|ABSA 2011: Surprises in Buggy-class prologue on Adenco 400 Rally.|
The Adenco 400 Rally is the first event of the South African Absa Off Road Championship and 10 minute penalties for 14 cars saw the season off to a controversial start. The penalties were imposed for failing to stop at road crossings and provisional results left three Class P cars at the front of the field.
Colin Matthews and Alan Smith, in the Century Racing CR3, produced a searing display in searing heat to finish 51 seconds ahead of KwaZulu-Natal crew Don Thomson and Wayne Foster in a Zarco Magnum. The trio of Class P entrants was completed by newcomer Richard Fuller, having his first off road race after a successful career in karts, and veteran Geoff Minnitt in the Atlas Copco BAT.
"The route was amazing, and we had a good run," said Matthews. "We finished with a slight leak in a shock absorber but we’ll be okay in the morning."
Among those who were hit with penalties were South African champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald (Elegant Fuel BAT), Swaziland pair John Thomson and Clinton McNamara (Zarco), current Class P champions Johan van Staden and James Rossouw, having their first outing in Class A in the Atlas Copco BAT, and brothers Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT), who are former Class P champions.
The penalties threw the Special Vehicle category into disarray with the ever steady Nick and Ryan Harper (Motorite BAT) and colourful Jimmy Zahos and Stefan Coetzee (Cobalt Racing Porter) completing the top five and leading the Class A contingent. They were followed by two more Class P crews in Marius and Jolinda Fourie (BHP BAT) and RFS Magalies 400 winners Archie Rutherford and Mike Lawrenson (Regent Racing Jimco) and former SA champion Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen in the 4x4 Motorite Revo1.
Hutchison and Stassen escaped picking up a penalty, but were hampered by a broken idler pulley. It cost them around eight minutes and ruined their prologue. All the Class B runners were part of the group of cars penalised, with Keith Makenete and Letlatsa Lehana (Zarco) outlasting the father and daughter pairing of Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne in the Raysonics Zarco. Third was veteran Wolf-Peter Pfumfei who is making a return to national racing in the WPP.
The race starts at the Darling Club at 08:30 with the first cars due at the finish between 13:30 and 14:00. Entry to the start/finish and the designated service area are all free of charge, and public access to spectator points is also free.
2011/03/12 | 14:39 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/FORTUNE