Hilux proving ground

The Berg 400 offroad race, the second round of the South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS), was a worthwhile proving ground for the Class FIA Toyota Gazoo Racing Hiluxes – due to take on Rally Kazakhstan in a week’s time – as they finished first, second and third overall.

“We had an amazing race, despite some very tricky terrain,” said an ecstatic Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall, after all three his crews sprayed the bubbly from the post-race podium. “To make matters even better for the spectators, there was a spectacular battle between Henk and Giniel for overall honours.”

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In the end, it was Henk Lategan and navigator Brett Cummings who brought their Class FIA Toyota Hilux over the line in first place, followed by winners of Round 1, Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy, 04:27 behind them.

The battle between the two crews started during the qualifying race, held on Ma 17y, which saw De Villiers/Murphy draw first blood. This gave them the dubious honour of opening the route for the main event – and a cruel twist of fate saw them lose the lead to their teammates after just two kilometres.

“We had hardly started when we suffered a puncture,” said De Villiers. “But that was only the beginning…”

A torrid race followed, with both crews suffering multiple punctures and upsets along the way. For De Villiers/Murphy it started with two punctures on the opening loop, and culminated with power steering problems 30 km from the finish.

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“It was a brutal race, and even though we managed to dig deep in the second loop, we just couldn’t stay ahead of our teammates,” said a rueful De Villiers after the event.

Not that it was plain sailing for Lategan/Cummings either. The pair had their own share of punctures, and even battled a small fire when the grass stuck in the front wheel of their Toyota Hilux caught alight while stopped to change a wheel.

Despite the trials and tribulations, Lategan/Cummings prevailed in the end, bringing their Class FIA Toyota Hilux home safely. This was a maiden win for Cummings, competing in only his second race with the team; and a second overall victory for Lategan, who opened his account during 2018.

“The route was extremely tricky in places, and the rough terrain made it very easy to make a mistake,” said Lategan after reaching the Designated Service Park (DSP), south of the town of Winterton in KwaZulu-Natal.

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“But Brett was great in the car despite suffering from motion sickness, and I’m extremely pleased with the result.”

Behind the duelling duo of Lategan and De Villiers, Shameer Variawa and Juan Möhr qualified in seventh place, and as a result had to battle their way through the dust of slower competitors during the first loop. The second loop saw the former Special Vehicle champion make up plenty of ground to finish in third place.

“Overall we had a really good outing in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Hall. “Next up are a couple of big, International races, before we head to Botswana for the only marathon event on the SACCS calendar. This is always a big one for us, as it is a Toyota-sponsored event, and we can’t help but feel some added pressure.”

The first of these is Rally Kazakhstan, which takes place in a week’s time, and two Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux race cars will be in action there. One will be in the hands of Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel; and the other will be piloted by Bernhard ten Brinke and Tom Colsoul.

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Progress for Pepper

It was a satisfying run to sixth place overall in the second round of W Series at Zolder in Belgium at the weekend for Tasmin Pepper who now moves to seventh overall in the series but still has eyes on catching the leaders.

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In a contest that was action-packed from the get-go, from P2 on the grid Beitske Visser stole an immediate lead, which she retained for the duration of the race; she also set the fastest lap (1min 29,639sec).

However, her impressive win was not without challenge, as pole-sitter Jamie Chadwick (GBR) was never far behind throughout a race that lasted 30 minutes plus one lap (as all W Series races do) yet was never able to catch the flying Dutchwoman.

Jamie, who leads the W Series points standings, secured second place, just ahead of Alice Powell (GBR), who had been second at Hockenheim two weeks ago, a race that Jamie had won. In a gripping Brit-versus-Brit showdown, the pair went head-to-head in the closing minutes of the race, leaving fans and spectators on the edge of their seats, ultimately finishing just 0,633sec apart.

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Suspense was the order of the day all the way down the field, various battles raging all across the punishing Zolder circuit, notorious for its meagre run-off areas leaving little room for error. Seconds after the race had started, a Safety Car was deployed after plumes of smoke had billowed out of the back of Belgian driver Sarah Bovy’s car, ending her W Series race debut before it had even started.

It was a disappointing outcome for the reserve driver who had been granted the opportunity to run in her home race only the day before.

