ABSA Off-road Championship Round 4 – the halfway mark
Round four of the ABSA Off-road Championship takes place this weekend in the form of the only cross-border event of the championship, the Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert race. This race marks the halfway mark of the championship and promises to be eventful. To add more prestige to what is arguably the biggest off-road motorsport event on the South African calendar, the Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race was recently deemed part of the Dakar Challenge for Dakar 2013.
Ferdi de Vos, General Manager for Motorsport at Toyota South Africa Motors (who has been sponsoring the event for 31 years) welcomed this news:
“This year’s race is now one of only two events worldwide that, as part of the Dakar Challenge, will afford amateur car crews the opportunity to compete in the 2013 Dakar Rally in South America,” he said.
Last year, Team Ford took first place with Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst placing first in the SP Ford Ranger. Added to the pressure of reliving a successful 2011, Team Ford have been faced with challenge after challenge this year.
“We have had our fair share of challenges this season but we are hoping to turn it around in Botswana,” says Visser. “It’s definitely one of our favorite events on the calendar and with extra points on offer there is even greater motivation to finish ahead of the pack.”
Toyota teams, on the other hand, will be looking to keep their streak going after a one-two finish for Toyota at the second round. Duncan Vos and Rob Howie placed first at the Toyota Dealer 400, with team mates Anthony Taylor and Chris Birkin coming in second. Vos and Howie then continued their streak at round three, taking top podium position.
Other teams to watch are the young Woolridge and navigator Huxtable (Ford Ranger), BMW’s Hannes Grobler and Hennie ter Stege as well as Willem and Dana Vos in their X3, who entered late and have quite a bit to prove after not finishing at round two. A good placement at Friday’s Donaldson Prologues will go a long way to securing teams a decent lead in what is the most gruelling race of the championship.
“The prologue will be critical as it determines so much for the start of the race,” commented Woolridge.” If we can get through the prologue and the first day unscathed then day two will be a different race altogether.”