Problems for title contenders on Atlas Copco Gold 450
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media)
29 November 2014
PROBLEMS FOR TITLE CONTENDERS ON ATLAS COPCO GOLD 450
Glenharvie, Friday – Both contenders for the Production Vehicle overall and Class T championships ran into problems on the qualifying race today for the final round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship here tomorrow.
The qualifying race determines race grid positions and both reigning champions Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy, in the Team Castrol Toyota Hilux, and brothers Johan and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Hilux) had unhappy outings in wet conditions after heavy rain in the lead up to the event. Former champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, in the Atlas Copco Ford Ranger, will start in pole position ahead of Jason Venter/Vincent van Allemann (4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux) and Gary Bertholdt/Siegfried Rousseau in the second factory Atlas Copco Ford Ranger.
Taylor/Murphy, needing fourth place to take the overall title and third place to win the premier Class T title, were the worst off of the only two crews capable of taking the overall and Class T championships. The Castrol Toyota pair ran out of brakes 30 kilometres into the 100 kilometre qualifying race, lost 30 minutes and will start from the back of the field in the mass start.
For their part the Horns had a puncture, got lost and had no windscreen wipers. They came home 15th overall in the Production Vehicle category, and ninth in Class T for vehicles over four litres with independent rear suspension.
Taylor/Murphy lead the Horns by 14 points in the overall title chase – with 25 points for a win – and today’s result makes life a little difficult for the works Castrol Toyota pair. The Horns, however, also have a tough task ahead of them and the championship battles are still wide open.
Former champions Visser and Badenhorst, looking for a second successive win, finished three minutes ahead of Venter and van Allemann. The North West youngsters are starting to show their true potential, and were around 90 seconds ahead of Bertholdt and Rousseau.
It was a good day for the Venter family with Deon Venter, father of Jason, and Jaco van Aardt (4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux) fourth overall and the leading car in Class S for vehicles up to four litres with solid axle rear suspension. Venter is locked in a three-way fight for the driver’s title in Class S, and will go into the race with a major advantage over Louw de Bruin/Riaan Greyling, in the diesel powered Ruwacon Ford Ranger, and former South African champions Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux in the Ruwacon Toyota Hilux.
De Bruin/Greyling were fifth in Class S and Visser/le Roux ninth. There is a 10 point spread in the driver title race, with Greyling and le Roux fighting it out in the co-driver championship.
The final event of the year is always prone to shock results with Etienne Nienaber and Dewaal Ferreira (Toyota Hilux) fifth overall and second in Class S. They upstaged Leeroy Poulter/Rob Howie, who were sixth overall in the second Castrol Toyota Hilux, with the top eight completed by Archie Rutherford/Matthew Carlson, in the Regent Racing Nissan Navara running in Class S, and an impressive performance from Graham and Trevor Leith in the Transcor Ford Ranger in Class T.
Tomorrow’s race starts at 8:30 with race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park all situated at the Kloof Country Club in Glenharvie. There is free public entry to these areas as well as spectator points along the route.
Problems for title contenders on Atlas Copco Gold 450.pdf (234kB)
2014 Atlas Copco Gold 400 - Final Qualifying Results.pdf (133kB)