in the championship.
“It is important to get a good start position out of the prologue, and we got what we wanted without taking chances.”
Variawa and Rousseau came in 37 seconds ahead of Kallie and Quintin Sullwald, in the Sullwald Racing BAT, with the reigning champions having a disappointing season so far. They are virtually out of the championship reckoning but would like to grab a win or two over the rest of the season.
Third fastest were Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer in the 4x4 Century Racing CR2. Reliability has been a problem, however, and the pair will be looking to give the car its first race finish in 12 outings.
The top five was completed by Nick and Ryan Harper in the Atlas Copco BAT and Jan Kraaij and Tiddo Voogt in the Keymax BAT. It was a fine performance by former champion Kraaij and Voogt, who is the reigning Class B driver’s champion, with the pair setting the pace in Class P.
It was not a happy day for championship leaders Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann, in the Motorite Revo1 4x4, who were hit by a puncture. It cost them around three minutes and dropped them down to 10th in the Special vehicle category and 23rd on the road.
Hutchison and Bergmann have won three times this year and have a comfortable championship lead. The pair, however, have never won the Sun City 400 and crashed out of last year’s event.
There was something of an upset in Class B where Toyota 1000 Desert Race winners Derick du Toit and Ian Pienaar (Orange Tree BAT) were upstaged by Simon Beckett and Tim Curtis in the Century Racing BAT. Third fastest were Bez Bezuidenhout and son Deon, in the Adenco BAT, with the pair needing a good run after two did not finish results in a row.
Class P leaders Kraaij and Voogt were 52 seconds clear of veteran Ernest Corbett and son-in-law Warwick Goosen, in the futuristic Century Racing CR2. Corbett and Goosen, in turn, had a 19 second lead over John Weir-Smith and Richard Carolin in the Men’s Health Zarco.
Weir-Smith/Carolin were under extreme pressure from Johan van Staden and James Rossouw, in the KEC BAT, who were only a further two seconds in arrears. It adds up to a good scrap in a class that gets more competitive with every race.
The race starts at 08:00 at the Sun City complex with a spectator friendly route providing for viewing points within 50 kilometres of the start/finish. The designated service park is also at the start/finish with the first cars expected at around 13:30.