The Castrol Toyota works team strengthened its hold on the Donaldson Cross Country championship at this weekend’s Vryburg 400 when both Hiluxes finished ahead of the field at the end of the series’ sixth round on Saturday.
Championship leaders Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy notched up their fourth consecutive victory, stretching their advantage over Ford Racing rivals Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst to 20 points. There are just two events left on the off-road calendar.
“It was a difficult race in difficult conditions on a very tricky route. It was a nightmare for co-drivers and Dennis (Murphy) did a great job. It was very easy to make costly mistakes and on the final loop all we concentrated on was staying on the road and keeping out of trouble,” Taylor said afterwards.
Defending champions Vos and Howie managed to hold Visser and Badenhorst at bay to finish just behind their teammates, taking full advantage of the time the Ford Racing crew lost with differential trouble early during the event. Badenhorst admitted that losing 10 points at this crucial phase of the season was not exactly welcomed, but the duo did well to scoop the final podium spot – especially with local entries Hugo de Bruyn and Henri Hugo finishing just behind them in their Micaren Excel Toyota Hilux.
Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson took fifth overall in their Regent Racing Nissan Navara, ahead of Gary Berthold and Siegfried Rousseau (Atlas Copco Nissan Navara), Louw de Bruin and Riaan Greyling (Ruwacon Ford Ranger), Graham and Trevor Leith (Transcor Ford Ranger), Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux (RFS Toyota Hilux) and Christiaan du Plooy and Henk Janse van Vuuren (RFS BMW X3).
The penultimate round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship is the Ford Dealer 400, which happens around Thaba ‘Nchu in the Free State and starts on 11 October.