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Donaldson CC: Taylor / Murphy tighten grip on Production Vehicle Class.







Team Castrol Toyota factory crew Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy tightened their hold on the Production Vehicle championship when they romped to victory on the Vryburg 400, round six of the South African "Donaldson Cross Country Championship" last weekend.

For Taylor and Murphy the rollercoaster ride continued with their fourth victory in a row after successes on the Toyota Dealer Sugarbelt 400, the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race and the Sun City 400. It was also a win that saw Taylor and Murphy stretch their championship lead to 20 points, with two races remaining, over the Ford Racing pair of Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst.

A difficult weekend saw Visser and Badenhorst eventually fight back from seventh at the halfway stage of the race, to finish third behind the second Castrol Toyota Hilux of reigning South African champions Duncan Vos and Rob Howie. For the Ford crew it was their sixth podium finish of the season and with 25 points on offer for race wins, they still have the ability to make life uncomfortable for Taylor and Murphy.

“It was a difficult race in difficult conditions on a very tricky route,” said Taylor. “It was a nightmare for co-drivers and Dennis did a great job. “It was very easy to make costly mistakes and on the final loop all we concentrated on was staying on the road and keeping out of trouble.”

Vos and Howie secured their second runner-up result in a row and from a Team Castrol Toyota point of view more than did their job in protecting Taylor and Murphy. There was a comfortable buffer between Vos/Howie and Visser/Badenhorst who lost time on the first of two loops that made up the race with a differential problem.

“It was a tough weekend and we seemed to run into one problem after the other,” said Badenhorst. “We are still in the championship race but dropping 10 points was not what we wanted at this stage of the season.”

The Visser/Badenhorst charge saw them finish 37 seconds ahead of local crew Hugo de Bruyn and Henri Hugo in the Micaren Excel Toyota Hilux. De Bruyn and Hugo reported a clean run and came in ahead of a gaggle of SP Class entries with an encouraging day taking Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson into fifth place in the Regent Racing Nissan Navara.

Slotting in behind the Regent Racing pair were Gary Bertholdt/Siegfried Rousseau (Atlas Copco Nissan Navara); Louw de Bruin/Riaan Greyling (Ruwacon Ford Ranger), Graham and Trevor Leith in the Transcor Ford Ranger and former champions Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux in the RFS Toyota Hilux. A little further off the pace and rounding out the top 10 were Christiaan du Plooy and Henk Janse van Vuuren (RFS BMW X3) who finally had a good day after starting from the back of the field.

The Class D battle saw brothers Johan and Werner Horn score their second win in a row in the Malalane Toyota Land Cruiser. For the Horns it has been an up and down season with the two wins offset by three non finishes.

The Mpumalanga crew had a little more than 15 minutes in hand over Jason Venter and Vincent van Allemann in the Trysome Toyota Hilux. Venter and van Allemann also had to fight back after qualifying problems and they remain at the top of the Class D standings.

Another win for Dirk Putter and Koos Claasens, in a Ford Ranger, almost certainly guarantees the pair of back to back championships in Class E. Pace and reliability are a hard combination to beat in cross country racing, and Putter and Claasens have demonstrated both to dominate the category over the last two seasons.

2013/09/11 | 14:52 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE











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