|ABSA 2012: Two in a row for Du Plessis Brothers in Special Vehicles category.|
Brothers Laurence and Gerhard du Plessis made it two in a row in the Special vehicle category when they won the "Human Auto 400", penultimate round of the South African "ABSA Off Road Championship", which ended last weekend.
The Wolmarransstad based brothers, in a Zarco Magnum, followed up a win on the 4x4 Mega World 400, with another commanding performance. Their win, however, was overshadowed by the ongoing championship battle between Evan Hutchison/Danie Stassen (Motorite BAT Venom) and Johan van Staden/Mike Lawrenson (Atlas Copco BAT) which will be carried over to the final event of the year.
Hutchison and Stassen came home in two minutes and seven seconds behind the du Plessis brothers with Motorite team-mates Nick and Ryan Harper, in a second BAT Venom, a further one minute and seven seconds further back to claim a second successive podium finish.
The Harpers were also an important buffer between van Staden and Lawrenson who were fourth. Hutchison and Stassen will now go to the final event with a nine point cushion over van Staden and Lawrenson, with the title fight going down to the wire for the second year in a row.
"Somebody was looking after us today," said Hutchison afterwards. "We finished minus a couple of gears and had they been damaged 20 kilometres earlier, I don’t think we would have made it to the finish. "On the bright side a two point gain in the championship could turn out to be decisive."
For their part van Staden and Lawrenson were left to rue a puncture on the first of the two 170 kilometre laps that made up the race. The flat, 20 kilometres from the finish, dropped them down to ninth among the Special Vehicles at the halfway point.
"We could see Evan and Danie ahead of us when we had to stop," said van Staden. "It meant we had to really push on the second loop to do some damage control. "We are a little disappointed, but it sets up a really interesting finale to the season."
Van Staden and Lawrenson were comfortably clear of reigning SA champions Hermann and Wichard Sullwald, in the Elegant Fuel Porter, after a running battle with Century Racing CR4 crew Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer. The gap between fourth and fifth was finally 23 seconds.
Bloemfontein pair Pieter Ruthven and Leander Pienaar (Ruwacon BAT) and the husband and wife pairing of Marius and Jolinda Fourie (PHB BAT) completed the top eight with 20 seconds separating the two cars. A disappointing second loop saw the Fouries drop down the order after running in the top three at the halfway mark, and they finished the race with a flat left rear tyre.
Class P championship leaders Colin Matthews and Alan Smith were early race casualties in the Century Racing CR3 when they hit a ditch and lost a wheel. That handed the initiative to Richard Fuller and Dennis Murphy in the Regent Racing BAT.
Fuller and Murphy took full advantage of the situation to come home around four minutes ahead of the father and daughter combination of Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne in the Raysonics Zarco. Third were Nic Goslar and Andrew Massey (Men’s Health International Zarco) who fought back well after a disappointing prologue result.
Class B honours went to KwaZulu-Natal crew Leon Bothma and Quintin Brand in an early spec BAT. They had more than an hour to spare over Sidriaan de Villiers and Dwayne Voogt who were the last of the classified finishers in a UTV.
Human Auto 400 Final overall results Cars Special Class Top 10
01) Du Plessis / Du Plessis I Zarco Magnum I 05:23:58
02) Hutchison / Stassen I BAT Venom I 05:26:05
03) Harper / Harper I BAT Venom I 05:27:12
04) Van Staden / Lawrenson I BAT Spec I 05:31:38
05) Suellwald / Suellwald I Porter I 05:33:51
06) Corbett / Balzer I Century CR4 I 05:34:14
07) Ruthven / Pienaar I BAT Spec 4 I 05:38:08
08) Fourie / Fourie I BAT Spec 4 I 05:38:28
09) Gibson / Campbell I Porter I 05:42:58
10) Argazzi / Argazzi I BAT Spec 4 I 05:51:00
2012/10/22 | 19:17 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE