Volk­swa­gen goes in­ter­na­tional with Spirit of Africa

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

VOLK­SWA­GEN Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles is tak­ing the Spirit of Africa Tro­phy to an in­ter­na­tional stage, by invit­ing teams from Aus­tralia, Namibia and Botswana to com­pete against South African win­ners in the inau­gu­ral Spirit of Amarok in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion in Botswana from Septem­ber 13 to 17, 2015.

“We have taken a de­ci­sion to go in­ter­na­tional with the Spirit of Africa Tro­phy to mark our six years of spon­sor­ship, as well as eleven years of the com­pe­ti­tion by invit­ing teams from our neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, Namibia and Botswana and our sport arch-ri­vals Aus­tralia,” said Jaco Steenekamp, gen­eral man­ager: sales and mar­ket­ing for Volk­swa­gen Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles.

Steenekamp added: “Our as­so­ci­a­tion with the com­pe­ti­tion and rally leg­end Sarel van der Merwe has been tremen­dous in pro­mot­ing the Amarok brand and show­cas­ing its of­froad ca­pa­bil­i­ties to the thou­sands of par­tic­i­pants that we have hosted since Amarok’s in­tro­duc­tion in 2010.”

Each coun­try will be rep­re­sented by five teams, each com­pris­ing two peo­ple that will be show­cas­ing their tech­ni­cal of­froad driv­ing skills in the tough­est 4x4 chal­lenge in Africa.

“The in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion will be hard core and more tech­ni­cal to en­sure that we chal­lenge and test the 4x4 skills of the par­tic­i­pat­ing teams. Each of the five days of the com­pe­ti­tion will have dif­fer­ent chal­lenges. The re­sults from each day will not be com­mu­ni­cated to the teams un­til at the prize giv­ing cer­e­mony on the last day of the com­pe­ti­tion,” ex­plained Sarel van der Merwe, the host of the com­pe­ti­tion. “This will make the com­pe­ti­tion more ex­cit­ing and in­trigu­ing to the teams.”

The top five teams to rep­re­sent South Africa at the 2015 Spirit of Amarok Tro­phy will be de­cided from the 20 teams that will be con­test­ing in the lo­cal fi­nals in Au­gust at the Kwalata Game Re­serve in Botswana. The top 20 fi­nal­ists emerged from 500 com­pet­ing teams at the 2015 Spirit of Africa Tro­phy elim­i­na­tion rounds in Zeerust, which took place be­tween April and June.

“This year saw the high­est num­ber of en­tries that we have ever had in the 11-year history of the com­pe­ti­tion. We ex­pect the en­tries to in­crease to over 600 teams in 2016. This is due to the pop­u­lar­ity of the com­pe­ti­tion and prox­im­ity of Zeerust to Gaut­eng, Lim­popo, Mpumalanga and Free State, mak­ing it easy for par­tic­i­pants to travel to the com­pe­ti­tion venue,” said Van der Merwe.

Dur­ing the elim­i­na­tion rounds, each group of the 20 teams tackle dif­fer­ent chal­lenges over three days. The chal­lenges in­clude speed tests, re­verse tests and off-road tech­ni­cal driv­ing to de­ter­mine the best and most pre­cise driv­ers in the group.

The scores from all 500 teams are ranked to de­ter­mine the top 20 teams that will progress to com­pete in the fi­nals of the Spirit of Africa Tro­phy. The for­mat for the Spirit of Amarok In­ter­na­tional Fi­nal will be sim­i­lar to the lo­cal fi­nals which are held over five days. — Supplied.

PHOTO: QUICK­PIC

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