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ABSA 2012: Du Plessis Brothers win Human Auto 400 prologue South Africa

Brothers Laurence and Gerhard du Plessis picked up further success in the Special Cars Category when they won the Donaldson Prologue on the "Human Auto 400", the penultimate round of the South African "ABSA Off Road Championship", on Friday.

The prologue determined grid positions for tomorrow’s race with provisional results giving the du Plessis pair, in a Zarco Magnum, a 47 second advantage over championship leaders Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen, in the Motorite BAT Venom. The podium was completed by the father and son pair of Nick and Ryan Harper, in the second Motorite BAT Venom, who were a further 10 seconds in arrears.

The du Plessis brothers won the recent 4x4 Mega World at Carnival City and were again in scintillating form. The top three cars all reported clear runs on a 62 kilometre route that broke new ground for the off road fraternity, with the event moved to Thaba ‘Nchu after two years in the Bloemfontein area.

Fourth place went to the husband and wife pairing of Marius and Jolinda Fourie, in the PHB BAT, who were 13 seconds ahead of championship challengers Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson in the Atlas Copco BAT. The overall Special Vehicle championship is a straight fight between Hutchison/Stassen and van Staden/Lawrenson with the pair separated by 34 seconds.

Hutchison and Stassen go into tomorrow’s race with a slender seven point advantage over van Staden and Lawrenson. The two crews, however, will be taking different tactical approaches. "We will be keeping a constant eye on their progress. We have an advantage and want to keep it that way" said Hutchison.

Van Staden and Lawrenson, however, have a different view. They will drive their own race and won’t be keeping tabs on the Motorite crew. "We’ll drive our own race but it is going to be an interesting day," said van Staden. "There are high stakes for both teams and neither of us can afford mistakes."

Reigning South African champions Hermann and Wichard Sullwald, in the Elegant Fuel BAT, were sixth and led home two Class P crews. On the Class P front championship leaders Colin Matthews and Alan Smith, in the Century Racing CR3, came home 33 seconds ahead of Regent Racing BAT crew Richard Fuller and Denis Murphy.

A good performance this weekend could clinch the Class P championship for Matthews and Smith who earlier this year scored an overall win on the Atlas Copco Timbertrack 400. The Class P frontrunners had a sizeable lead over third placed Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne in the Raysonics Zarco.

KwaZulu-Natal crew Leon Botma and Quintin Brand, in a BAT, were the quickest of the Class B brigade. They also enjoyed a comfortable lead over the UTV of Sidriaan de Villiers and Dwayne Voogt.

Tomorrow’s race will start at 08:30 at the Black Mountain Hotel on the outskirts of Thaba ‘Nchu. The designated service point is also located at the Black Mountain Hotel with crews forced to make a compulsory 15 minute stop after the first of two laps of a 170 kilometre course.

2012/10/19 | 21:23 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE











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