|Donaldson CC: New leaders in South Africa´s Special Cars Championship.|
KwaZulu-Natal crew Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell took over top spot in the Special Vehicle championship when they finished third on the Vryburg 400, round six of the South African "Donaldson Cross Country Championship", which ended last weekend.
Gibson and Campbell, in the Dirt Sport Components Porter, trailed in behind race winners Quintin and Kallie Sullwald (Elegant Fuel BAT Venom) and veteran Nardus Alberts and son Louis in the Wrapsa BAT. With both Hermann and Wichard Sullwald (Elegant Fuel Stryker) and reigning champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen (Motorite BAT Viper) failing to finish, Gibson/Campbell jump to the top of the points table.
Race winners Quintin and Kallie Sullwald are now also championship factors with unofficial scoring taking them into joint third place in the championship. Gibson/Campbell lead Hermann and Wichard Sullwald by 3.5 points with Hutchison/Stassen and Quinton and Kallie Sullwald locked together a further 9.5 points in arrears.
For Quintin Sullwald it was his maiden victory as a driver and sent cross country enthusiasts scurrying for record books to find competitors who have won events as drivers and co-drivers. The younger Sullwald joins his father as one of them with the pair twice winning the SA championship when Sullwald senior was doing the driving.
“It’s a great feeling and I knew if I was patient the win would come,” said Quintin with a huge grin. “We had a bit of a scare on the second loop when we lost third gear, but it worked out okay.”
The veteran Alberts, who is in his early 60s, was one of the few competitors who revelled in the hot, flat and dusty conditions that saw cross country racing return to the Vryburg area for the first time in more than 20 years. The Alberts pair started the day sixth among the Special Vehicles and a consistent drive saw them ease their way up the leader board to pick up their best finish of the season.
“Although dust was a problem this was my kind of race,” said a delighted Alberts. “Louis did a first class job, the car was good and we enjoyed ourselves.”
The Gibsons were around 14 minutes adrift of the Alberts pair and are now the only Special Vehicle crew to have finished every event so far this season. They won the RFS Magalies 400 at the start of the season, and consistency has kept them in the championship picture.
Fourth and fifth went to brothers Daniel and Louw Zeelie (Maxxis/LiquiMoly/Rockstar Porter and Free State crew Pieter Ruthven and Hansie Rheeder in the Ruwacon BAT. While they were rewarded for steady if unspectacular performances, Class P winners Colin Matthews and Julien Hardy (Century Racing CR3) were rewarded for a spectacular charge.
The pair were forced to start from the back of the field after problems in the qualifying race and scythed their way through the field to finish sixth overall. In the process they finished ahead of seventh placed John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten (Zarco Magnum) who stay at the top of the Class P championship.
It was a brave performance on Thompson’s part. The Swazi driver was suffering from food poisoning and spent two hours on a drip in hospital after the qualifying event. “I was suffering but I was determined to finish,” said the Swaziland based driver. “We need every championship point we can grab.”
Third place in Class P went to another veteran crew who also started from the back of the field. Rob Wark is a former Toyota Desert Race winner and along with Ashley Thorn, in the Aceco K9, fought back from a nightmare qualifying race when the car caught fire.
2013/09/11 | 14:50 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE