SA Cross Country Championship
Giniel does it again
Reigning rally and offroad champion Leeroy Poulter and co-driver Rob Howie were in prime form on the qualifying race of the Harrismith 400 event.
The pair, in the works Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Toyota Hilux V8, set a blistering pace, starting the race proper ahead of teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy.
Come race day and on the first of two racing loops, Poulter and Howie kept the hammer down, staying comfortably ahead of De Villiers and Murphy in the second FIAspecification Toyota Hilux V8. But then a gearbox problem sidelined the leading Hilux, forcing Poulter to park the Toyota. De Villiers took over the reins at the front of the field, with only a puncture and a stop to replace a wheel causing a slight sweat in their cabin. For the rest, it was plain sailing for the 2009 Dakar Rally champion.
Class T competitors Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer (Puma Lubricants Ford Ranger V8) finished 11 minutes behind the leading FIA specification Toyota, but the team managed to stay just over two minutes ahead of their teammates, Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable.
Former champion Chris Visser and Philip Herselman (Class T Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux V8) finished in fourth position overall. Evan Hutchinson and Danie Stassen (King Price BAT) completed the top five in their Class A special vehicle.
In summary: 33 teams lined up for the start of the
Harrismith 400, of which 22 managed to complete the race. Among the casualties were reigning champ Poulter, both Class T 4×4 Mega World Toyota Hilux bakkies, Hennie de Klerk (Treasury One VW Amarok), Richard Leeke (ATS Motorsport Ford Ranger) and former rally competitor Visser du Plessis, who was a guest driver in a King Price Porter.
The next round of the 2017 SA Cross Country Series takes place at Sun City in the North West Province, on 15 and 16 September. More information: sacrosscountryracing.co.za
Main: Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Hilux V8 at speed.
Above: Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy (centre) made it two wins in a row in their Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux V8. Below: Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer in the Puma Lubricants Ford Ranger V8 won Class T.