|ABSA 2012: Vinnige Fanie to compete in South Africa´s ABSA Sun City 400.|
Former Proteas fast bowler Fanie de Villiers is to make a comeback to competitive sport - in an off road racing car. Vinnige Fanie will co-drive for South African champion Archie Rutherford in the SA Warranties Nissan Navara competing in the Sun City 400 in the Pilanesberg on July 27 and 28.
The event is round five of the South African ABSA Off Road Championship, and is an important race for title challengers as the season moves into the home stretch.
"It is a one-off experience for Fanie and I am looking forward to having him in the car," said Rutherford. The experienced Rutherford is the reigning national Class P champion, and has this year switched to driving the SA Warranties Nissan Navara in the premier SP Class in the Production Vehicle category of the Absa championship.
The SA Warranties Nissan Navara runs under the Regent Racing banner with former SA Special Vehicle champion and team principal Terence Marsh also a former professional cricketer. Regent Racing announced at the beginning of the season that the SA Warranties car would be used on a regular basis to introduce celebrity names to off road racing.
"We are delighted Fanie accepted an opportunity to get a first hand taste of off road racing," said Marsh. "Fanie is a character in the true sense of the word, and his presence in the SA Warranties car will add a touch of sparkle to the race. "We need to market off road racing to a wider audience and having Fanie in the car with Archie will play a major role in this respect."
De Villiers, however, won’t be going into the event cold. He will have a number of training sessions in the car with Rutherford. He will also be coached by experienced co-driver Mathew Carlson in the finer points of off road navigating.
"It would be unfair to simply throw him in at the deep end," Marsh said. "We will be giving Fanie as much seat time and training as we can before the race. One advantage is that Fanie has always been fiercely competitive and is proving to be a quick learner."
Race headquarters and the designated service park will again be at the Sun City complex. Public entrance to these areas and spectator points along the route is free of charge.
The Donaldson Prologue to determine race grid positions will start at 12:30 on July 27 and the race at 8:30 on July 28.
2012/07/18 | 22:46 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE