START-TO-FINISH VICTORY FOR TOYOTA GAZOO RACING SA ON LICHTENBURG 450
After four rounds of the 2016 Donaldson Cross-Country Championship, Toyota Gazoo Racing SA, in association with Total Quartz, remain unbeaten. Leeroy Poulter and navigator Rob Howie recorded their fourth straight victory on the Lichtenburg 450, held over the weekend of 29 and 30 July, 2016. Teammates Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy chalked up another second place, cementing their position in the standings.
“It was a great weekend for the team,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal from the Designated Service Park (DSP) on the outskirts of the Northwest town of Lichtenburg. “Unfortunately the weekend was marred by controversy surrounding penalties that may still be applied to a large number of competitors, but as things stand right now, we’ve won the race.”
The situation arose around uncertainty amongst the competitors regarding a stop at a railway crossing, though the details remain unclear. By the time the dust had settled over the Lichtenburg route, however, no final decisions had been made regarding the penalties, and all the results are subject to appeal.
“Even so, we are pleased that we had another clean run for both Anthony and Leeroy, with each of them reporting a puncture as their only problems,” said Hall. “Our crews lead from start to finish, with Leeroy and Rob winning the qualifying race, and holding on to their lead until the finish.”
The weekend’s results were further bolstered by 4x4 Mega World’s Jason Venter and Vince van Alleman, driving their Class T Toyota Hilux to victory. Class T caters for V8-powered machines with solid rear axles, as opposed to the independent rears featured in Class FIA, where Poulter and Taylor compete.
Venter/Van Alleman started the main race in second place, just behind the Volkswagen Amarok of Gary Bertholdt. However, the pair managed to overtake the Volkswagen, scoring maximum points in their class, and cementing their position at the top of the standings.
In Class S, for vehicles with engines up to four litres in capacity, former champion Jannie Visser, partnered with Chris Visser Jnr, scored maximum points, when they crossed the line in first position their Toyota Hilux.
Poulter/Howie’s victory on the Lichtenburg 450 means that the pair remain unbeaten in this year’s championship. Furthermore, Poulter has won every national race entered with Toyota Gazoo Racing SA, in association with Total Quartz this year.
“We are also pleased that the Toyota Hilux remains unbeaten in all global competitions entered so far in 2016, with the exception of Dakar 2016. Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel most recently recorded a win on the Baja Aragon in Spain last weekend.”
Al-Attiyah has recorded four wins on the trot, with Poulter doing the same in South Africa. As such, the South-African built and developed Toyota Hilux has proven itself as a highly reliable and successful racing machine.
The next event on the 2016 South-African cross-country calendar is the Nkomazi 450 in Malalane, which takes place on 26 and 27 August 2016.