A tough day at the office for Toyota motorsport in RFS Magalies 400 off road race
Motor sport is a great leveller and there are days when there is more rough to take than smooth. Saturday was one of those days for Toyota Motorsport, with the Castrol Team Toyota Hilux double cabs of Duncan Vos/Rob Howie and Anthony Taylor/Chris Birkin finishing fifth and 10th respectively in the production vehicle category of the RFS Magalies 400 at Tarlton near Krugersdorp.
Under the circumstances, the factory Toyotacrews did well to record the results they did after disappointing prologue results on Friday saw Vos start the race in 10th place and Taylor 24th. While Vos’s prologue result could be attributed to an over cautious start, Taylor was a non-finisher and relegated to the back of the field for Saturday’s race after destroying the Toyota’s right front wheel and suspension when he hit a large rock concealed in long grass.
Dry, windless conditions made overtaking difficult in the thick dust that hung in the air and the fast, rocky route, consisting of three loops of 110 kilometres each in the Tarlton/Magalies area, took a heavy toll on the field.
By the time the field reached the designated service point at the Tarlton International Raceway, at the end of the second loop and after 220 kilometres, Vos had moved up to fifth place and Taylorhad improved his position to 12th.
An eventful loop three saw Vos delayed by two punctures that prevented him from improving his position, whileTaylorhad more trouble in the final 40 kilometres than in the rest of the race. A tyre blow-out when he was lying seventh was followed by a broken drive shaft that, in turn, caused a broken brake pipe and no brakes for the rest of the race.
“This was obviously not the start to the new season that we were hoping for,” admittedGlyn Hall, team principal of Toyota Motorsport. “However, we can take heart from the fact that the performance of both of our vehicles was good – no problem in that department – andDuncan’s Hilux ran absolutely faultlessly throughout the event. Third was the best he could have hoped for from his starting position and, but for the two punctures, he would probably have achieved that.”
Toyotaprivateers made up for the disappointment in the premier SP class by taking the honours in both classes D and E. Cliff Weichelt and Johan Smalberger (N1 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser) finished eighth overall among the production vehicles and first in class D, while Dirk Putter and Koos Claassens (Sizwe Toyota Hilux) were 11th overall and the leading class E crew.
The next round of the championship is the Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalangaon April 13 and 14.
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