|ABSA 2012: Double triumph for Hutchison on Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000.|
Former South African champion Evan Hutchison scored a double triumph on the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race. Hutchison added a win on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race to an already impressive curriculum vitae, and in the process won a free entry into next year’s Dakar Rally in South America.
Victory for Hutchison and Danie Stassen, in the Motorite BAT Venom, in the Special Vehicle category on the Botswana classic also saw the pair win the Dakar Challenge.
The Toyota 1000 Desert Race was one of four races worldwide counting towards the Dakar Challenge with the prize a free entry – worth around R250 000 - into the world’s toughest race.
"What can I say," said an ecstatic Hutchison at the finish at Kumakwane near here. "It does not come much better than winning the Desert Race for the first time and winning a free entry into the Dakar Rally."
It was, however, touch and go whether or not Hutchison and Stassen would make it to the finish. As the pair left the designated service park to start the last 200 kilometres of the race the Motorite BAT suffered an alternator failure, and they saw out the distance on a wing and a prayer.
The Motorite pair finally had six minutes and 36 seconds to spare over Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson in the Atlas Copco BAT with this event scoring points and a half towards championship standings. Van Staden and Lawrenson came up with a workmanlike display over the entire weekend and second place did nothing to harm their overall title challenge.
The final podium position went to Quintin Sullwald and his father Kallie in the Elegant Fuel BAT. The former SA champions are previous winners of the Desert Race, but on that occasion Kallie was doing the driving and Quintin the navigating.
"Third on this race in his first year as a driver is no mean feat," said a proud Kallie. "Quintin drove like a champion and this will do his confidence a world of good."
The Sullwalds were just over four minutes ahead of another father and son combination in Nick and Ryan Harper in the Motorite Revo 4x4. The Harpers came under some intense pressure late in the race from Class P winners Richard Fuller and Dennis Murphy, in the Regent Racing BAT, who were only 20 seconds further back at the finish.
Steady performances took Laurence and Gerhard du Plessis (Zarco), Naeem Moosajee/Rayhaan Bodhanya (TyreRack Porter) and Free State crew Pieter Ruthven and Leander Pienaar (Ruwacon BAT) into the top eight. For Ruthven and Pienaar it was a season best performance and they were followed home by reigning SA champions Hermann and Wichard Sullwald (Elegant Fuel Porter) and David and Gary White in a second Ruwacon BAT.
A top five finish and victory in Class P was just reward for Fuller and Murphy who hardly put a wheel wrong all weekend. The pair took control of Class P on racing section one on Saturday when Special Vehicle and Class P championship leaders Colin Matthews and Alan Smith, in the Century Racing CR3, ran out of petrol.
Matthews and Smith lost more than an hour but a good fight back saw them finish second in Class P. The pair were looking for their fourth straight class victory this season. A tough route took its toll and there were no Class B finishers.
2012/06/25 | 16:36 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE