|ABSA 2010: Hutchison/Bergmann win Special Vehicle Start at Toyota Dealer 400.|
South African champion Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann won a drama packed Special Vehicle category prologue for the Toyota Dealer 400, round two of the South African Absa off Road Championship, on Friday. The Prologue determines start positions for the race proper with a string of high profile crews hit by time penalties for deviating from the route. Clerk of the course Rex Boreham hit the transgressors with an additional 30 minutes plus a 10 minute 19 seconds benchmark for the section of the route they missed.
Hutchison and Bergmann, in the Motorite BAT, almost made the same mistake but quickly realised they were on the wrong route. They backtracked onto the correct course and after that reported a clean run. "It turned out okay for us, but we so easily could have been among those penalised," said Hutchison. "As it is we are seventh on the road behind a string of Production Vehicles and that could make life difficult. It is a really tough route with an unexpected amount of water and longer than usual grass, and Saturday is going to be a long day."
With the penalties and tight and tough route Hutchison/Bergmann and the Class P pair of Johan van Staden and James Rossouw, in the KEC BAT, were the only Special Vehicle crews in the top 10. Van Staden/Rossouw were around two and a half minutes slower than the Motorite pair and were 10th fastest overall.
Third fastest went to Adenco 400 winners Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rossouw (Total Motorsport Porter) who were another 36 seconds adrift. The father and son combinations of Herman and Wichard Sullwald (Sullwald Transport SVR) and Nick and Ryan Harper (Atlas Copco BAT) rounded out the top five.
Only five seconds separated Jimmy Zahos/Stefan Coetzee (Cobalt Racing Porter) and Kallie and Quintin Sullwald (Sullwald Racing BAT) in sixth and seventh. Eighth were the Century Racing BAT pair of Colin Matthews and Alan Smith who finished second on the opening event of the season in the Western Cape.
The other high profile casualties were Brandon Harcus and Ralph Pitchford in the JMR Fleet Management BAT. They rolled down a bank but with no damage to the car will start from the back of the field tomorrow.
Second in Class P were the Regent Racing Jimco pair of Archie Rutherford and Craig Doubtfire with Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer (Century Racing CR3) nearly 10 minutes in arrears in third place.
Class B drivers champion Derick du Toit and Rod Jeffrey (Orange Tree BAT) led Class B ahead of brothers Hamish and Alistair Stubbs in a Viper. Du Toit and Jeffrey, however, were plagued by a power steering problem that was going to cost them some midnight oil.
2010/04/20 | 17:57 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE