Sun City, Friday – The RFS BMW pair of Christiaan du Plooy and Henk Janse van Vuuren followed up a podium finish on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race with a maiden Production Vehicle category win on the Donaldson Prologue at the Sun City 400 here today.
The Donaldson Prologue determines start positions for tomorrow’s race and provisional results saw du Plooy and Janse van Vuuren finish 16 seconds clear of Rustenburg-based Willem Vos and Werner Weiss in the Vossies BMW. It was also a first top three finish for Vos/Weiss, and a trio of first timers was completed by Deon Venter and Ian palmer in the 4×4 Mega World Toyota Hilux.
The first three cars were separated by only 19 seconds with Anthony Taylor and Chris Birkin the first of the ‘big guns’ in the factory Team Castrol Toyota Hilux. They were only six seconds behind Venter and Palmer, with Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable a further two seconds off the pace in the factory Ford Racing Ranger.
With less than 30 seconds between the top five cars it all adds up to a hectic start to the race. The privateer teams will be under pressure from the factory crews in what will be a fascinating start to a race where dust is likely to play a role.
Behind the top five there was also a good finish for Hugo de Bruyn and Henri Hugo (Micaren Exel Toyota Hilux) who were more than half a minute ahead of championship leaders Duncan Vos and Rob Howie in the second of the Team Castrol Toyota Hilux entries. Reigning champions Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux (International Truck Toyota Hilux) completed the top eight, and were just four seconds clear of Archie Rutherford and former Proteas fast bowler Fanie de Villiers in the SA Warranties Nissan Navara.
“It was an exhilarating experience,” said de Villiers afterwards. “Co-driving is no easy task but I am learning and looking forward to the race and hopefully tomorrow will be the same.”
Former SA champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst were a disappointing 10th ahead of Class D leaders Louis Weichelt and Maret Bezuidenhout in the N1 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser. Weichelt’s father Cliff and Johann Smalberger were only three seconds adrift in the second N1 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser and that sets up an interesting family duel.
There was another comfortable win for Class E championship leaders Dirk Putter and Koos Claasens in the 4×4 Mega World Toyota Hilux. Putter and Claasens are looking for their fourth win in five outings this season, and were well clear of KwaZulu-Natal crew Rowan Lamb and Lyle Parker in the Ford Ranger.
Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park are all located at the Sun City complex. Entry to these areas is free of charge with the race scheduled to start at 8:30am.