CASTROL TEAM TOYOTA SET TO STEADY THE SHIP AT NKOMAZI 450May 11, 2014
With the first two rounds of the Donaldson Cross-Country Championship behind them, Castrol Team Toyota turns its focus to the Nkomazi 450 which takes place on 16 and 17 May in vicinity of Malelane, Mpumalanga.
Round One saw the team finish in first and second place; while Leeroy Poulter and navigator Rob retained their second place in the championship despite finishing in sixth place on Round Two. Defending champions Anthony Taylor and navigator Dennis Murphy, however, were forced to retire during the main race in Round Two, which took place in Mooi River (Kwazulu Natal).
"With Anthony and Dennis not scoring any points on Round 2, we need a clean run on this race," says Team Principal Glyn Hall. "With this in mind, we’ve made some changes to the parts that failed on both vehicles during the previous race, and we're also back in familiar territory with the Nkomazi 450."
This will be the second running of the Malelane-based race, which follows two brand new events on the calendar. As such, the teams will have the benefit of having covered most of the route in the past. This is especially true for Poulter’s navigator Rob Howie.
"Duncan Vos and I finished in third place on this race last year," Howie recalls. "It was a good result, but there's no reason Leeroy and I can't improve on that this year."
As it stands, Poulter/Howie are lying second in the championship, 11 points behind Ford driver Manfred Schroder. Taylor/Murphy are another four points further back, which confirms the importance of a points-scoring performance for them on this event.
The Nkomazi 450 is the home-race for brothers Johan and Werner Horn, who campaigns the Malelane Toyota Hilux. The pair are just two points behind Taylor and Murphy, and their performance on the Toyota 450 effectively served notice of the team’s intent this year. The brothers are firm crowd favourites, and it would be folly to bet against a good performance from them in what is effectively their back yard.
The 100 km qualifying event of the Nkomazi 450, which determines the start position for the main event, starts at 11:30 on May 16th. At 08:30 on Saturday, May 17th, the main race kicks off. It consists of two 175 km-long loops and includes a compulsory 15 minute break after the first loop.
The Designated Service Park (DSP) and race HQ will be situated at the Riverview Preparatory School, and there are 12 specatator points marked along the route, most of them near the N4 highway which assuring quick and easy access.
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