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ABSA South African Championship 2007 Special-Newssection

This is the single-news section of the special of the ABSA South African Offroad Championship series 2007. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

ABSA 2007: Grobler win ABSA Nissan Hluhluwe in front of Tollefsen

South African champions Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan made it two in a row today when they won the Production Vehicle category on the Nissan Hluhluwe 400, round two of the Absa Off Road Championship, which ended in Hluhluwe on Sunday. Provisional results saw the veteran pair, in the Nissan Navara, take their second win of the season by a comfortable margin of just over three minutes. But they had to nurse the Navara home on three wheels over the last eight kilometers to also take the Super Production Class honours.

Second were Norwegian driver Ivar Tollefson and Welsh co-driver Qui Evans in another Nissan Navara, with Brandon Harcus/Juan Mohr coming up with a good result for Ford by taking the other podium position in the works Ford Racing Ranger.

Fourth were yet another factory Nissan crew in former SA champions Duncan Vos and Ralph Pitchford who ran into a string of niggly problems that cost them around 15 minutes. A great drive by Class E winners George and Sharon Barkhuizen, in the Ruwacon Toyota Hilux, saw them round out the top five.

"We hade a few problems here and there with overheating and a starter motor that wouldn’t function properly," said Grobler. "Then eight kilometers from the finish we though we had a flat. We were a bit surprised to find we had lost the entire wheel and had to nurse the
car home."

High profile non finishers included both Castrol Toyota Hilux entries in the hands of Mark Cronje/Chris Birkin and Bevan Bertholdt/Robin Houghton, and the second factory Ford Racing Ranger in the hands of former SA champions Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer. A broken ball joint and clutch failure put Bertholdt/Houghton out, a broken steering rack sidelined the other Toyota and the Ford retired with suspension damage after twice being hit from behind by Special Vehicles.

Class D produced surprise package winners in Ramon Bezuidenhout and Stefan Knox who were having their second outing in a Toyota Hilux. They held off Harold and Tiaan Coen, in a Land Rover, with Jurie and Andre du Plessis picking up third place in the BB Auto Nissan Hardbody.

Among the casualties were Coetzee Labuscagne and Johan Gerber in the Raysonics Nissan Hardbody, and brothers Henri and Maurice Zermatten in the Ryobi Nissan Hardbody. Like Woolridge and Skjoldhammer they were forced into retirement when clobbered by a Special Vehicle.

The Barkhuizen husband and wife team, in the Ruwacon Toyota Hilux, had around 40 minutes to spare over factory crew Brian Martin and Ockie Fourie in the Castrol Toyota Hilux. Third place in the ageing Unifreight Mitsubishi Pajero was a great result for Kobus van Tonder and Riaan Guelpa who outlasted some highly fancied crews.

2007/04/16 | 10:26 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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