|ABSA 2011: Nissan teams top production vehicle standings in South Africa|
Not since the heydays of the now defunct factory team has Nissan enjoyed so much success at the top of championship standings in the Production Vehicle category of the South African Absa Off Road Championship.
After two rounds of this year’s championship Nissan are top of the prestige South African Manufacturers Championship and have crews in the top two positions in both the Production Vehicle overall and premier Class SP championships.
Nissan currently hold a narrow four point lead over champions Toyota in the manufacturer’s championship with Thomas Rundle/Juan Mohr (Barden Tyres Services Nissan Navara), and Mike Whitehouse/Mathew Carlson (Regent Racing Nissan Navara) lying first and second in the overall and SP Class championships.
Two solid second places on the Adenco 400 and Toyota Dealer 400 have given Rundle and Mohr a six point lead at the top of the overall and SP Class championships. A maiden national win on the Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga lifted Whitehead and Carlson up the leader board ahead of Adenco 400 winners Hannes Grobler and Hennie ter Stege in the RFS BMW X3.
Two crews are tied for fourth and fifth in the overall championship. Nissan have another foot in the door with Terence Marsh and George Smalberger, in the second Regent Racing Nissan Navara, tied for fourth with Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux crew Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen.
Brothers Chris and Jannie Visser share fifth place in the overall stakes along with co-drivers Japie Badenhorst and Joks le Roux. Third on the Toyota Dealer 400 gave Visser/Badenhorst their first podium result in Team Ford colours.
There has been a change in the pecking order in Class D and for the first time in recent history, a Land Rover crew heads a national championship. A maiden win on the Toyota Dealer 400 has lifted farther and son Jack and Sarel Oosthuizen ahead of reigning champions Deon Venter and Ian Palmer in the 4xd4 Mega World Toyota Hilux.
A broken differential put Venter and Palmer out of the running in Mpumalanga, and consistency has earned the Oosthuizen’s a comfortable 10 point lead in the Class D championship.
Only one Class E crew has seen out the distance in the two events run so far. Newcomers Dirk Putter and Koos Claasens, in a Toyota Hilux, took a maiden win on the Toyota Dealer 400 to take the championship lead. The next event on the Absa calendar is the Atlas Copco 400 in Dundee, in KwaZulu-Natal, on May 20 and 21.
2011/04/15 | 14:44 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/FORTUNE