Almost immediately after the Safety Car had returned to the pit-lane, a similar disappointment beset fellow reserve driver Vivien Keszthelyi (HUN), who was involved in a three-car collision following a too-bold move by Esmee Hawkey (GBR), who attempted to overtake Polish driver Gosia Rdest. The shunt forced all three drivers to retire, triggering a second Safety Car deployment.

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Vivien had been given the opportunity to race just hours before, after Finnish driver Emma Kimilainen had been forced to pull out owing to illness. Esmee will be subject to a five-place grid penalty for the next W Series race, in Misano, Italy, on June 8h, as a result of having caused a collision.

Farther down the field, Marta Garcia (ESP), who had finished third at Hockenheim two weeks ago, and Sarah Moore (GBR) fought out an obdurate battle for P4. Marta ended up just ahead, and Sarah therefore scored her second fifth-place finish in as many races. Meanwhile, also for the second race in a row,

Japanese driver Miki Koyama mounted an impressive charge through the field, this time from P13 on the grid to P8 at flag-fall (she had battled from P17 to P7 at Hockenheim two weeks ago). Tasmin Pepper, from South Africa, finished sixth, and Fabienne Wohlwend, from Liechtenstein, was seventh.

“Sixth today!” a delighted Tasmin confirmed. “I am really happy with our progress this weekend – every time I get in the car it’s getting better and better. “Zolder is probably one of the top tracks on my list in Europe so far, I had a great weekend and enjoyed every second of it!

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Tasmin with support from racer Dad, Iain

 

“I had decent pace and qualifying went well to put me in a fighting seventh on the grid and I made up a position early on. “From there it was tight — I was never much more than a few tenths behind Sarah while, I also had to keep Fabienne at bay, but this old school track made it very difficult to pass on, so I was unable to make any more positions up in the race.

The next W Series race will be run on the fast and challenging Italian circuit of Misano, where all W Series’ drivers will be aiming to repeat their successes of the first two races, and/or build on lessons learned.

Beitske Visser (NLD), P1 said: “I made pretty much a perfect start – I was in the lead by Turn One. Then the Safety Car came out and I had to manage the restart.

“Well, I think I managed a really good restart actually, and straight away I was able to build up a small gap to Jamie, who was in second place. But, soon after, I had to manage another restart after the Safety Car came out again, which I knew I’d have to manage differently otherwise Jamie would have known what I was going to do.

“But again it went well and I immediately built up a gap again. I continued to add to that gap slowly, lap by lap, until I could see Jamie and Alice in my mirrors, fighting each other.
“At that point I realised I was going to be able to bring it home.”

Race Results

Position No. Driver Nationality Laps Best Time
1 55 Jamie Chadwick British 11 1:28.681
2 95 Beitske Visser Dutch 11 1:28.797
3 27 Alice Powell British 12 1:29.122
4 19 Marta Garcia Spanish 12 1:29.131
5 26 Sarah Moore British 12 1:29.455
6 5 Fabienne Wohlwend Liechtenstein 11 1:29.498
7 31 Tasmin Pepper South African 12 1:29.540
8 2 Esmee Hawkey British 11 1:29.657
9 11 Vicky Piria Italian 12 1:29.828
10 3 Gosia Rdest Polish 12 1:29.850
11 20 Caitlin Wood Australian 12 1:30.089
12 99 Naomi Schiff German 12 1:30.157
13 85 Miki Koyama Japanese 12 1:30.207
14 21 Jessica Hawkins British 12 1:30.216
15 67 Shea Holbrook American 12 1:30.259
16 49 Megan Gilkes Canadian 12 1:30.385
17 77 R Vivien Keszthelyi Hungary 12 1:30.691
18 37 Sabré Cook American 12 1:31.46
19 58 R Sarah Bovy Belgian 13 1:31.463

Another win for Woolridge

The Woolridge juggernaut rolls on, having notched up another Class T win in the second round of the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS) at the Berg 400 held in Winterton, KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend.

The reigning Class T champions, Woolridge and Huxtable, were never headed in the leading Ford Castrol Cross Country Team Ranger, dominating the Friday qualifying session as well as the main race on Saturday to extend their lead in the title chase.

