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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

ABSA 2009: Dead heat in Production Vehicle categorie at Toyota 1000.

A Toyota and a Nissan crew dead heated to share the honours on the Production Vehicle prologue at the Toyota 1000 Desert Race last Friday. Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, in the RFS Toyota Hilux, and Donaldson Nissan Navara crew Hannes Grobler and Juan Mohr set the same time on the tough 70 kilometre prologue to determine start positions for tomorrow’s race. The Production Vehicle brigade took a beating from the Special Vehicle cars and Visser/Badenhorst and Grobler/Mohr were 12th fastest overall.

"That was the toughest Desert Race prologue I can remember," said Mohr afterwards. Mohr is the reigning South African co-driver’s champion and has won this event in a Special Vehicle.

A second Donaldson Nissan crew, Norwegian Ivar Tollefsen and Briton Quin Evans, were third fastest. The pair finished fourth on this year’s Dakar Rally and reported a clean run with no major problems.

Fourth and fifth went to another pair of Toyota entries in Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn (Micaren Exel Toyota Hilux) and Gary Bertholdt/Danie Stassen in the Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux. It was a brace performance from Hugo de Bruyn who is competing with a broken toe after a mishap while off loading the car in the pits yesterday.

The two Castrol Toyota Hilux factory cars ran into problems and Hein Lategan/Chris Birkin were 11th fastest with Anthony Taylor and Robin Houghton, a four time winner of the Desert Race, way down in 23rd place. A puncture hampered Lategan/Birkin while Taylor/Houghton lost around 20 minutes when they were stuck on a pile of rocks after taking a wrong turn.

Reigning driver’s champion Duncan Vos and Ralph Pitchford, in the third Donaldson Nissan Navara, were also in the wars. They lost time when they had a puncture and battled to fit a spare, and will start 13th.

Cliff and Louis Weichelt (N1 4x4 Toyota Hilux D4D), with three wins in a row this season, set the pace in Class D but had an adventurous day. The made their start time by just 60 seconds after breaking a turbo on a test run.

The pair then broke a sideshaft soon after completing the prologue. The Weichelt’s were over a minute faster than Dewald van Breda/Johann du Toit (Northam Toyota Hilux D4D) with Werner and Johan Horn third in class in the Malelane Toyota Land Cruiser.

Race and track star Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie (Ferodo Nissan Hardbody) pulverised the opposition in Class E. They were quicker than the Weichelt’s in the Class D car, and around three and a half minutes ahead of Pikkie Labuschagne and Rikus Erasmus who were second in Class D in the 4x4 Megaworld Toyota Hilux.

Labuschagne and Erasmus won the recent Nissan Sugarbelt 400 and were around two minutes ahead of team-mate Deon Venter and Ian Palmer who have won twice this season. Fourth were reigning champions Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux in the RFS Toyota Hilux. The race proper will start at Game City on Saturday at 08h00 with the finish back at the Gaborone complex on Sunday afternoon.

2009/06/23 | 10:54 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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