Castrol Team Toyota’s two class SP Hilux pickups will start tomorrow’s Toyota Dealer 400 inMpumalangain first and third positions after a strong showing in today’s Donaldson prologue.
Duncan Vos, three times a previous winner of the event, the second round of the Absa Off Road Championship, and co-driver Rob Howie, finished first after a trouble-free run in a time of 48 min 37 sec, 24 seconds ahead of the Ford Ranger of Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst and 43 seconds in front of Castrol Toyota team-mates Anthony Taylor and Chris Birkin.
But for an intermittent problem with the odometers, which was traced to a loose plug and lostTaylorand Birkin around 30 seconds, it would have been a Castrol Team Toyota 1-2.
The 56-kilometre time trial, which traditionally determines the start order for the main race, was a testing combination of fast, open sections and rocky, mountainous tracks in the areanorth westof Lydenburg.
“This was just the start we were looking for,” said team principalGlyn Hall. “Both of our bakkies set a good pace and are in a good position to take full advantage in tomorrow’s race. Running in the front does present a bit of a challenge, though, as the first few cars open up the road for the rest of the field, who have an easier passage.”
Toyotas also emerged the fastest in the other two classes, with Cliff Weichelt and Johann Smalberger (N1 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser) heading class D in eighth place overall in the production vehicle category, and Dirk Putter and Jacobus Claassens (Toyota Hilux) first among the class E vehicles in 12th place overall.
Toyota Land Cruisers also filled second and third positions in class D, with Louis Weichelt and Maret Bezuidenhout (N1 4×4) second and Johan and Werner Horn (Malelane Toyota) third.
It was also a 1-2-3 forToyotain class E with the Hilux pickups of Johan Griffioen and Willem Marais second and Diederik Hattingh and Buks Cilliers third.
Tomorrow’s race, over two loops of 157 kilometres with a compulsory 15-minute service stop in between, starts from Lydenburg Toyota’s new state-of-the-art premises at 08.30 with the first vehicle due across the finish line at Lydenburg Toyota at around 14.00.
Toyota Acknowledges Its Sponsors and Specialist Official Supplier and Technical Partners
Toyotaenjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Castrol, Innovation Group, NGK, Imperial Group, SKF, Ferodo, Spanjaard, Edgecam and Donaldson.