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The Brazilian crew of Marcos Baumgart and Kleber Cincea made their return to the SACCS for the first time this year after missing the season-opener. They completed qualifying in a comfortable fourth place and had a fault-free race on Saturday to finish second in their T20 Ranger. Unfortunately they were subsequently handed a 10 minute penalty for not coming to a complete stop at one of the race’s many road crossings, which relegated them to fifth in the final Class T standings.

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Nevertheless, Ford was rewarded with the prized Manufacturer’s Award as a result of four Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) built Rangers finishing in the top five places in Class T, including privateers Jacques van Tonder and Sammy Redelingshuys (R2D Ford Ranger) who ended third, followed by Wors Prinsloo and Kenneth Venter who completed their first national race in a commendable fourth place in an ex-NWM Ranger from the 2018 season.

“This is a great result for the team on what turned out to be a tough event,” says Neil Woolridge, NWM team principal. “Lance had a very good run, and even though he had two punctures on the first loop it did not change the results as many of the other teams suffered damaged due to the extremely rough conditions.

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“It is a real pity that Marcos and Kleber picked up the penalty as they had a superb race, but they took it on the chin and it is encouraging to see that all four Rangers that entered the event finished in the top five without a single mechanical issue.

“We did some development and performance upgrades on the cars prior to the Berg 400, and it was really encouraging to see how well this worked,” Woolridge added. “We saw how quick Lance was during qualifying, finishing a close third overall behind the two faster FIA-class factory Toyotas and well ahead of the other Class T cars. So this bodes well for the Desert Race which is a crucial event with the opportunity to score double points for the championship.”

Lance was delighted with his second consecutive win, although he admitted that it was a tough race that caught many crews out.

“We had a great qualifying, but then made a bit of a mess of the first loop with two flat tyres. This was a proper off-road race where you’re glad just to finish, and we managed a clean run through the second loop.

“We were fortunate that our closest rivals all picked issues due to the very rough terrain, but with the new rules they got going again and scored points – which proves that it will be a long battle through to the last race of the season, and we need to score maximum points at every event.”

The next race is the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Selebi Phikwe, Botswana, from 21 to 23 June.

New goodies for latest Evoque

Every automaker likes to lay claim being the pioneer in specific market segments in which they compete and, with relatively few exceptions, they really are not – one exception being the luxury compact market where the Land Rover Evoque changed more than just the shape of things when it launched in 2011.

The new Evoque again combines all-terrain ability with on-road composure, but the new vehicle architecture, updated technologies make it more comfortable, capable and connected than ever before.

Range Rover Evoque’s profile and coupé-like silhouette remains a signature but now fits on a 21 mm longer wheelbase.

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The new version is based on Land Rover’s mixed-metal Premium Transverse Architecture, which is 13% stiffer than its predecessor and together with rigidly-mounted subframes reduces noise and vibration intrusion into the cabin. With the longer wheelbase and compact new suspension design, the SUV delivers increased interior room and improved handling in all conditions.

A longer wheelbase yields 20 mm extra rear kneeroom and an increase in small item stowage – the larger glove box and centre cubby can now fit tablets, handbags and bottles with ease. The luggage space is 10% larger (591 litres) as well as much wider and easily fits a folded pram or set of golf clubs, with space increasing to 1 383 litres when the flexible 40:20:40 second-row seats are folded.

An Integral Link rear suspension separates lateral and longitudinal forces to enhance body control and agility, providing greater comfort and confidence on the road. At the front, the MacPherson strut Hydrobush suspension features fluid-filled bushes to minimise the high-speed wheel vibration felt through the steering wheel.

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Adaptive Dynamics combines intelligent sensors and continuously variable suspension dampers that monitor road conditions every 100 milliseconds. The system constantly adjusts the dampers to give a composed ride with maximum control, regardless of any change of terrain or surface.

Ingenium engines have been advanced with new technologies to make them quieter and more refined, while the ZF nine-speed automatic gearbox has been recalibrated to ensure a smoother, more progressive drive on all-terrains.

South African customers have a choice of a 132kW diesel and 183 kW petrol engines, while a 221 kW plug-in hybrid will be added to the range early in 2020.

The diesel, badged D180, returns an average fuel consumption of 5,8 l/100 km and is capable of accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 9,3 seconds. The P250-badged petrol returns a 7,4 l/100km average fuel consumption and sprints from 0-100 km/h in 7,5 seconds.

