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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: Vos/Pitchford win for Nissan Factory in South Africa

It was the same script but with different actors when Duncan Vos and Ralph Pitchford won the Production Vehicle category on the Sun City 400, round three of the Absa Off Road Championship, here on Saturday. It gave the factory Nissan Navara team their third win in a row this season, with Vos and Pitchford coming in ahead of the works Ford Racing Ranger in the hands of Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer. Third were reigning South African champions Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan, in another factory entered Nissan Navara, who won the first two events of the year in the Western Cape and in KwaZulu-Natal.

"It was hard work," said Vos after a perfect weekend that saw him and Pitchford start from pole position and lead throughout the race. "It was hot and dusty and there were so many potential pitfalls on a tough route that you could not afford to relax for a moment. "We had a clean run on the prologue and in the race, but that didn’t make it any easier."

A Castrol Toyota Hilux and another works Nissan Navara completed the top five. Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin brought the Toyota home ahead of Norwegian driver Ivar Tollefsen and British navigator Quin Evans, with the overseas crew hampered by two punctures on the third of three loops that made up the event.

A second Ford Ranger, the Barloworld/Absolute car driven by reigning Class E champions Manfred Schroeder and Ward Huxtable, now running in the SP Class, finished sixth overall. Brandon Harcus/Juan Mohr, in a third factory Ford Ranger, were not so lucky but managed to finish after one of those events where everything went wrong.

Class D went to the Bosal Toyota Hilux pair of Cliff and Louis Weichelt, in the Bosal Toyota Hilux D4D, who scored their first victory of the season. They missed the last event via a mysterious electrical problem, which turned out to be an oil filter malady, and there was much happiness in the camp.

But the most emotional story of the race belonged to second placed Coetzee Labuscagne in the Raysonics Nissan Hardbody. Labuscagne was forced to tackle the race on his own when navigator Johan Gerber had to return to Middelburg on the eve of the race when his house burned down. Labuscagne then proceeded to roll the car. After that he lost three of the Nissan’s five gears but managed to limp home after an eventful day.

After the demise of early leaders Thomas Rundle/Brian Roberts (Barden Tyres Nissan Hardbody), the Class E honours went to Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux, in the Team Barberspan Toyota Hilux, to give them their second win of the season. Second were George and Sharon Barkhuizen, in the Ruwacon Toyota Hilux, with Jack Peckham and Lucio Santoro third in the factory Ford Racing Ranger.

A trio of Toyotas - Deon Venter/Ian Palmer (Roost Racing Toyota Hilux), Mark and Stuart Moffatt (Bosal Toyota Hilux) and Brian Martin Ockie Fourie (Castrol Toyota Hilux) then came in within minutes of each other. That gave Toyota five of the first six places in Class E.

2007/05/13 | 14:02 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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