|ABSA 2011: Sullwald´s look to tighten grip on Special Vehicle Championship.|
Toyota 1000 Desert Race winners Kallie and Quintin Sullwald will be looking to the Sun City 400 on July 29 and 30, round five of the Absa Off Road Championship, to tighten their hold on the Special Vehicle championship.
The Toyota Desert Race broke up a family log jam at the top of the Special Vehicle leaderboard. Going to Botswana the Sullwald’s (Elegant Fuel BAT), the reigning South African champions, were tied with Hermann and Wichard Sullwald (Sullwald Racing SVR) at the top of the championship with Nick and Ryan Harper (Motorite BAT) just two points in arrears.
A win for the Elegant Fuel team, problems for the second Sullwald crew and the Harpers and a ‘time and a half’ allocation of points on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race have led to a total turnaround. Kallie and Quintin Sullwald now lead Hermann and Wichard Sullwald by 25 and a half points with the Harpers dropping to fourth behind team-mates Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen who were second in Botswana in the Motorite Revo.
Kallie and Quintin Sullwald will be looking for a second successive Sun City 400 win, but will also be happy with a top three to top five finish. The pressure is on the chasers and the second Sullwald team, the Harpers and Hutchison/Stassen all need good results with the four-wheel drive Revo perhaps holding an advantage on what is traditionally one of the toughest events on the Absa calendar.
Not that there is a shortage of other challengers. The Atlas Copco BAT pair of Johan van Staden and James Rossouw will fancy their chances while Jimmy Zahos/Stefan Coetzee (Cobalt Racing Porter) had an encouraging Desert Race, as did Brett Parker and VZ van Zyl (Sizanani Jimco) who were an impressive fifth.
KwaZulu-Natal crew Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell (Gibson Racing Porter) will want to bounce back from Botswana disappointment as will Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer in the Century Racing CR4. Boela Botes/Johann Pretorius (Botes Vervoer BAT) were also Toyota 1000 Desert Race victims who will be looking for a better result.
There is also a first outing of the season for Nardus and Louis Alberts in the Wrapsa BAT. Their Sun City 400 last season lasted all of five metres and, barring a complete disaster, they should manage a marked improvement.
Recent seasons have shown that Class P crews must not be ruled out when it comes to producing overall race winners. Van Staden/Rossouw started the ball rolling and since then Archie Rutherford/Mike Lawrenson (Regent Racing Jimco) and Colin Matthews/Alan Smith (Century Racing CR3) have done the trick.
Two wins in a row have taken Rutherford and Lawrenson to the top of the Class P standings and an impressive sixth in the overall standings. After a win on the Adenco 400 early in the season Matthews and Smith have struggled with reliability and have picked up three non finishes in a row.
Early championship leaders Marius and Jolinda Fourie (PHB BAT) were Toyota 1000 Desert Race casualties and will want to get their title challenges back on track. Nic Goslar and Andrew Massey (Men’s Health International Zarco) have also shown good form of late while Swaziland crew John Thomson and Clinton McNamara, in another Zarco, are also capable of an upset in a class that is hugely competitive.
Class B looks as though it will be a straight fight between the Makenete brothers, Keith and Andrew, in a Zarco and Coetzee Labuscagne and daughter Sandra in the Raysonics Zarco. After missing the Botswana outing veteran Wolf-Peter Pfumfei returns to action in the singleseater WPP.
Race headquarters, the start/finish and designated service park will all be located at the Sun City complex. Public entry to these areas and spectator points along the route will be free of charge.
The Donaldson Prologue to determine race grid positions will start at 12:30 on Friday, July 29 with the race to start at 08:30 on Saturday, July 30.
2011/07/28 | 15:23 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/FORTUNE