SUCCESS FIRST TIME OUT FOR HUTCHISON/STASSEN
Tarlton, Friday – Former South African champion Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen tasted success first time out in a new car when they won The Special Vehicle category on today’s Donaldson Prologue to determine start positions for the RFS Magalies 400, round one of the Absa Off Road Championship, here tomorrow.
“Photographer Danie van Jaarsveld Copyright 2012”
Giving the BAT Venom its first outing after a race against time to get the cars ready for this weekend, Hutchison and Stassen blitzed the rest of the field to finish nearly a minute ahead of brothers David and Gary White in the Ruwacon Racing BAT. The official gap between the two cars was 58 seconds with Johan van Staden and new co-driver Mike Lawrenson another 12 seconds off the pace in the Atlas Copco BAT.
“After driving a four-wheel drive car for a couple of seasons it took me a little time to get used to rear-wheel drive,” said Hutchison. “It was an excellent first outing for us, and hopefully the race will go the same way.”
The White brothers reported alternator problems while van Staden and Lawrenson, the reigning Class P champion, enjoyed a clean run. A happy van Staden said he and Lawrenson had worked well together and a podium finish provided the pair with a solid start to the season.
KwaZulu-Natal pair Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell (Gibson Racing Porter) and Colin Matthews and Alan Smith (Century Racing CR3) completed the top five. Mathews and Smith were the first of the Class P brigade and will be looking to add greater reliability to their repertoire this season.
Veteran Nardus Alberts and son Louis (Wrapsa BAT), former champions Quintin and Kallie Sullwald (Elegant Fuel BAT) and Laurence and Gerhard du Plessis (Zarco Magnum) rounded out the top eight. For Quintin Sullwald it was his first outing as a driver after sitting next to his father on the way to SA titles in 2007 and 2010.
For a second Sullwald crew, reigning Special Vehicle champions Herman and Wichard Sullwald, in the Elegant Fuel Porter, it was not such a happy day. They struggled with a puncture and gearbox and front suspension niggles to finish down the pecking order in 13th place.
There was a gap of around four minutes between Matthews/Smith and the father and daughter combination of Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne (Raysonics Zarco) in Class P. There was another three minutes between the Labuscagnes and John Telford and Jaco Swart in the Calcamite BAT.
Tomorrow’s race starts at 08:30 at Tarlton International Raceway with competitors completing three loops of a 110 kilometre course. There will be a compulsory 15 minute stop for all crews at the end of lap two.
Public entry to race headquarters and the designated service point is free of charge. There is also no charge for entry to spectator viewing points along the route.