TOYOTA SOUTH AFRICA TEAMS DOMINATE ATLAS COPCO TIMBERTRACK 400 PROLOGUE
Toyota teams ran rampant in the Production Vehicle category on today’s Donaldson Prologue to determine grid positions for the Atlas Copco Timbertrack 400, round three of the Absa Off Road Championship, in Richmond tomorrow (19 May 2012).
Led by the Team Castrol Toyota Hilux entries of Anthony Taylor/Chris Birkin and Duncan Vos/Chris Birkin in the premier SP Class, Toyota entries were first in all three championship classes in the Production vehicle category. It continued a Toyota surge after Vos/Howie led home Taylor/Birkin on the recent Toyota Dealer 400 with Toyota also winning Class D and Class E on the Mpumalanga event.
On a tight and technical route in the Umkomaas River Valley the Taylor/Birkin combination finished 16 seconds clear of Vos and Howie who currently lead the Production vehicle category. Vos and Howie were eight seconds clear of local favourite Alfie Cox and German co-driver Jurgen Schroder in the PS Pazer Nissan Navara.
“It was another good day for us,” said Castrol Toyota team principal Glyn Hall. “Both cars had clean runs but starting at the front of the field will make it a little difficult for both crews. It is going to be a tough race on a tough and very technical route, but all the signs are positive.”
Both Taylor and Vos said the secret of success in the race would be to stay on the track. “If you get off line you are going to be in trouble,” said Vos.
Toyota entries filled the first three places in both Class D and E. Championship leaders Cliff Weichelt and Johan Smalberger (N1 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser) led home Mpumalanga brothers Johan and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Land Cruiser) and youngsters Jason Venter and Vincent van Alleman in the 4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux.
In Class D it was another Toyota clean sweep with championship leaders Dirk Putter and Koos Claasens (Toyota Hilux) leading home Johan Griffioen/Willem Marais (Force Fuel Toyota Hilux) and Diederik Hattingh/Buks Cilliers in the Transcor Toyota Hilux. Both Weichelt/Smalberger and Putter/Claasens have won twice so far this season.
Tomorrow’s race starts at 8.30am at the Richmond Country Club with crews completing two laps of a 175 kilometre course. There will be a compulsory 15 minute stop at the end of the first loop.