Dakar hero Giniel wins the Har­ri­smith 400 race

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORSPORT - MO­TOR­ING STAFF

TOY­OTA Ga­zoo Rac­ing’s Giniel de Vil­liers and Den­nis Mur­phy scored their sec­ond win of the sea­son in the Pro­duc­tion Ve­hi­cle class at the Har­ri­smith 400 on Satur­day, while reign­ing cham­pi­ons Evan Hutchi­son and Danie Stassen re­gained their cham­pi­onship lead by win­ning the Special Ve­hi­cles cat­e­gory.

De Vil­liers fol­lowed up his win at the Toy­ota 1000 Desert Race in June, with a com­fort­able vic­tory that pre­served the Ga­zoo Hilux’s un­beaten record dat­ing back to the 2015 sea­son. Pre-race favourites and cham­pi­onship lead­ers Leeroy Poul­ter and Rob Howie, in the sec­ond Dakar-spec Toy­ota Ga­zoo Hilux, were forced to re­tire with a bro­ken gear­box on the sec­ond of the 200km loops that made up the Har­ri­smith race.

Join­ing de Vil­liers on the podium were the two Ford NWM Puma Lubri­cants Rangers of Gareth Wool­ridge/Boyd Dreyer and Lance Wool­ridge/Ward Huxtable, who fin­ished first and sec­ond in Class T, to put cham­pi­onship pres­sure on Jo­han and Werner Horn in the Malalane Toy­ota Hilux. The Horn broth­ers led the cham­pi­onship go­ing into the event, and fin­ished fourth in class and fifth over­all be­hind for­mer South African cham­pion Chris Visser and Philip Hersel­man in the At­las Copco Toy­ota Hilux.

Hutchinson, in the King Price Ex­treme BAT Viper, nearly didn’t fin­ish af­ter suf­fer­ing a blown en­gine on the sec­ond 200km lap. Still, he limped home in first place with an oil light on for the fi­nal 20km. He was fol­lowed home five min­utes later by Ste­fan van Plet­zen and Jaco Pieterse, in the Live Le­sotho Chenowth, in sec­ond place. Third in Special Ve­hi­cles went to the fa­ther/daugh­ter com­bi­na­tion of Coetzee and San­dra Labuscagne, in the 4x4 Mega World Porter.

The fifth round of the South African Cross Coun­try Se­ries (SACCS) is the Sun City 400, sched­uled for Septem­ber 15 and 16 at the hol­i­day re­sort in the North West province.

The Ga­zoo Toy­ota Hilux is un­beaten in lo­cal of­froad rac­ing since 2015.

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