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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: No surprises in ABSA Off Road points positions.

As is to be expected after only one round, there are no major surprises in the Absa Off Road Championship points standings after the Nissan Dealer 400 in the Western Cape earlier this month. With almost no exception drivers and co-drivers occupying the top slots in the various classes in both the Production Vehicle and Special Vehicle categories, are names one would expect to see heading leaderboards. There were a couple of under achievers in the Western Cape, but the indications are there that once again championship issues are going to be close.

The size of the entry list for the Nissan Dealer 400 will also have left MSA Off Road Car Racing officials beaming. There were 66 entries for the event with 64 vehicles starting the prologue and 62 vehicles the race proper.

On the Production Vehicle front victory for the Proudly South African Nissan Navara pair of reigning champions Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan, saw the veteran pair take the early lead in both the overall and Super Production Class categories. After an encouraging start to the season Mark Cronje/Chris Birkin (Castrol Toyota Hilux) are second in both championships and are followed by former champions Duncan Vos and Ralph Pitchford in a second Proudly South African Nissan Navara.

Nissan crews also set the pace in Class D where Jurie and Arnold du Plessis, in the BB Auto Nissan Hardbody, lead Coetzee Labuscagne and Johan Gerber in the Raysonics Nissan Hardbody. Filling out the top three are lone Toyota crew Cliff and Louis Weichelt in the new Bosal Toyota Hilux D4D.

Toyota’s class win in the Western Cape came in Class E via Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux in a Toyota Hilux. That gives them an early championship lead over Jack Peckham and Lucio Santoro, in the factory Ford Ranger, and Castrol Toyota Hilux works pair Brian Martin and Ockie Fourie, and Thomas Rundle/Brian Roberts in the Barden Tyre Services Nissan Hardbody.

Where the prestige South African Manufacturers Championship is concerned, Nissan have taken the early initiative ahead of arch rivals and current champions Toyota. Solid performances throughout the classes see Nissan into an early 17 point lead.

The Motorite BAT pair of Evan Hutchison/Achim Bergman and reigning champions Alfie Cox and Hennie ter Steege lead both the Special Vehicle and Class A title chases. Nick Harper and son Ryan, in the Atlas Copco BAT, are third ahead of former champion Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau (Total Porter) and Karl Heinz Sullwald and Mannetjies Helberg in the Sullwald Transport Zarco.

Hendrik and Jan Kraaij (Keymax BAT) were among the finds of last season, and take an early lead in the drivers and co-drivers championships in Class B. They edge out Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout in the Adenco BAT with Bez Bezuidenhout and Johan de Bruyn third in another Adenco BAT. Veteran former champion Giel Nel and Sandra Labuscagne are fourth in the Bosal Zarco, with consistency likely to make the pair a threat. The top five is rounded out by Walter du Plessis in a singleseater.

Down in Class S only one crew made it to the finish in the Western Cape. That gives Richard Schilling/Chris Davies (Plastotech Aceco) and early advantage, with Schilling a former drivers champion and Davies the reigning co-drivers champion. The next round of the Absa Off Road Championship will be the Nissan Hluhluwe 400 on April 13 and 14.

2007/03/26 | 14:33 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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