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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: Popular win for Alberts/Hunter in the BAT-class.

Veterans Nardus Alberts and Collin Hunter provided the fifth different Special Vehicle category winners in as many races with a popular win in the Amathole 500, round five of the Absa Off Road Championship, which ended here today. Alberts and Hunter, in the Wrapsa BAT, crossed the line on three wheels to give Alberts his first national championship win since the Caledon 400 nearly 20 years ago. The car lost the left rear wheel a kilometre from the finish with Alberts/Hunter holding off championship leaders Nick and Ryan Harper, in the Atlas Copco BAT, by just over three minutes.

With the Motorite BAT crews of reigning champions Alfie Cox/Hennie ter Stege and Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann failing to see out the distance, second place saw the Harpers consolidate their championship lead. Third were Colin Matthews and Alan Smith in the Century Property Developments BAT, with Matthews equaling the best result of his career.

"This is a special moment for us," said a delighted Alberts at the finish. "I have waited a long time for a national win and to do it against such a competitive field is a boost for us older guys." Alberts and Hunter started third in the Special Vehicle category behind Gary Bertholdt/Geoff Minnitt in the Atlas Copco Porter and Cox and ter Steege. Mechanical maladies sidelined Bertholdt/Minnitt and Cox/ter Stege, and Alberts and Hunter suddenly emerged as potential winners.

After the halfway mark Hutchison/Bergmann also fell by the wayside, along with Toyota Desert Race winner Karl-Heinz Sullwald and Paul Helberg (Sullwald Transport Zarco). Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau (Total Motorsport Porter) were slowly dropping back, and from eighth place after a disappointing Friday prologue the Harpers gradually moved up the pecking order.

"We wanted a good finish to consolidate our championship hopes, and that is exactly what we got," said Harper. "What made it more satisfying was that after a disappointing prologue we did not have a good start position." The big news in Class B was the end to the Hendrik and Jan Kraaij winning streak in the Regent Racing BAT. After four wins in a row an off road excursion cost them wads of time.

They were eventually the last car to finish before the time bar rule came into operation and this placed them third in Class B. The win went to former champion Marcus Taylor and Derek Keith in the JRE, with Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout battling along to finish second in the Adenco BAT.

Class S saw lone finishers in KwaZulu-Natal crew Glen Gibson and Mark Whitehurst in the Absolute Aceco. It gave the pair their first win of the season with championship frontunners Richard Schilling/Chris Davies (Plastotech Raceco) and Nic Goslar/Richard Carolin (Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco) failing to finish. Schilling/Davies did not start after clutch damage suffered during the Friday prologue to determine start positions. Goslar and Carolin were time barred after sideshaft problems.

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

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