FORD TAKES THE LEAD IN THE 2008 ABSA NATIONAL OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP

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Team Ford Racing’s Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer put in a sterling performance at this weekend’s Lydenburg 400, to take over the lead in this year’s hard fought ABSA National Off Road Championship.

Woolridge and Skjoldhammer maintained their perfect tally of podium places by finishing in second place and securing their slot at the head of the championship log.

“With just one round remaining it’s all down to the wire,” explains a delighted Woolridge. “We’ve finished on the podium at every event this year. Continuous consistency and reliability now sees us going to the final round of the championship as the leaders.”

Dust proved to be a major setback for many of the teams on the Lydenburg event. “The dust was particularly bad in the first loop. We started fifth on the road following Friday’s prologue,” explains Skjoldhammer. “With no wind, the dust was very heavy and hanging. We were following closely behind another competitor making passing extremely difficult. Nevertheless Neil drove a brilliant race and we are pleased to once again be on the podium.”

While the team were pleased with the strong results of the day there was cause for concern following an incident during the event, that saw Mark Ferguson and Craig West in the second SP Ford Ranger forced to retire.

The pair hit a donga during one of the stages and the impact left Ferguson with compressed vertebra. While the vehicle emerged unscathed the severity of Ferguson’s injury saw them unable to continue.

“We wish Mark a speedy recovery,” explains team manager Woolridge. “Thankfully Craig was not injured but Mark was in severe pain. He is receiving medical attention and will hopefully be back on his feet soon.”
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More cause for celebration came when reigning Class E Champions Jack Peckham and Lucio Santoro scored their first win by fourteen minutes this season in the 3.0 TDCi Ford Ranger.”

“We’re extremely pleased to be back on the top step of the podium,” comments Peckham. “This season has been a tough one for us. We had to work through a number of teething problems as we introduced the new 3.0 TDCi Ford Ranger. With the exception of a flat tyre we with the car ran faultlessly throughout the weekend. “

With just one round remaining the pressure is on. Three contenders will go head to head for this year’s title. “It’s certainly going to be an exciting conclusion to the season. This weekend’s result was important for us as it sees us now leading the chase. Our reliability this weekend was also impeccable, although Mark and Craig were unable to finish due to Mark’s injury; none of the cars had any mechanical difficulties. We are therefore in a confident position heading into the title showdown next month,’ concludes Woolridge.

Team Ford Racing recognises the following sponsors for their commitment and belief in the team: Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, Time Freight, Special Steels, Ferguson investments, Hugo’s Panel Shop – Pietermaritzburg, Eibach Springs, Sign Solutions and Donerre Dampers.