The introduction of super-slim Matrix LED headlamps provides a more sophisticated front and rear lamp graphic. Flush door handles add to the smooth, sculpted aesthetic, while sweeping directional indicators create a purposeful signature.

Inside, technical textiles that use recycled plastics are offered as premium alternatives to leather, such as a Kvadrat wool blend and Dinamica suedecloth, as well as Eucalyptus and Ultrafabrics options.

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Terrain Response 2 is available as standard for the first time on new Evoque with All-Wheel Drive and automatic transmission. Not only will this allow drivers to choose from four modes (Comfort, Sand, Grass-Gravel-Snow, and Mud & Ruts) to optimise performance and capability, but the new Auto mode enables Evoque to select the most appropriate mode for the conditions and automatically adjust its torque delivery to suit the terrain.

Ground clearance is 212 mm, while approach and departure angles are 25 degrees in the front and 30,6 degrees in the rear. Evoque’s maximum wading depth of 60 0mm can be effectively monitored with optional Wade Sensing. Ultrasonic sensors in the exterior mirrors accurately measure the depth of the water, which is displayed on the central touchscreen.

The latest Evoque comes with a variety of all-terrain technologies such as Hill Descent Control, Gradient Release Control and All-Terrain Progress Control and these are allied with on road assistance features such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist.
There is a reversing camera as standard on all models, alongside a suite of advanced driver assistance systems. Active safety features such as Lane Keep Assist and Driver Condition Monitor are all available to keep occupants safe.

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ClearSight Ground View – the realisation of Land Rover’s transparent bonnet concept previewed on the Discovery Vision concept – is a world first. Cameras in the front grille and on the door mirrors project a feed onto the central touchscreen to show what is ahead of and underneath the front of the vehicle with a virtual 180-degree view.

The new smart rear-view mirror transforms into an HD video screen at the touch of a button. By displaying a rear-facing camera feed onto the mirror, the driver’s view remains unrestricted by passengers or large items in the back, while also providing a wider 50-degree field of vision using a camera positioned above the rear window. This technology also delivers clearer visibility in low light conditions.

Designed with a protective lip to prevent mud and water soiling the lens, there is also a hydrophobic coating that repels water spray. In the unlikely occurrence that the camera is ever obscured, drivers can change back to a traditional rear-view mirror at the flick of a switch.

Land Rover’s Touch Pro Duo infotainment system is central to the digital interior experience, combining two sleek 10-inch high-definition glass touchscreens, a 12,3-inch driver display behind the steering wheel and full-colour head-up display.

There is smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay, as well as Click & Go rear-seat tablet holders with charging capability, 4G WiFi hotspot (for up to eight devices) and six USB slots located throughout the cabin.

New Range Rover Evoque pricing:
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 R734300
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 S R784300
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 SE R843800
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 R-Dynamic S R813000
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 R-Dynamic SE R872500
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 R-Dynamic HSE R920200
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 First Edition R945900
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 R776300
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 S R826300
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 SE R885800
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 R-Dynamic S R855000
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 R-Dynamic SE R914500
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 R-Dynamic HSE R962300
Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 First Edition R987900

 

Bonnet bulge for Quantum

A bigger engine and a bonnet bulge highlight the changes to the latest generation Toyota Quantum people mover and panel van – although the Ses’fikile Commuter remains unchanged and will be built on the older platform at Toyota’s Prospecton, Durban facility.

The change from a ‘cab-over’ to ‘semi-bonnet’ design provides for a more spacious interior and modernised look with enhanced aerodynamics. This has increased the overall length and passenger space, with improved leg room and seating comfort.

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The front design includes a united radiator grille and headlamps. GL Bus models receive chrome treatment to the grille as well as vertical LED Daytime Running Lights, fog lamps and colour-coded bumpers and door handles.

Other exterior features for the Quantum include newly-designed 16-inch steel wheels, as well as multi-functional side mirrors (power-retractable on GL models) to enhance visibility.

The Quantum range comprises new panel van and bus derivatives, with the option of 3-seater panel vans in long wheelbase (LWB) and heightened-roof super-long wheelbase (SLWB) configurations, as well as a six-seater long wheelbase (LWB) crew cab.

