Championship contenders today dominated the Special Vehicle category on the Donaldson Prologue to determine grid positions for tomorrow’s RFS Magalies 400, the final event of the year on the Absa Off Road Championship calendar, at Tarlton International Raceway.
Former champion Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen, in the Motorite Revo 4×4, took the overall honours by 20 seconds from Herman and Wichard Sullwald, in the Sullwald Racing SVR, with the two crews part of the championship mix. Hutchison lies second in the driver’s championship where he leads Sullwald by just half a point.
It was a disappointing day, however, for championship leaders and reigning champions Kallie Sullwald and son Quintin in the Elegant Fuel BAT. An early puncture on the 60 kilometre prologue route set them back on their heels and they finished just over three minutes behind the leaders in 11th place.
“It was disappointing,” said Sullwald senior, “but we are still in a good position. We have a slight points cushion and it is going to be an interesting race.”
Hutchison, who has to win or come in second to stand a chance of taking the drivers’ title, was upbeat at the end of the day. Co-driver Stassen missed an event earlier in the season and the co-driver title battle is a straight fight between the Sullwald cousins.
“We have no option but to go flat out for the race win and taking the prologue was a little victory,” said Hutchison. “The route suits our car so the prospects of a race win are good, and if there is an omen it is that I won both my previous national titles at the last race of the season.”
Another father and son team, Nick and Ryan Harper, were third in the Motorite BAT, and Hutchison will be looking to the pair to run a little interference. KwaZulu-Natal crew Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell were fourth in the Gibson Racing Porter with the in-form Brett Parker and VZ van Zyl fifth in the Sizanani Jimco.
The Class P championship is also up for grabs with the two teams in the running finishing eighth and 10th respectively. Marius and Jolinda Fourie (PHB BAT) edged out championship leaders Archie Rutherford and Mike Lawrenson in the Regent Racing Jimco.
The Fouries became the fifth Class P team to win a national event overall when they won the recent Human Auto 400 in the Free State, while Rutherford and Lawrenson won this event last year.
Class B honours went to Keith and Andrew Makenete ahead of the father and daughter combination of Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne in the Raysonics Zarco. Keith Makenete has already clinched the drivers’ title while Andrew Makenete leads Sandra Labuscagne by a narrow margin in the co-driver title race.
Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service point are all located at Tarlton International Raceway. Public entry to these areas and spectator points along the route is free of charge.
The race will start at 08:30.