|ABSA 2010: Second win for Variawa/Rousseau on Atlas Copco Sugarbelt 400.|
Former South African champion Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau put the seal on a near perfect weekend when they won the Atlas Copco Sugarbelt 400, round three of the South African Absa Off Road Championship, which ended Saturday evening.
Variawa and Rousseau, in the Total Motorsport Porter, produced a copybook race to notch up their second overall Special Vehicle and Class A victory of the season. The pair also won the Adenco 400 in the Western Cape at the start of the season and had around 90 seconds in hand over former SA champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald in the Sullwald Racing BAT.
Reigning South African champions Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann, in the Motorite BAT, came home in third place to grab the final spot on the podium. Hutchison and Bergmann were a further five minutes in arrears after an unspectacular outing.
Variawa and Rousseau were second on the Donaldson Prologue to determine start positions, and started the race behind the Sullwald father and son combination. The Total crew finally eased into the lead just before the compulsory 15 minute stop at the end of the second of the three loops that made up the race.
"On this race there are just too many places where you can be caught out," said Variawa. "We did not want to take any chances but Kallie and Quinton made a mistake that allowed us into the lead. The dust was a problem but after that it was just a matter of keeping it all together."
It was a best performance of the season for the Sullwald’s who were national champions in 2008. They were, however, magnanimous in defeat. "We were beaten by a better team," said Sullwald senior. "Shameer was very fast and they did not make any mistakes on the final loop. From our point of view it was a good performance and we are happy with a good haul of championship points."
A fine performance saw local crew Lance Trethewey and Richard Horner brought them into fourth place. The pair took full advantage of local knowledge to come up with an impressive performance.
Another fine performance saw brothers Johan and Deon Bezuidenhout, in the Adenco BAT, return to action with a resounding fifth overall that gave them the win in Class P. It was the first event for the brothers since they dropped out of the Adenco 400 at the start of the season.
The Bezuidenhout’s finished around nine minutes ahead of Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer in the Century Racing CR3. Among the Class P casualties were overall Special Vehicle and Class P championship leaders Johan van Staden and James Rossouw in the Atlas Copco BAT.
Van Staden and Rossouw made history recently when they became the first Class P team to score an overall win in a national series. It earned them a place in the Atlas Copco team but they will want to forget this race.
Two other Class P crews rounded out the top eight with John Telford and Jaco Swart (Calcamite BAT) edging out former champions Richard Schilling and Chris Davies. After a prologue problem Schilling/Davies started last in the class and fought back to fourth.
The tough route took its toll on Class B runners and there were no finishers in the category. Championship leaders Derick du Toit and Rod Jeffrey (Orange Tree BAT) ran into prologue problems along with Keith and Andre Makenete (Zarco) who blew an engine on the prologue. Among the race casualties were Simon Beckett and Steve Harris in the Century Racing BAT who fell by the wayside after a promising start.
2010/05/25 | 15:18 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE