As was expected the rally fraternity came to the fore to dominate the inaugural Bosal Cars in Action Tarmac Challenge, which finished at the Zwartkops Raceway in Tshwane this afternoon.
The event, which comprised three special stages at Zwartkops Raceway and four at Gerotek, was won by newly crowned Northern Regions Rally Champions Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich in the Auto Pedigree / Castrol Toyota Tazz.
Wilken and Godrich were locked in a nail-biting battle throughout the event with Etienne Lourens and Andre Vermeulen in the Team Total Toyota Run-X. Wilken and Godrich won five of the seven special stages with Lourens and Vermeulen winning the other two. Lourens and Vermeulen were only one second behind the winners after special stage five but a puncture on the Sabat Dynamic Handling stage cost them dearly and they eventually finished 44 seconds behind the winners.
Sasol Rally Championship contenders Hergen Fekken and Niel Fourie (BP VW Polo) finished third, 55 seconds down on the winners, with reigning Absa Off Road Drivers Champion Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan fourth overall and first in the Off Road Class in the all-conquering Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody. Grobler was unhappy with his tyre choice, which resulted in chronic under steer, and could only ponder what might have been had he opted for slick-type tyres as opposed to the sand tyres used by Nissan on the Dakar Rally.
Danie van Hengel and Paul Bothma were fifth in the Toyota Tazz with Production Car driver Brian Martin and Trevor Graham sixth and first in the Production Car Class in the Havoline Racing Toyota Run-X. Mark du Toit and Derick Dearlove finished seventh overall, first in Class D and second in the Circuit Racing Class in the VW Playa while Pierre Bester and Llewellyn Fourie (VW Golf 2) were eighth overall and third in the Circuit Racing Class.
Llewellyn Edwards and Andy Adendorff (Toyota Tazz) and Scott Howden and Caroline Swan (Toyota Tazz) finished ninth and tenth respectively in the event, which saw only 26 of the 46 starters finish.
The deceptively tough event produced its fair share of casualties with Northern Regions Rally Championship contenders Japie van Niekerk and Mark Boekee retiring on the Bosal Prologue at Zwartkops when the engine on the New Africa Developments Subaru WRX cried enough. The Bosal Prologue also eliminated Absa Off Road Championship stalwarts Henri Zermatten and Bodo Schwegler when the clutch on the Master Craft / Playstation Pajero failed.
The blind rises, steep drop-offs and tricky jumps on the 8,11km Subaru King of the Mountain special stage at Gerotek caught many crews unawares with Franz Pretorius and Francois Pretorius the first to fall prey to the notorious double jump section. Pretorius lost control of the Porsche 911 RSR and the heavy contact with the Armco barrier all but destroyed the vehicle. The driver and co-driver were unhurt.
Peter Viljoen and Alistair Murray ran wide on one of the turns, which launched the Mercedes Benz C270 CDi on a wild ride through the bush. The pair narrowly missed colliding with a large tree and emerged unscathed from the car, which was a little the worse for wear.
Husband and wife Gawie and Santie Nel retired with a seized wheel bearing on their Toyota Celica.
The BroSpeed Challenge on the Ride and Handling Track was a high-speed test, which eliminated one of the pre-event favourites and last year’s SCC All Tar Rally winner, Michele Lupini, and co-driver Dave McGregor. The 320kW Bosal Saab 9-3R broke a drive shaft at the hairpin, which put paid to any chance of the pair finishing on the podium.