|ABSA 2010: Special Vehicle history at ABSA-Final RFS Magalies 400 Rally.|
The Class P brigade won the battle but Class A runners Kallie and Quintin Sullwald won the Special Vehicle war at a dramatic RFS Magalies 400, the final event in the South African Absa Off Road Championship, at Tarlton International Raceway today.
History was made when no fewer than three Class P cars filled the first three places in a race that was packed full of drama. Archie Rutherford and Mile Lawrenson (Regent Racing Jimco) completed a perfect weekend when they came home ahead of Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer (Century Racing CR2) and Johan van Staden and James Rossouw (Atlas Copco BAT), with three Class P cars on the podium for the first time in the history of the Absa series.
The Class P whitewash diverted attention from the father and son Sullwald team who wrapped up the Special Vehicle and Class A championships. The Sullwald’s went into the weekend trailing championship leaders Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau by six points, and seventh overall was enough to clinch both titles.
The situation at the front of the field and the championship situation also diverted attention from a superb performance from veterans Keith du Toit and Ashley Thorn (White Star Racing BAT) who were fourth overall and won Class A. Lesotho based Thorn is a former national champion, but for Botswana based du Toit it was his first national victory.
Second and third in Class A were Guy Henley and Warwick Goosen (Century Racing BAT) and Nick Harper and Kevin Hume (Atlas Copco BAT). It was all over for Variawa and Rousseau when rear suspension damage sidelined them on the first of the two loops that made up the race. The Sullwald’s lost their intercom on lap two and were also delayed by a puncture.
"Not being able to communicate verbally made it difficult to stay on the pace," said Sullwald senior. "The puncture also cost us time and we then decided to take it easy and make sure of the championship."
Hopes of overall race wins for the Sullwald’s and Variawa/Rousseau disappeared on the Donaldson Prologue to determine race start positions. The two crews were among a string of teams who ran into problems on a wet route and started 39th and 37th respectively.
Rutherford and Lawrenson were surprise winners of the prologue and then proceeded to drive the perfect race. The pair never needed to get out the car, and that is a sure recipe for success over 340 kilometres of racing.
Corbett and Balzer had a clean first loop but a shock absorber problem slowed them on the second lap, and they gradually lost ground on the race leaders. It also saw them fall into the clutches of van Staden and Rossouw, who made history earlier in the season when they became the first Class P crew to win an Absa national event overall.
Third place cemented the Class P overall championship for van Staden and Rossouw. Provisional scoring also saw the Pretoria crew finish third in the overall championship. The Class B honours went to veteran Coetzee Labuscagne and daughter Sandra in the Raysonics Zarco. In a family battle they had nearly an hour in hand over driver’s champion Bes Bezuidenhout and son Etienne who nursed home a very sick sounding Adenco BAT.
2010/11/22 | 14:36 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE