FACTORY TEAMS LOCKED IN BATTLE ON RFS 450
Harrismith, Saturday – The factory Castrol Toyota Hilux and Atlas Copco Ford Ranger were locked in early battle in the Production Vehicle category on the RFS 450, opening round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, here today.
At the compulsory 15 minute stop after the first of two 175 kilometre loops that make up the race, reigning champions Anthony Taylor/Dennis Murphy (Castrol Toyota Hilux) were being chased by the Atlas Copco Ford crews of Gary Bertholdt/Siegfried Rousseau and Manfred Schroder/Japie Badenhorst. Taylor/Murphy had built up a cushion of just over three minutes and looked to be in good shape.
Fourth were Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie in the second of the Castrol Toyota Hilux entries. In the only movement among the front runners Bertholdt/Rousseau moved ahead of Schroder and Badenhorst, who were battling a misfire, with Poulter/Howie overtaking local crew Kobus van Tonder and Freddie Kriel in the UniFreight Ford Ranger.
There was a change of order at the front of the Special Vehicle category field. Reigning South African champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen (Motorite BAT Viper) moved into the lead ahead of qualifying race winners Quintin and Kallie Sullwald in the Elegant Fuel BAT Venom. The Motorite crew held a lead of 43 seconds with national series debutants Arthur Barnes and Anthony Usher moving into a surprise third place in a BAT Venom.
Fourth were the father/son pair Gerhard and Gerhardus du Plessis (Jimco) with Marius and Jolinda Fourie fifth in the PHB BAT. The race ends at the La la Nathi resort outside Harrismith early this afternoon.