|ABSA 2010: Special Vehicle prologue drama at Human Auto 400 Rally.|
There was plenty of drama after the Special Vehicle prologue for the Human Auto 400 Rally in South Africa. Provisional results saw the Century Racing pair of Colin Matthews and Alan Smith snatch a five second victory ahead of the lab 88 BAT crew of Bevan Bertholdt and Danie Stassen, on the Donaldson Prologue to determine grid positions for tomorrow’s race. Matthews and Smith, regarded as prologue specialists, were then penalised 15 minutes by race officials for deviating from the route.
The penalty dropped Matthews and Smith to 27th in the Special Vehicle category and 51st on the road. It effectively killed off any hopes the Century Racing crew had of scoring a maiden national series win, and put Bertholdt and Stassen in pole position.
The race is the penultimate round of the Absa Off Road Championship, and could play a major role in deciding this year’s championship. Only 24 points separate the first four teams in the championship race with current leaders Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau (Team Total BAT), holding a precarious 12 point lead over 2007 champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald in the Elegant Fuel BAT.
A disappointing prologue saw Variawa and Rousseau, who reported a clean run, finish down in eighth place in provisional results. It left them two minutes off the pace set by the experienced Bertholdt and Stassen.
The penalty also promoted Herman and Wichard Sullwald (Sullwald Racing SVR), who are fourth in the championship, into second place with another impressive performance taking Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer into third in the Century Racing CR1. Corbett and Balzer were also the first of the Class P contingent.
The top five were rounded out by Kallie and Quintin Sullwald with just one minute and 47 seconds separating the first five cars, and two minutes and 11 seconds separating the top 10. Other leading crews in the top 10 include reigning drivers champion Evan Hutchison and off road motorcycle star Darryl Curtis (Motorite Revo1 4x4), Nardus and Louis Alberts (Wrapsa BAT) and Class P championship leaders Johan van Staden and James Rossouw in the Atlas Copco BAT.
Corbett and Balzer completely dominated the Class P proceedings. The Century Racing crew were a whopping one minute and eight seconds ahead of van Staden and Rossouw who have a tight hold on the Class P championship.
Third were Swaziland crew John Thomson and Clinton McNamara in a Zarco. They were just over two minutes behind Corbett/Balzer and have a tough job ahead of them tomorrow.
The Class B honours went to veteran Coetzee Labuscagne and daughter Sandra in the Raysonics Zarco. The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race winners were nearly a minute ahead of another veteran, Cape Town-based Bes Bezuidenhout, and daughter-in-law Lindie in the Adenco BAT.
The race start at 08:30 tomorrow at the Windmill Casino complex in Bloemfontein. Entry to the start/finish, the designated service point at the Windmill complex and spectator areas along the route is free of charge.
2010/10/22 | 15:02 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS/FORTUNE