|ABSA 2010: Matthews/Smith win 4X4 Mega World 400 proto-class prologue.|
The Century Racing pair of Colin Matthews and Alan Smith bounced back to form today when they won the Donaldson Prologue to determine Special Vehicle category start positions at tomorrow’s 4x4 Mega World 400 at Carnival City in South Africa.
The event is round five of the Absa Off Road Championship and takes the series into the second half of the season. Matthews and Smith, having their first outing in the Century Racing CR3, are flyers but have been hampered in the past by reliability problems.
The Century Racing car, previously campaigned in Class P by Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer, came in nearly a minute ahead of Bevan Bertholdt and Danie Stassen who were having their second outing in the new lab88 BAT. Third were reigning drivers’ champion Evan Hutchison and Darryl Curtis in the Motorite BAT.
The first three cars all reported clean runs and there will be some hectic early action from crews who do not hold back. Chasing after them will be Herman and Wichard Sullwald (Sullwald Racing SVR) and KwaZulu-Natal team Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell in the Gibson Racing SVR.
A trio of chargers completed the top eight with Nardus and Louis Alberts (Wrapsa BAT), Sun City 400 winners Kallie and Quintin Sullwald (Elegant Fuel BAT) and Jimmy Zahos/Stefan Coetzee (Cobalt Racing Porter) also disinclined to take prisoners.
The big losers on the day were championship leaders Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau, in the Total Porter, who deposited the car in a deep ditch. Despite a helping hand from the Sullwald’s, the car refused to budge and Variawa and Rousseau will start the race from the back of the field.
There was a setback for Class P championship leaders Johan van Staden and James Rossouw. A puncture dropped them down the pecking order and they will start 10th in class.
Swaziland crew John Thomson and Clinton McNamara (Zarco) set the fastest time ahead of the Regent Racing Porter pair of Archie Rutherford and Jacques le Roux who was making his national debut. Also making his debut was former rally champion Etienne Lourens who made an impressive start by finishing third, with experienced co-driver Philip Herselman in the Atlas Copco BAT.
The quickest time in Class B went to another Century Racing crew in Simon Beckett and Steve Harris who were just six seconds ahead of former Blue Bulls scrum half Coetzee Labuscagne and daughter Sandra in the Raysonics Zarco. Third were joint championship leaders Bez Bezuidenhout and daughter-in-law Lindie in the Adenco BAT.
The race starts at 8am tomorrow with race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service point all at Carnival City in Brakpan. Public entry to these areas is free as well as to 19 spectator viewing points along the route.
2010/08/27 | 21:20 CET | Editor: MR/HS/FORTUNE