|ABSA 2011: Production Vehicle Championship battle intensifies in South Africa.|
With only 17,5 points separating the first seven crews, the Production Vehicle championship will increase in intensity over the final three rounds of the South African "Absa Off Road Championship".
A win on the recent Sun City 400 lifted former South African champion Duncan Vos and Rob Howie from seventh place to the top of the overall championship in the Team Castrol Toyota Hilux. But there are only 17,5 points between the Toyota factory crew and privateers Malcolm Kock and Johann Burger (Kock and Sons Toyota Hilux), who scored a maiden podium placing at Sun City, in seventh place.
In the overall championship Vos and Howie have a 5,5 point lead over Thomas Rundle and Juan Mohr ion the Barden Nissan Navara with the ever steady Terence Marsh and George Smalberger (Regent Racing Nissan Navara) another 5,5 points in arrears in third.
Sandwiched between Marsh/Smalberger and Kock/Burger are Mike Whitehouse/Mathew Carlson (Regent Racing Navara), reigning champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst (Team Ford Ranger TDCi) and Anthony Taylor and Chris Birkin in the second factory Castrol Toyota Hilux.
Differences in points allocations for overall and class finishing positions paint a slightly different picture, although matters are just as close. Here Marsh/Smalberger lead Vos/Howie by a single point with Rundle/Mohr half a point further back.
Behind the first three 1,5 points also separate Whitehouse/Carlson, Taylor/Birkin and Kock/Burger. It adds up to fun and games over the last three races.
Jack and Sarel Oosthuizen maintained a 100 percent finish record at Sun City to stay in charge of the Class D championship. The Land Rover father and son pair now have a 30 point cushion over Sun City winners Louis Weichelt and Francis Boersma in the N1 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser.
After three non finishes in a row reigning champion Deon Venter and Ian Palmer (4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux) finally added to their tally. They are third in the championship but now trail the Oosthuizens by 50 points.
Toyota Hilux crew Piet Kotze and Salomon Victor continue to lead Class E but with a reduced majority. They now lead Sun City 400 winners Diederik Hattingh and Kristo Bosman, the Transcor Toyota Hilux) by just three points.
Rookies Jason Venter and Vincent van Allerman (4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux) are only half a point behind the Transcor pair in third place. Venter, the son of Deon Venter, and van Allerman have competed in only two events after making their national debut on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race.
The next race in the Absa Off Road Championship is the 4x4 Mega World 400 at Carnival City on September 9 and 10.
2011/08/06 | 17:21 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/FORTUNE