Toyota cup overflows at production vehicle finaleHorn brothers set to clinch Class T title at Atlas Copco Gold 400.
After an intriguing season full of twist and turns the final championships to be settled in the Production Vehicle category of the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS) will be laid to rest at the Atlas Copco Gold 400 in Westonaria on October 27 and 28.
Toyota, the perennial South African Manufacturers’ Champions, have clinched another manufacturers title and the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA pair of Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy have replaced team-mates Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie as overall and FIA Class champions. Poulter and Howie withdrew from the fray two events from the end of the season to facilitate Poulter’s full recovery from surgery last year.
Three successive victories catapulted de Villiers and Murphy to the overall and FIA Class titles and the Toyota cup is overflowing. Brothers Johan and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Hilux) are set to put the finishing touches to clinching the Class T championship, with former SA drivers champion Jannie Visser and son Chris (Barberspan Toyota Hilux) champions elect in Class S.
The consistent Johan van Staden (Elf Renault Duster) has also moved ahead of Poulter in the FIA Class driver standings. Mike Lawrenson, who partners van Staden, missed the Harrismith 400 and still trails Howie by seven points in the co-driver standings.
The Horn brothers took control of Class T on the last race, the Sun City 400, when they finished ahead of reigning champions Jason Venter and Vince van Allemann (4×4 Mega World Toyota Hilux) and Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable in a Ford NWM Puma Lubricants Ranger. The Sun City race also saw a broken gearbox eliminate Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer, in another Ford NWM Puma Lubricants Ranger, from the title race.
The final outing will also see the Horns chasing the “bragging rights as leading privateers”, while Lance Woolridge and Huxtable face a huge uphill battle if they are to pull off a last gasp smash and grab triumph. The Horns need only 11th place to finally put them out of reach of the Ford Ranger pair, and the odds are heavily stacked in their favour.
Fourth and fifth in the Class T championship will also be settled at the Atlas Copco Gold 400. Here the battle is between the reigning champions, Venter and van Allemann, and a third Ford NWM Puma Lubricants Ranger pair in rookies Henk Lategan and Barry White who are separated by only six points.
A run of victories at the start of the season gave Visser and his son a head start in the Class S championship. They were beaten for the first time at the Sun City 400 and lead David Huddy and Gerhard Schutte, in a Nissan Navara, by 22 points.
Depending on how many starters there are in the class at the Westonaria event, the Vissers look to have built up enough of a lead to clinch a clean sweep of championships for Toyota.
Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park for the Atlas Copco Gold 400 will again be located at the Kloof Country Club, in Glenharvie. Public access to these areas and spectator vantage points along the route will be free of charge.