Dakar 2013 Rally Sarel van Biljon to watch at Sun City 400



    Sarel van Biljon

    Dakar Rally quad hero Sarel Van Biljon will be a driver to watch at the Sun City 400, round five of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, in the Pilanesberg on July 26 and 27.

    Van Biljon, paired with the experienced Philip Herselman in the Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux, made an impressive debut on the recent Toyota 10000 Desert Race in Botswana and looks to be a star of the future. Limpopo based Van Biljon could not have chosen a tougher event than the Botswana outing on which to make his debut, but before dropping out on the final day ran strongly in the top five for much of the race.

    Van Biljon, who burst into prominence with his exploits on the 2013 Dakar Rally, has taken over the Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux previously campaigned by Gary Bertholdt. The surprise package on this year’s Dakar after running as high as third in his rookie appearance on the world’s toughest event, Van Biljon won a special stage and eventually finished 15th after running into problems that dropped him down the field.

    “On the basis of his Botswana debut cross country racing may have unearthed a real find in Sarel,” said Herselman. “He was thrown in at the deep end on the Desert Race but did a fine job under a great deal of pressure.

    “From a quad bike to a hi-tech SP Class cross country vehicle is a big step up for Sarel and what he needs now is experience. The Sun City 400 will be another step in the learning curve, but with the likes of Gary and Johan van Staden, who also campaigned the Dakar Rally, in the team he has plenty of experience on which to draw.”

    The Sun City 400 heralds in the second half of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship with two factory teams locked together at the top of the Production Vehicle championship. A second win in two events on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race lifted Team Castrol Toyota pair Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy into a tie with former champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, in the Ford Racing Ranger, at the top of the points table.

    The Pilanesberg event will again be based at the Sun City resort with free public access to race headquarters and the designated service park. The event, as always, will be spectator friendly with free public access to numerous viewing points along the route.

    Qualifying to determine race start positions will start at 12:30 on July 26 and the race at 08:30 the following day.