Sun City, Friday – There was more success today for Motorite crew Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen with a Special Vehicle category win on the Donaldson Prologue to determine start positions on the Sun City 400 tomorrow.
Hutchison and Stassen (Motorite BAT Venom) won the recent Toyota 1000, and a free entry to next year’s Dakar Rally by also winning the Dakar Challenge that formed part of the Botswana race. Hutchison and Stassen lead the Special Vehicle championship, and their good form continued when provisional results saw them home 15 seconds clear of KwaZulu-Natal crew Lance Trethewey and Carl Wichmann (LT Earthmovers BAT) on a tight prologue route.
A second Motorite crew, the father and son combination of Nick and Ryan Harper in the 4×4 Revo, completed the first three. Only 25 seconds separated the three cars with Trethewey and Wichmann also coming off a good result with a win on the Nankang Drak 250 regional championship event.
The Atlas Copco pair of Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson, who trail Hutchison/Stassen by only four points in the championship, were fourth fastest. The top five was completed by another father son combination, Quintin and Kallie Sullwald, in the Elegant Fuel BAT.
A third father and son combination, Nardus and Louis Alberts, were next up ahead of the husband and wife pairing of Marius and Jolinda Fourie (PHB Porter) and KZN crew Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell in the Gibson Racing Porter. Bloemfontein-based Pieter Ruthven and Leander Pienaar (Ruwacon BAT) also continued a run of good form with ninth place, with Neil Meyer and Joseph Lewis (Zarco Challenger) scoring their first top 10 finish.
There was a desperately close finish in Class P with runaway championship leaders Colin Matthews and Alan Smith (Century Racing CR3) only three seconds ahead of Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne in the Raysonics Zarco. Matthews and Smith were delayed by a puncture with the crew running into problems changing the wheel.
A five minute penalty incurred for arriving late at the start dropped Toyota Desert Race winners Richard Fuller and Dennis Murphy (Regent Racing BAT) down the pecking order. It was a disappointing start for Fuller who is a previous winner of the Sun City 400.
The big losers on the day were reigning SA champions Hermann and Wichard Sullwald in the Elegant Fuel Porter. A blown motor relegated them to spectators over the weekend, and did nothing to help their championship cause.
Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park are all situated at the main entrance to the Sun City complex. Public access to these areas, and spectator viewing points along the route, is free of charge.
The race is scheduled to start at 8:30am.