|ABSA 2010: Variawa/Rousseau take "Adenco 400" Special Vehicle honours.|
Former South African champion Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau produced a flawless performance to win the Special Vehicle category at the Adenco 400 Rally, round one of the Absa Off Road Championship, which ended on Saturday. Provisional results saw Variawa and Rousseau, in the Team Total Porter, romp to what in the end was a comfortable victory in sweltering hot West Coast conditions. It was a win set when the Team Total pair also won the Donaldson Prologue to determine start positions.
Variawa and Rousseau held off tough challenges from Herman and Wichard Sullwald (Sullwald Racing SVR) and Colin Matthews and Alan Smith in the Century Racing BAT. The Sullwald’s eventually fell by the wayside on the second of the two loops that made up race distance, and Mathews/Smith could not pressurise the Team Total pair into a telling mistake.
Matthews and Smith eventually finished nearly two and a half minutes behind Variawa and Rousseau. The Century Racing pair, in turn, had more than 10 minutes in hand over reigning South African champions Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann in the Motorite BAT.
Being first on the road has its pros and cons, and for the Team Total pair it almost put paid to their chances. Within the first couple of kilometres a string of closed gates, which were summarily dealt with, left barbed wire wound around three of the Porter’s wheels.
Variawa/Rousseau finished the first loop only seconds ahead of the Sullwald’s. The Sullwald challenge then evaporated midway through the final loop but a well judged race did the trick for Variawa and Rousseau. "We kept our heads and a steady pace and it paid off," said Variawa. "We were under a little pressure at the end of the first loop, but once the Sullwald’s went missing we could afford to ease off the pace a little."
Fourth place went to veteran Nardus Alberts and son Louis, in the Wrapsa BAT, with Johan van Staden and James Rossouw completing the top five in the KEC BAT. Van Staden and Rossouw overcame a shaky start to win Class P with their job made a little easier when South African champion Johan Bezuidenhout and brother Deon, in the Adenco BAT, blew a motor on the second loop.
Veterans Richard Schilling and Chris Davies were second in Class P in an Aceco with Archie Rutherford and Craig Doubtfire third in the Regent Racing Jimco. Over half an hour separated van Staden/Rossouw, the 2009 Rookies of the Year, and the Regent Racing pair.
Reigning South African champion Derick du Toit and local businessman Adre Rheeder (Orange Tree BAT) took a comfortable win in Class B. It was Rheeder’s first ever off road race with the pair promoting the Darling wine route. Local crew Marius Nicholson and Rod Jeffrey, in an Orange Tree Opel, trailed in second a long way in arrears.
2010/03/21 | 22:21 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE