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ABSA South African Championship 2007 Special-Newssection

This is the single-news section of the special of the ABSA South African Offroad Championship series 2007. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Heritage/ABSA 2007: Cronje/Schroder share Amathole 500 Prologue win.

Castrol Toyota factory pair Mark Cronje/Chris Birkin and Ford privateers Manfred Schroder/Ward Huxtable shared the Production Vehicle spoils today on the prologue for tomorrow’s Amathole 500. The event is round five of the Absa Off Road Championship and will run in conjunction with the African Heritage Cross Country international event. The African Heritage Cross Country is round two of the FIA Cross Country World Cup.

Cronje/Birkin, in a factory Castrol Toyota Hilux, and Schroder/Huxtable Barloworld/Absolute Ford Ranger posted identical times and will lead away the field. The four-wheel drive Super Production Class entries reveled in the ultra fast conditions on the 100 kilometre prologue, and took nine of the top 10 places.

Gary Bertholdt and Geoff Minnitt, in the Atlas Copco Porter, and SA champions Alfie Cox/Hennie ter Stege (Motorite BAT) were the only Special Vehicle crew to crack the top 10. Tomorrow’s 500 kilometre race is expected to be just as fast, and will suit drivers, like Cronje, who have circuit racing/rally experience.

Third fastest were another factory Toyota crew, Bevan Bertholdt and Robin Houghton, who were 28 seconds behind Cronje/Birkin and Schroder/Huxtable. The Toyota pair edged out reigning champions Hannes Grobler/Francois Jordaan and Duncan Vos/Ralph Pitchford in factory Nissan Navara entries.

Chris Visser/Japie Badenhorst (Castrol Toyota Hilux), Neil Woolridge/Kenny Skjoldhammer (Ford Racing Ranger) and Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn (Micaren Exel Toyota Hilux) completed the top 10. Grobler and Vos also have extensive circuit racing experience with Grobler also a South African rally champion, and a fast race could provide for plenty of drama.

Nissan crews dominated Class D and filled the first three places. Arnold du Plessis and Johan Knox (BB Auto Nissan Hardbody) came in ahead of Henri and Maurice Zermatten in the Ryobi Nissan Hardbody. Not far behind them were brothers Jurie and Andre du Plessis in a second BB Auto Nissan Hardbody. Championship leaders Harold and Tiaan Coen, in a Land Rover, had a tough time of it. They trailed in over half an hour behind du Plessis/Knox and have a mountain to climb in the race.

It also wasn’t the best of days for Class E championship leaders Jack Peckham /Lucio Santoro in the factory Ford Racing Ranger. They were fifth in class but only have a two minute deficit to cancel out. George and Sharon Barkhuizen (Ruwacon Toyota Hilux) were the fastest of the Class E runners. Trailing in behind them were Brian Martin/Ockie Fourie (Castrol Toyota Hilux), Thomas Rundle and Brian Roberts (Barden Tyre Services Nissan Hardbody) and Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux in the Team Barberspan Toyota Hilux.

2007/07/30 | 14:22 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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