Cas­trol Team Toy­ota take clean sweep with At­las Copco 450 win

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING - — Wheels Reporter.

HAV­ING al­ready wrapped up the ti­tle for the 2015 Don­ald­son Cross-Coun­try Cham­pi­onship on the pre­vi­ous round, Cas­trol Team Toy­ota’s Leeroy Poul­ter and nav­i­ga­tor Rob Howie (Toy­ota Hilux) put the cherry on top this week­end, by win­ning the At­las Copco 450, the fi­nal round of the 2015 sea­son.

The newly crowned cham­pi­ons qual­i­fied in sec­ond place, less than two min­utes be­hind former cham­pi­ons and team­mates An­thony Tay­lor and nav­i­ga­tor Den­nis Mur­phy, but went on to take the win by six min­utes dur­ing the main race. This re­sult gives Cas­trol Team Toy­ota a clean sweep for the year, hav­ing won ev­ery quali­fy­ing race as well as ev­ery round of the year.

Just 34 sec­onds sep­a­rated sec­ond through to fourth place as the teams blasted through the fi­nal tim­ing point of the 2015 cham­pi­onship, hav­ing pro­duced the year’ most ex­cit­ing and closely fought race.

Lance Wool­ridge/Ward Huxtable wrapped up a solid week­end for the Ford Per­for­mance team in fifth place, re­sult­ing in three Rangers fin­ish­ing in the top five over­all Pro­duc­tion Ve­hi­cle re­sults.

Af­ter the heart-break of lead­ing last year’s event un­til an elec­tri­cal fault stopped their charge al­most within sight of the fin­ish line, former Pro­duc­tion Ve­hi­cle cham­pi­ons Chris Visser and Japie Baden­horst pow­ered their Ford Ranger to the run­ner-up po­si­tion fol­low­ing a pun­ish­ing 430 km route staged in the gold min­ing belt on Gaut­eng’s West Rand.

It was a good race for the made-in-Maritzburg Fords in gen­eral, with the ex-fac­tory Ranger of Aus­tralians John Pur­shouse and Mur­ray Hynes earn­ing a com­mend­able 10th place over­all.

Team prin­ci­pal Neil Wool­ridge said: “This was a great way to end what has been a dif­fi­cult sea­son for us. We set out firstly to fin­ish the race and se­condly to se­cure a podium re­sult, and we achieved both of th­ese ob­jec­tives.

“What was re­ally en­cour­ag­ing is that all of our cars were on the pace through­out the race, and the en­tire event was dic­tated by the ex­cep­tion­ally tough ter­rain. “There sim­ply wasn’t any room to make a mis­take, and just a sin­gle punc­ture could put you out of the run­ning com­pletely.”

Wool­ridge thanked Ford, his team, the spon­sors and fans for sup­port­ing and en­cour­ag­ing the team through­out what has been “a very chal­leng­ing year”.

PHOTO: COLIN MILEMAN

The Ford per­for­mance team who helped Chris Visser and Japie Baden­horst (in­set) power their Ford Ranger to the podium in the year’s last cross coun­try race over the week­end.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.