|Donaldson CC: Sullwald tighten grip on SA´s Special Vehicle Class title chase|
Second place on the recent "Force Fuel 450" rally at Sun City saw former South African champions Quintin and Kallie Sullwald, tighten their hold on the Special Vehicle category title race after five rounds of the South African "Donaldson Cross Country Championship".
The Sullwalds, in the Elegant Fuel BAT Venom, went into the Sun City weekend with a 10 point advantage over Gerhard du Plessis and his teenage son, Hardus, in a Jimco, who did not score a point at the event. They dropped from second to third in the overall standings when du Plessis’s brother, Lawrence, and Gielie le Roux, in a Zarco, scored a comfortable victory.
The reward for the Sullwalds after an adventurous race – a coming together with Production Vehicle crew Anthony Taylor/Dennis Murphy, no third gear for most of the day and alternator problems - is a 26 point cushion over Lawrence du Plessis and le Roux, who lead Gerhard and Hardus du Plessis by three points.
For the le Roux family the Force Fuel 450 was a watershed weekend with Gielie scoring a maiden win – in only his third event – with father Joks, a former SA champion, winning Class S in the Production Vehicle category.
"I am very proud of him," said le Roux senior afterwards. "He never raced in the regional championship, and to score a win in his third race is a great achievement."
KwaZulu-Natal crew Arthur Barnes and Anthony Usher (BAT) also missed the Force Fuel 450, but with driver/co-driver comings and goings Barnes stays fourth among the drivers, with Usher third in the co-driver stakes behind Sullwald senior and Hardus du Plessis. Le Roux jumps to fourth ahead of fifth placed reigning champion Danie Stassen, who sits alongside Evan Hutchison in the Motorite BAT Viper.
Fifth place overall among the drivers is now shared by Wichard Sullwald and reigning champion Hutchison. The top five remain the same in both the overall and Class A standings.
The Class A brigade are followed in the overall standings by reigning champions John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten (Zarco), who are the first of the Class P contingent. Swaziland based Thomson and Zermatten trail Wichard Sullwald and Hutchison by only three points.
The Thomson/Zermatten combination went to the Force Fuel 450 level pegging in the Class P championship with KZN pair James Watson and John Thompson in a BAT. A solid second for Thomson/Zermatten, and a disappointing run for Watson/Thompson saw the champions eke out a nine point advantage.
A class win for Colin Matthews and Rodney Burke (Century Racing CR3), who won overall last year, lifted them into third place in the standings. Matthews and Burke romped to victory in the qualifying event at the Force Fuel 450, but a puncture during the first of the two laps that made up the race, set them back on their heels.
The next race on the Donaldson series calendar is the Vryburg 450 in North West Province.
2014/08/19 | 19:55 CET | ARTICLE: FORTUNE | PHOTOS: MOTORPICS