The ‘GL’ Bus range offers 11-seater long wheel base (LWB) and 14-seater super long wheelbase (SLWB) versions.

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The Quantum’s new 2,8-litre engine adopts a turbo-charger with intercooler, which helps produce powerful dynamic performance while enhancing fuel economy and quietness.

The four-cylinder, engine delivers maximum power of 130 kW at 3400 r/min and peak torque of 420 Nm at 1 400 r/min – 2 600 r/min, on all panel vans and the 11-seater bus model. The 14-seater bus delivers power of 115 kW at 3600 r/min and peak torque of 420 Nm at 1 600 r/min – 2 200 r/min.

A MacPherson strut suspension is adopted for the front and a leaf spring suspension for the rear with braking provided by front ventilated discs and rear drum brakes
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Spacious seating measurements have been attained by increasing the cabin length and width for better legroom and headroom. The seat material on the GL Bus models is presented in natural beige with a combination of synthetic leather and fabric. The Panel Van range seats are fashioned in grey fabric.

The width of the sliding-door opening has been increased by 70 mm, enhancing the ease of access in combination with a large step (with LED lamp on GL Bus). The sliding-door opening on the SLWB Panel Van has been widened, enabling Euro-size pallets to be loaded via the side and rear sliding doors.

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On the GL Bus models, the anterior of the front side mirrors has been lowered and a large quarter glass installed to help ensure excellent forward visibility. An auxiliary mirror has been added, enabling checking in the downward field of view.

A high-performance manual air-conditioning system (model specific) is adopted, which enables control of the air for the rear seat passengers (where applicable) from the AC controller on the instrument panel. Roof-mounted air vents (where provided), help create a comfortable space for all occupants.

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The new Quantum is equipped anti-lock braking with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Hill-Assist Control (HAC) and Trailer Sway Control (TSC).

Passive safety systems include driver and front passenger crash bags and, with the adoption of the semi-bonnet configuration, impact energy in the event of a collision is absorbed. For security, a wireless door lock and an alarm and immobiliser are provided.

The 16-seater Ses’fikile Commuter will be renamed Hiace and continue to be built on the current platform (previous Quantum) at Toyota South Africa’s Prospecton production facility. The Hiace name is well known and trusted in South Africa, and pays homage to the iconic ‘Siyaya’ commuter busses of the 90’s. The Hiace Ses’fikile will retain the 2,7-litre petrol and 2,5-litre diesel engine and drivetrain.

QUANTUM MODEL LINE-UP AND PRICING
• Quantum 2.8 LWB GL Bus 11-seater – R 597 700
• Quantum 2.8 SLWB GL Bus 14-seater – R 613 500
• Quantum 2.8 LWB Panel Van 3-seater – R 473 900
• Quantum 2.8 LWB Panel Van 3-seater (AC) – R 481 400
• Quantum 2.8 SLWB Panel Van 3-seater – R 509 500
• Quantum 2.8 SLWB Panel Van 3-seater (AC) – R 517 000
• Quantum 2.8 LWB Crew Cab 6-seater – R 482 600
• Quantum 2.8 LWB Crew Cab 6-seater (AC) – R 490 100
• Quantum 2.8 LWB Crew Cab 6-seater (Front & Rear AC) – R 495 600

HIACE MODEL LINE-UP AND PRICING
• Hiace Ses’fikile 2.7 16s – R 419 100
• Hiace Ses’fikile 2.5D 16s – R 444 200

All Quantum models come with a 9-service/90 000 km service plan with service intervals set at 12-months/10 000 km. Toyota’s standard 3-year/100 000 km warranty is also provided.

Cape Town WRX confirmed

Cape Town’s Killarney Raceway will again play host to the final round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy (November 9/10) and, based on the results of the opening three rounds, could well see an impressivly tight chase for the final points in the championship.

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Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208) currently leads the championship chase with 69 points from brother, Timmy, also Peugeot mounted on 58 points with Russia’s Timur Timerzyanov now third after a stunning win recently in Belgium. He is on 53 points.

Although he has not actually won an event this season, Janis Baumanis (Ford Fiesta) has been extremely consistent and sits on 52 points and just one ahead of the very experienced and competitive Andreas Bakkerud in the Audi A1.

