FORD UPBEAT AHEAD OF 2008 OFF ROAD SEASON

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The 2008 ABSA Off Road Championship will get underway with the Nissan Dealer 400 on 29 February. The Western Cape based event is the first of eight rounds which make up this year’s championship.

Team Ford Racing will be looking to mount a strong challenge at the front of the Production Car field in a bid to claim the 2008 championship laurels. The team will this year boast a pair of 4-litre Ford Rangers in Class SP with a single diesel powered Ford Ranger contesting Class E.

Once again Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer will head the attack in their class SP Ford Ranger.  The duo ended the 2007 season on a high note when they won the final round of last year’s championship, and are eager to continue with their good form.

“We’re looking forward to getting back into the thick of the action. We showed at last year’s Carnival City event that we have a strong package in the Ford Ranger and we expect to build on that in the coming season,” comments team leader Woolridge ahead of the first event.

Piloting the second Ford Ranger SP vehicle will be Mark Ferguson with Craig West at his side. The duo got their first taste of National Championship Off Road racing in the final rounds of last year’s championship. Ferguson and West are now looking forward to completing their first full season as part of the Ford Racing team.

“We’re looking forward to the year ahead. It will be a steep learning curve for us however we can learn a lot from the likes of Neil and Kenny who have a wealth of experience in South African Off Road racing,” says Ferguson.

Reigning Class E champions Jack Peckham and Lucio Santoro will return to Class E to defend their title for Ford.  The duo secured the championship at the final round of last year’s championship and will want to get their 2008 campaign off to a strong start on the Nissan Dealer 400.

“We had a great season last year,” comments Peckham. “We learnt a lot during the course of the season and we expect that our progress will be even greater this year. The competition is likely to be tough once again however we are confident we have the right package to once again challenge for championship honours.”

The Ford Rangers though based on the vehicles which featured in last year’s championship will have a revised look for this year’s season, in-line with the new Ranger introduction.

“We have been working hard on development during the off season and have planned for further development to take place during the course of the year,” continues Woolridge. “Our aim is it to improve on the progress we made at the final round of last year’s championship. We expect that we will once again face stiff opposition during the course of the season however we are confident in the Ford Ranger package and the whole team is upbeat and looking forward to the first event.”