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ABSA 2009: Hutchison in early command of RFS Magalies 400

South African champions Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann took early charge of the RFS Magalies 400, the final round of the Absa Off Road Championship, at Tarlton International Raceway. Hutchison and Bergmann, in the 4x4 Motorite Revo1, romped to victory in the Special
Vehicle prologue that determined start positions for tomorrow’s race. Provisional results saw the champions cruise home just over a minute ahead of Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer in the futuristic Century racing CR2.

Hutchison, who recently also clinched the Class A7 national rally championship, and Bergmann crashed out of this event last year. "That was a bit embarrassing, and we want to make amends this year and win," said Hutchison.

Corbett and Balzer were 19 seconds clear of the father and son team of Nick and Ryan Harper in the Atlas Copco BAT. They were under huge pressure, however, from Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau in the Total Motorsport Porter with just two seconds separating the two cars. Veterans Nardus Alberts and Geoff Minnitt, winners of the recent Toyota Dealer 400 in the Wrapsa BAT, completed the top five.

Most of the drama was reserved for Class P where only one point separates reigning champions Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) and David and Gary White in the Ruwacon BAT. Also in the picture in the driver championship is Don Thompson (Zarco) who trails Johan Bezuidenhout and David White by a further five points.

The White’s however, suffered a major setback when they failed to finish the prologue. That relegates them to the back of the grid and a place in tomorrow’s mass start - and leaves them with a mountain to climb.

The fastest time in Class P went to Hendrik and Andries Voogt in the Keymax BAT who edged out the Bezuidenhout’s. Thompson and Hjalmar van Gessellen were third with Class P poised to provide more drama in the race. Class B champions Derrick du Toit and Ian Pienaar led the Class B brigade in the Orange Tree BAT. The Cape pair came in ahead of Simon Beckett and Tim Curtis in the Century Racing BAT with the Makenete brothers Keith and Andrew, who are second in the championship, completing the top three in the Zarco.

Tomorrow’s race starts at 08h00 with the start/finish and designated service area all at Tarlton. The event is user friendly with a number of spectator points within easy reach of the Tarlton complex, and access to these areas is free.

2009/11/19 | 12:23 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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