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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: Toyota pair set blistering pace on Nissan Sugarbelt 400.

The factory Castrol Toyota Hilux pair of Anthony Taylor and Robin Houghton set a blistering pace today to win the prologue for Saturday’s Nissan Sugarbelt 400. The race is round three of the South African Absa Off Road championship with the prologue determining start positions for tomorrow’s race. Provisional results saw Taylor and Houghton strike an early blow for Toyota by blitzing the rest of the opposition.

The big talking point was not that Taylor/Houghton won the prologue, but the fact that there were over 90 seconds between the Toyota crew and second placed Hannes Grobler and Juan Mohr in the factory Donaldson Nissan Navara. Third fastest were Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst (RFS Toyota Hilux) and local favourites Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer, in the diesel twin turbo Ford Racing Ranger TDCI, who were credited with the same time.

Visser/Badenhorst and Woolridge/Skjoldhammer were nine seconds behind the Donaldson Nissan Navara. Next up were Norwegian Ivar Tollefsen and Briton Quin Evans, in a third works Donaldson Nissan Navara, and Hein Lategan and Chris Birkin in the second factory Castrol Toyota Hilux. "We had a good run," said Taylor. "First on the road is a bonus for us and it was a good start to the weekend. Now we need to take full advantage of the situation."

The father and son combination of Cliff and Louis Weichelt continued their good start to the season in the N1 4x4 Toyota Hilux D4D. They won the first two events of the season and set the fastest time in Class D. Next up were former Blue Bull scrum half Coetzee Labuscagne and Johan Gerber in the Raysonics Nissan Hardbody. Third and fourth were Johan and Werner Horn and Johan Ferreira and Nico Kotze with both crews out in Toyota land cruiser entries.

Down in Class E kart and circuit racing start Leeroy Poulter came up with the best result of his fledgling off road career. Despite a gearbox problem Poulter and Rob Howie set the fastest time in the factory Nissan Hardbody.

Poulter/Howie came in ahead of reigning champion Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux (RFS Toyota Hilux) who had a clean run. Third fastest were Deon Venter and Ian Palmer, in the 4x4 Megaworld Toyota Hilux, with the championship leaders losing time via a puncture.

Major casualties included Thomas Rundle/Hennie ter Stege, in the second factory diesel Ford Racing Ranger TDCI, Terence Marsh and Pieter Groenewald (Regent Racing Nissan Navara) and Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen in the Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux. Rundle/ter Stege went off the road and were stuck in a sluit, Marsh and Groenewald broke a prop shaft and Bertholdt/Vermeulen broke a tie rod end.

Also in the wars were championship leaders Duncan Vos and Ralph Pitchford who won the first two events of the season in a third factory Donaldson Nissan Navara. A puncture and other problems saw them lose around eight minutes on Taylor/Houghton and, starting well down the field, the pair will have a mountain to climb.

The start/finish and designated service point for tomorrow’s race are all at the Beaumont Eston Farmers Club. The race starts at 08h00 with the first cars expected at the finish at around 3pm.

2009/05/18 | 02:45 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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