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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: Visser/Badenhorst surprise production prologue winners.

Former Class D and E champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, in the Castrol Toyota Hilux, today upstaged more fancied runners to win the Production Vehicle category prologue for the ABSA-Run Ford Motorite 400, which starts last week in South Africa. Provisional results saw Visser and Badenhorst in their first season in the premier Super Production Class, come in a whopping 70 seconds ahead of reigning champions Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan in the factory Nissan Navara. The race is round six of the Absa Off Road Championship with Nissan looking for their sixth win in a row this season.

"For the first time this season we did not drive the vehicle as though it was a Class D bakkie," said Visser. "That made all the difference and we are very pleased. "It is going to be a tough race, there will be lots of pressure and all we can do is go out there and give it our best shot."

Grobler and Jordaan had a clean run in the prologue but were just nine seconds ahead of Brandon Harcus and Marcelle Trethewey in the factory Ford Racing Ranger. Not far behind were former South African champions Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer, in a second factory Ford Ranger, and Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin in another Castrol Toyota Hilux.

The top five were followed by Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn (Micaren Exel Dealer Team Toyota Hilux), African Heritage winners Ivar Tollefsen and Quin Evans in another Nissan Navara, Kobus van Tonder/Riaan Guelpa (Unifreight Ford Ranger), Bevan Bertholdt/Robin Houghton (Castrol Toyota Hilux) and current championship leader Duncan Vos and Richard Leeke in a third works Nissan Navara. It was a disappointing outing for Vos who has a 100 percent finish record this season. "We never got going," said Vos. "We have our work cut out for us tomorrow, and it is going to be hard work."

Coetzee Labuscagne and Johan Gerber (Raysonics Nissan Hardbody) produced one of their best showings of the season to lead the Class D contingent. They were 25 seconds ahead of local crew Arnold du Plessis and Johan Knox (BB Auto Nissan Hardbody), with brothers Henri and Maurice Zermatten (Ryobi Nissan Hardbody) third and just one second ahead of Toyota Hilux pair Ramon Bezuidenhout and Stefan Lock.

There was also an encouraging result for Thomas Rundle and Brian Roberts (Barden Tyre Services Nissan Hardbody) who were first in Class E. Rundle and Roberts came in just under a minute ahead of driver’s championship leader Jack Peckham and Lucio Santoro in the factory Ford Racing Ranger.

Third were newcomers Cor van Os and Arjen Kuipers (Ford Ranger) with championship contenders Jannie Visser/Joks le Roux (Team Barberspan Toyota Hilux), George and Sharon Barkhuizen (Ruwacon Toyota Hilux) and Brian Martin and Ockie Fourie (Castrol Toyota Hilux) having a tough time. They face an uphill battle but it is going to be a race of attrition.

2007/09/13 | 11:01 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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