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World Rallycross for 2019 features a total of 16 permanent drivers – six teams and four individual entries – representing eight automotive brands that are competing for top spot in this year’s championship. These drivers are from 11 different countries, making World RX a truly multinational event with rich, diverse styles and unique flair.

Additionally, the 2019 RX2 International Series, presented by Cooper Tires, will also feature this year. South Africa is one of only seven countries globally to be hosting these races, ensuring even more thrills and spills in Cape Town.

The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith says: “As the City of Cape Town we are really excited that the FIA World Rallycross Championship is returning to our beautiful city for a third straight year.

“In the first two years, the event was a wonderful experience for spectators who were kept on the edge by the exhilarating action on the circuit. For us as Cape Town, events such as Rallycross are not only prestigious but they are also critical to promoting job opportunities and developing the South African economy to support our local communities.

“We are again looking forward to welcoming the drivers, organisers and the internationals fans to the World’s Leading Festival and Event Destination in 2019. We look forward to creating a great experience for petrol heads and new fans who absolutely should not miss one of the world’s most exciting motor sport events.”

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Torben Olsen, the Managing Director of World RX for IMG Motorsports, the series promoter, is more than a little excited.

“The FIA World Rallycross Championship is going from strength to strength,” he enthuses. “Last year we built on our global fan base and in 2019 we have attracted a broader audience to World RX with the intensity of the racing. It’s all down to the quality of our drivers – and closely-fought competition, and in that regard 2019 is reaching new levels. When you’ve got highly talented racers battling it out for glory, you can expect plenty of high-octane, frenetic action. Cape Town is in for a treat.”

New challenge for off-road racers

Off-road racing heads into new territory this weekend for round two of the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS) with teams taking on a challenge based in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains around the town of Winterton in the Berg 400.

The Ford Castrol Cross Country Team is looking forward to another strong performance, following their opening round success when reigning Class T champions Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable scored a victory at the season-opening Mpumalanga 400 in Dullstroom during March in the Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) built and run Ford Ranger.

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Brazilians Marcos Baumgart and Kleber Cincea will take up their seats in the second Ford Ranger once again after missing the opening race. Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer filled in for the reigning Brazilian cross country champions for the first event and came hom second.

Woolridge and Dreyer are focusing their efforts on the all-new FIA-class Ranger which is being designed and manufactured at the NWM facility in Pietermaritzburg and will debut later this season in the SACCS.

The Berg 400 will be based in Winterton, with the route incorporating the town of Estcourt and traversing the foothills of the Drakensberg which is sure to make it another spectacular and scenic event for competitors and spectators alike.

“The Berg 400 looks set to be a great event with lots of farmlands and relatively hard, tough conditions,” says NWM team principal, Neil Woolridge. “We know the area fairly well but have never raced there, so it will be a new challenge for all of the teams.

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“We have had a lot of rain in KwaZulu-Natal over the past couple of weeks, although I expect most of it to have dried up by race day. However, I’m sure there will still be some muddy patches to add some excitement.

“Our focus is on retaining the championship this year, so we’re building on the clean run we had in Dullstroom and hoping for back-to-back wins,” Woolridge adds.

The Waffle Hut on the outskirts of Winterton will be the hub for all the activities for the Berg 400, incorporating the start and finish, as well as race headquarters and the designated service park (DSP).

The action gets underway on May 17 with a 64 km qualifying race, starting at 13:30 and travelling to Moorleigh before returning to Winterton.

On Saturday, May 18 the teams set off at 08:00 and will complete two laps of the 170 km route around Estcourt. According to the organisers, the crews can expect technical terrain with a combination of veld, mealie fields, long grass and undulating sections.

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The two loops are separated by a compulsory 30-minute service at the Waffle Hut, with the second run commencing at 12:00. Spectators will have access to a number of superb points where they can see the cars in action, including a stadium section about 30 km from the start based on the outskirts of Estcourt, just off Wembesi Road.

Additional spectator points are positioned along the Loskop Road, in and around Estcourt and at the Ennersdale rail station.

Fans and spectators can follow the action and track the position of the crews throughout the race using the RallySafe app which can be downloaded free of charge for iOS and Android devices.