|ABSA 2012: Tough outing for Team Ford Racing at Toyota Dealer 400 Rally.|
Team Ford Racing endured a trying outing at this weekend´s Toyota Dealer 400, which took place in the Lydenburg area. Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst finished in 7th place, while Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable were classified 10th.
"Hopes were high heading into this round," explains Team Manager, Neil Woolridge. "We had a fantastic start to the season and were looking forward to continuing our upward momentum this weekend. Unfortunately things did not go according to plan."
Visser and Badenhorst demonstrated their pace during Friday´s prologue session securing a second place starting position for the race. "We were leading for much of the prologue and were happy with the car but conditions were extremely rough and we decided to back off slightly in order to safeguard the car," says Visser.
Visser and Badenhorst were looking to further their championship lead heading into Saturday´s race but due to a series of punctures they were unable to capitalise on the SP Ford Ranger´s pace. A puncture just 20km into the opening loop saw the pair fighting to recover for the remainder of the event.
"A puncture normally costs you around three minutes or so, which is not too bad. Unfortunately a puncture very early on in the race is extremely costly as the field is still bunched up," explains Visser.
With a string of around 20 cars following close behind us, Visser and Badenhorst found themselves at the back of the field and fighting through the dust. Three more punctures during the course of the race saw the Ford Crew fighting tooth and nail to ensure they left Lydenburg with some points in the bag.
Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable in the sister Ford Ranger had an equally tough weekend. A blown power steering seal during Friday´s prologue saw the pair battling through Friday´s session without any power steering. This subsequently compromised their starting position for Saturday´s race.
Starting from the back of the field the pair fought their way up through the field making up numerous places. Unfortunately a puncture and dented rim on the last loop forced Woolridge and Huxtable to stop for repairs. To add insult to injury another competitor collided with Woolridge´s open driver door adding to their problems. They continued to the end of the race securing tenth place and putting an end to a difficult weekend for the Ford crew.
"Things just didn´t go our way this weekend," explains Lance. "Friday´s prologue set us back and we were never able to turn it around. Nevertheless we´ve learnt a lot and we´ll be more determined than ever to demonstrate our pace in the next round."
The third round of the South African ABSA Off Road Championship takes place in Kwa-Zulu Natal on May 18 and 19. The Atlas Copco 400 takes place in Team Ford Racing´s back yard with the cars being prepared in Pietermaritzburg. With the support of the home crowd the team will be hoping to make amends.
2012/04/16 | 18:24 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/STEENEKAMP