TOYOTA AND FORD TEAMS LOCK HORNS ON RACING SECTION ONE ON TOYOTA KALAHARI BOTSWANA 1000 DESERT RACE
Jwaneng, Botswana – A terrific battle between Toyota and Ford teams was starting to unfold on the first racing section of the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, round four of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship here today.
At the halfway mark of the first 450 kilometre racing section three Toyotas led two Fords with less than three minutes separating the cars. At the designated service point after the first of two 225 kilometre laps reigning Production Vehicle champions Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy led Team Castrol Toyota Hilux team-mates Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie by 38 seconds.
Mpumalanga brothers Johan and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Hilux) were in third place and trailed Poulter/Howie by 19 seconds. Right behind the Horns, with the gap 15 seconds, were the Atlas Copco Ford Racing pair of Manfred Schroder and Japie Badenhorst with team-mates Gary Bertholdt and Siegfried Rousseau next up.
It was a tough morning for qualifying race winners Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin in the third factory Castrol Toyota Hilux. They gradually dropped off the pace and were running in midfield.
Jannie Visser/Joks le Roux (Ruwacon Toyota Hilux) led the Class S contingent with Dewald and Anton Nienaber (Toyota Land Cruiser) leading Class D. Jan Greef and Dirk Putter (Ford Ranger) led Class E.
The Special Vehicle category was turning into a family affair with Laurence du Plessis partnered by Gielie le Roux in a Zarco, leading brother Gerard and nephew Hardus, in a Jimco, by just under a minute. Behind the du Plessis siblings a great battle had developed between three sets of South African champions.
Less than a minute separated Quintin and Kallie Sullwald (Elegant Fuel BAT Venom), Evan Hutchison/Danie Stassen (Motorite BAT) and Wichard and Hermann Sullwald in the Elegant Fuel Stryker.
KwaZulu-Natal crew James Watson and John Thompson (BAT) led Class P ahead of John Thomson/Maurice Zermatten (Zarco) and Sean Reitz/Michael Abramson in the Regent Racing Jimco.