Round 1 of the 2017 South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS) took place in the Northwest town of Lichtenburg this weekend, with Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie (#300) taking the win.
The pair missed the closing rounds of the 2016 season as Poulter had to undergo surgery, but this weekend it was back to their familiar winning ways, when they dominated Friday’s 50 km qualifying race and went on to place their Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux on the top step of the podium.
The main race got under way at 08:30 on April Fool’s Day, with the two Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux leading the way but Poulter/Howie got stuck in a marshy area shortly after starting the race. They got going again, but not before De Villiers/Murphy and one of the Ford crews passed them.
Once back on the road, Poulter set about reclaiming lost ground, and quickly powered back into the lead of the race.
After the service break Giniel De Villiers ran into trouble when a brake disc exploded on his vehicle. The crew tried to affect field repairs, but in the end they were forced to retire.
Poulter/Howie, meanwhile, were in clear air at the head of the field, and stormed to victory in a total race time of 05:44:35.
Their victory was backed up by brothers Johan and Werner Horn, in the Malalane Toyota Hilux, competing in Class T of this year’s championship. This class caters for near-FIA spec race vehicles, and their Toyota Hilux was recently upgraded with a new V8 engine. They faced stiff opposition at Round 1 of the season, with 12 Class T vehicles lining up for the start on Saturday morning.
The 2017 SACCS consists of six rounds, with the next event taking place around the battlefields near Dundee in KZN. This will be round 2 of the series, and takes place on 12-13 May, 2017.
Source: Toyota SA