|ABSA 2011: "Crackerjack Toyota Dealer 400" Rally looms in Mpumalanga.|
A crackerjack Toyota Dealer 400, round two of the South African Absa Off Road Championship, is on the cards for Mpumalanga on April 8 and 9. For many crews it could turn out to be one of the most important events of the season. Once again based in Lydenburg the event offers crews with alternative opportunities after the opening round of the Absa series in the Western Cape.
On the one hand it offers crews who got off to a good start on the Adenco 400 the opportunity to keep the momentum going and, on the other, it provides those who were slow out the starting blocks with the chance of putting into place damage control.
Some high profile teams in both the Production and Special Vehicle categories will be under more early season pressure than they would have liked, and face tests of character. A revised route adds a little spice to what is already an enticing menu, and off road enthusiasts face a weekend of quality fare.
On the Production Vehicle front the Team Castrol Toyota and Ford Racing squads are among those looking to bounce back after disappointing Adenco 400 results.
Castrol Toyota crews Duncan Vos and Rob Howie and Anthony Taylor ran into teething problems with the new Hilux double cab entries, while South African champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst had to endure a long day in their Ford Ranger debut.
All three teams showed a deal of potential but desperately need good points hauls in Mpumalanga. Kobus van Tonder/Freddie Kriel (Uni Freight Ford Ranger) and Pieter Ruthven/Rudi Britz (Ruwacon Toyota Hilux) are pretty much in the same boat.
On the other side of the coin there was a dream start for former Class E champions Jannie Visser, brother of Chris, and Joks le Roux in the Team Barberspan Toyota Hilux. Few would have backed them for a podium place on the Adenco 400 and they currently have bragging rights in North West province.
There is also a sizeable list of Special Vehicle frontrunners who find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Herman and Wichard Sullwald (Sullwald Racing SVR) missed the Western Cape race altogether while the likes of Evan Hutchison/Danie Stassen (Motorite Revo 4x4), Jimmy Zahos/Stefan Coetzee (Cobalt Racing Porter), Shameer Variawa/Siegfried Rousseau (Total BAT) and brothers David and Gary White (Ruwacon BAT) were all Adenco 400 casualties.
It was on this race last year that history was made when Johan van Staden and James Rossouw (Atlas Copco BAT) became the first Class P crew to win a national race overall. Since then two other crews have done the trick and Class A runners will find themselves under pressure from a band of hugely competitive Class P teams.
Race headquarters and the designated service park will all be located at the Lydenburg Rugby Club. The Donaldson Prologue to determine race start positions will start at 12:00 on April 8, and the race will begin at 08:30 on April 9 at Lydenburg Toyota in the town centre.
Public entrance to the start/finish and the designated service park is free of charge, as is entry to spectator viewing points along the route. Spectator guides will be available at race headquarters and at the start.
2011/03/25 | 15:47 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/FORTUNE