|ABSA 2010: Team Variawa mission accomplished on Kalahari Desert Race.|
It was mission accomplished for former South African champion Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau as they continued their love affair with the Toyota 1000 Desert Race last Sunday (Sept. 26th) with the Team Total pair scoring a hat-trick of wins in the Special Vehicle category on the only marathon event on the South African Absa Off Road Championship calendar.
In a master class display, Variawa and Rousseau, in the Team Total Porter, finished a slender one minute and 36 second advantage over 2007 winners and national champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald, in the Elegant Fuel BAT. A second Sullwald father and son combination, Herman and Wichard Sullwald, completed the podium in the Sullwald Racing SVR.
A third win this season for Variawa and Rousseau also moves them a further five points ahead of Kallie and Quintin Sullwald in the overall championship. For the Sullwald family an impressive performance for the second event in a row keeps the pressure on Variawa and Rousseau over the final two events of the year.
The weekend, however, belonged to Variawa and Rousseau and after finishing fifth on the Donaldson Prologue on Friday to determine start positions they completely dictated matters. The race was then effectively over when the pair opened up a lead of just over four minutes on the first racing section on Saturday.
"It turned into a perfect weekend for us," said Variawa. "We were happy to start in fifth on Friday and on the first racing section all we were aiming at was a clean run. We got what we wanted, and while we knew Kallie and Quintin would put in a big charge all we had to do was control the pace from the front. It would be nice if all races were as straightforward as this one turned out."
The top five in Class A were completed by another father and son combination in Nardus and Louis Alberts in the Wrapsa BAT. They had a bit to spare over local driver Keith du Toit and Lesotho veteran Ashley Thorn who showed great patience to grab an impressive result in the White Star Racing BAT.
Two other impressive displays saw fourth and fifth overall go to a pair of Class P crews with Cape Town brothers Johan and Deon Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) edging out championship leaders Johan van Staden and James Rossouw in the Atlas Copco BAT. The brothers reported a clean run, and it was a fine recovery for van Staden and Rossouw who started ninth in class after problems on the Donaldson Prologue.
Third in Class P went to Swaziland driver John Thompson and stand-in navigator Zelda Niemandt in a Zarco. It was a plucky performance from Niemandt who was suffering from an eye ailment on what was her first national outing of the season.
The battle of the veterans in Class B finally went the way of Coetzee Labuscagne and daughter Sandra, in the Raysonics Zarco, who outlasted former champion Giel Nel and Jaco Jonck in the Zarco Truggy. In an ironic twist it is Nel who prepares the Labuscagne car with the two Zarcos the only finishers in the class.
2010/09/28 | 13:45 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS/FORTUNE