Team Ford Racing enjoyed a successful season debut at the Nissan Dealer 400 event that took place this weekend. The event marked the first round of the 2007 Absa Off Road Championship and saw the Ford Racing Rangers finishing high up in the point positions.

Brandon Harcus and Juan Mohr made their Ford Racing debut at the Western Cape event and showed that they are a force to be reckoned with in the SP Class. The duo put on a sterling performance to cross the finish line with excellent times.

“It’ been fantastic,” commented Harcus at the finish line. “We’re delighted to start the season like this and claim points on our debut event. The Ranger was faultless throughout allowing us to challenge at the sharp end of the grid – something we hope to continue on in to the future.”

Teammates Manfred Schroder and Ward Huxtable also made their class SP debut this weekend. The pair dominated the Class E field last season and have now proven that they will be threatening in the SP class too, having claimed fifth place at this weekends meeting.

“It’s great to be in Class SP this season and to be at the front right off the bat. Our Class E car was exceptional last season and it appears that we have a fantastic vehicle again in the SP Ford Ranger.” commented Schröder.

While Harcus and Schroder enjoyed fault free runs team leaders Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer were less fortunate.

“We were looking really strong, but about 80km from the finish we lost drive putting us out of contention,” explained Woolridge. “We’re disappointed that we had to end the weekend in this manner, but having said that the team as a whole was outstanding.”
Both Brandon and Manfred, who are new to the class, were on the pace from the outset. “The new cars have shown great potential and overall we are looking extremely strong for the season ahead.” Woolridge continued.

Flying the flag in Class E Jack Peckham and Lucio Santoro piloted their Ford Ranger to second in class after a difficult start to the weekend. The duo lost time during Friday’s prologue when their Ranger flipped on its side.

“We were stranded for a few minutes while we waited for some assistance,” explained Peckham after the event. “Once we were back on our feet we managed to soldier on but we had lost a lot of time. The incident caused us to start from the back of the field on Saturday, but we managed to pick the guys off slowly but surely and had a faultless run, eventually finishing second in class.”

The event marked the first outing of Lucio Santoro in the navigator’s seat. “I come from a biking background so this was something new for me. I was rather nervous at the start but once we got going I got into it and I’m now looking forward to the rest of the season.”

The next round of the championship takes place in Hluhluwe, Kwa-Zulu Natal on 13 and 14 April.  “We’re looking forward to the next outing,” explained Woolridge. “It’s a home event for us so we will be looking to go all out to impress the local fans.”

“Based on our performance this weekend we are confident of our chances. The vehicles have a lot of potential and we have a strong driver and navigator line-up as demonstrated this weekend. We would also like to thank our sponsors, Ford, Rockford Fosgate, Harden Auto, Absolute and Time Freight for their continued support.” he concluded.