Castrol Team Toyota will be hoping to break its recent run of bad luck when its two Super Production class Toyota Hilux Double Cabs take on the final round of the Absa South African Off Road Car Championship, the RFS Magalies 400 at Tarlton in Gauteng this weekend (November 11 and 12).
While Toyota has already wrapped up the manufacturers’ championship for the second year in succession and enjoys a lead of 247,5 points over Nissan with Ford a further 102,5 points in arrears, the overall drivers’ and co-drivers’ championships are still up for grabs.
After one of the closest-fought championships in many years, in which up to 19 vehicles have regularly contested the premier SP class, Castrol Team Toyota’s Duncan Vos and Rob Howie (Toyota Hilux) are one of six crews still in the running.
Despite winning two of the seven races run so far, three non-finishes have hurt their chances and they are each fifth in their respective championships, 15,5 points behind the current leaders with a maximum of 25 points on offer in the final round.
Anthony Taylor and Chris Birkin, who have been the pace setters almost the entire season and have been unfortunate to have to settle for a best of second place on two occasions, are eighth and ninth respectively in their championships after four non-finishes.
“We haven’t enjoyed the best of luck this season, but that’s how it goes in this sport, and Rob and I will be doing our best to win the final round,” said an upbeat Vos, who will be using this race as a practice run for his big challenge in January when he and Howie tackle the Dakar Rally in South America in January in their Toyota Hilux, which will be backed by Imperial Toyota, Duxbury Netgear and the Innovation Group. Former South African off road champion and 2009 Dakar Rally winner Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz of Germany will team up in the second Hilux for the famous ultra long distance off road race, which takes place in Argentina, Chie and Peru from January 1 to 15.
The two Castrol Toyotas fresh from a successful three-day test in the sand dunes of the Namib Desert in preparation for the Dakar.
“This will be our final opportunity to test both Toyotas before they are flown to Buenos Aires early in December for the Dakar and we’ll be monitoring every little detail this weekend,” said team principal Glyn Hall, who will manage the team in South America.
“Duncan’s Hilux is in full Dakar trim while Anthony’s will be stripped after this race and rebuilt in full Dakar specification.
We’ll be testing Dakar suspension settings, a new fuel pump system and an electrical system with new wiring harnesses and dashboard this weekend. Both vehicles will also feature the latest Toyota Hilux front end styling for the first time and will be fitted with the new rear-mounted radiator that debuted on Anthony’s double cab in the recent Human Auto 400 in the Free State.
“While preparing for the Dakar is important, our primary focus is on giving Duncan and Anthony all the help we can in finishing off what has been a long and hard season in style. We’ll be going for a win, as always, and with a bit of luck Duncan and Rob will pull of a championship victory.”
The RFS Magalies 400 will be based at Tarlton International Raceway near Krugersdorp, with race headquarters, start/finish and designated service point all located there. Friday’s Donaldson Prologue to determine the start positions for Saturday’s race will begin at 12.30 and cover a distance of 60 kilometres. Saturday’s action will start at 08.30 and cover a distance of some 360 kilometres.
Toyota Acknowledges Its Sponsors and Specialist Official Supplier and Technical Partners
Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Castrol, Innovation Group, NGK, Imperial Group, SKF, Ferodo, Spanjaard, Edgecam and Donaldson.
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