Toyota dominates the Kalahari 1000 Desert Race
Jwaneng, Botswana – Former Dakar rally winner Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy edged their Toyota teammates and South African champions Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie to win the 2017 Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, third round of the South African Cross Country Series at the weekend of just six seconds, far ahead of Johan and Werner Horn in a Toyota T-Class.
The two FIA specification Hiluxes were once again in a class of their own, stretching an unbeaten record stretching back to the 2015 season, with Poulter and Howie increasing their lead in the overall production vehicle championship.
Fourth were Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable in the first of the official Ford Ranger entries, followed by Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson for their second outing only in the new FIA-compliant Elf Renault Duster – just 28 seconds behind Woolridge’s younger brother , Gareth. , and Boyd Dreyer in the second “working” Ranger.
Woolridge and Dreyer, in turn, were just over two minutes ahead of defending T-Class champions Jason Venter and Vince van Allemann (Toyota Hilux) who had a solid weekend after a start to the season. jagged, just like Venter’s father. Deon and Jaco van Aardt, who returned about 15 minutes from their teammates.
Venter senior and Van Aardt finished just two minutes ahead of Hennie de Klerk and former SA champion Achim Bergmann in a Volkswagen Amarok, which also won the Dakar Challenge, earning them free entry to the Dakar Rally. 2018 in South America – a prize worth € 14,800 (R213,500).
Rounding out the top 10, former South African champion Jannie Visser and his son Chris in what was probably the weekend’s drive, winning the S-Class in a Toyota Hilux by a huge margin from David Huddy and Rodney Cook in a Nissan Navara, which were the last of the classified in the general classification.
The weekend was a total disaster for Gary Bertholdt and Philip Herselman, whose Amarok suffered a fuel leak, caught fire and was totally destroyed.
The first national victory for a cross-country crew is always special, but doing it in the only marathon event on the calendar, the most difficult event of its kind in southern Africa, is truly memorable.
Husband and wife Marius and Jolinda Fourie will certainly be remembered for winning the Special Vehicles category of the 2017 Botswana 1000 Desert race in their BAT, 15 minutes ahead of the father / daughter combination Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne in a Porter.
After a disappointing qualifying race on Friday, several former Class P champions John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten finally managed to push their Zarco Magnum to third place, in their second outing only in first class A – although they came under late pressure from P-class winners Nic Goslar and Andrew Massey in another Zarco Magnum.
Fourie’s victory aside, Goslar and Massey’s driving was arguably the bravest ride of the weekend. Although they raced the last stage without any communication between the driver and the navigator, they gave Thomson and Zermatten a run for their money and were only 40 seconds behind the Class A car in the final standings.
Lesotho-based Chenoweth crew Stefan van Pletzen and Jaco Pieterse rounded out the top five with a comeback on the final day, followed at home by Werner Kennedy and Thinus Venter (Aceco) and Shaun van Rooyen and Gene Rogers (Century CRT) , respectively second and third in P-Class.
But there was a disappointment for rookie driver Schalk Burger and South African rally champion Elvéne Coetzee in a race Coetzee’s father won two years in a row. Their race ended when their Porter collided with Kobus and Miranda Fourie’s BAT, putting the two crews apart for the duration.