Africa Eco Race 2022: The route almost finalized
A MINIMUM OF LIAISON FOR A MAXIMUM OF PLEASURE !
Jean-Louis SCHLESSER and his team have just returned from reconnaissance after three weeks traveling through Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal, to complete a route mixing the best stages of all the editions, but also including many novelties.
On 15 March 2022, the entire caravan of the AFRICA ECO RACE will arrive in Nador, entry point to the African continent and start of this 14th edition. This year, the first section will be 100% new and shorter than in 2020 with a longer special stage. As always, an excellent warm-up, to find your driving and navigation marks.
For the rest of the Moroccan route, the special stages will combine the most beautiful tracks and dunes of the country with some unexplored parts in order to continue the discovery of this very demanding playground.
As traditionally, after five Moroccan stages, the AFRICA ECO RACE caravan will set up its bivouac in Dakhla for the rest day, on Sunday March 20, 2022, along the ocean, for everyone’s pleasure.
Then, down to Mauritania, for a second week of racing that many competitors dread but also impatiently await. After crossing the border between the two countries, a 200-kilometer special stage will give you a taste of the Mauritanian sand. The first bivouac will be set up near Chami, where visa formalities will take place.
Although the route will include the usual two loops, which will give some rest to the assistance, Mauritania will deliver its share of surprises with a majority of new stages, where navigation will be, as always a priority, especially during several off-track parts.
Some great news for this 2022 edition: an ADDITIONAL special stage will take place in Senegal. This completely new stage will take competitors on tracks through the typical Senegalese steppe. With many navigation challenges, this stage could change the result of the race, right until the last bivouac set up in Mpal.
After a pleasant last evening in Senegal, where the bivouac will be entertained by the arrival of VIPs and families, the iconic special stage along the “Lac Rose” will be the last opportunity to make the engines roar before driving up the arrival podium, the main goal for all the AFRICA ECO RACE competitors.
The recce impressions from Jean-Louis SCHLESSER:
“ What a joy to be back in Africa, to reunite with this magnificent playground, its wide open spaces and the spirit of freedom. It is therefore a beautiful 2022 edition which is being prepared, both in terms of the route, but also the amount of participants and quality of the competitors registered. I will look forward to seeing you on March 12, 2022 in Monaco, for the official start of the 14th edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE . "
Source: Africa Eco Race
Epic times ahead! Fenix Rally got the permission to enter El Borma region.
Rally Director Alexander Kovatchev and the Reconnaissance team of RBI Sport are already on their way to the South of Tunisia.
The official meetings in the city of Tunis with the Minister of Sport,the Minister of Tourism, the Automobile and Motorcycle Federations and ONTT resulted in even greater cooperation and sustainable future.
The team is now heading to the famous El Borma region in Tunisia.
Those who know the name, know what is there. Some of the best dunes of the Sahara that haven’t been allowed to rally for more than 10 years. But the time has come to go “back to the future” and to revive the old legacy. Tunisia is the home of the FENIX and together we’re setting the newest trend in cross-country rally sport.
Be ready for an exceptional desert rally in March 2022!
The entry list is filling quickly on www.fenix-rally.com
Secure yourself a place at a preference rate on time and be part of the magic!
While the participants continue to register to the AFRICA ECO RACE 2022, the reconnaissance team has just departed, heading for Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal to create a route in the purest tradition of the greatest off-road rallies.
To discover the most beautiful route, combining various types of terrain, nothing beats a team of professionals, enthusiasts and former pilots / co-pilots who know what the competitors are looking for and expect from such an event. Jean-Louis SCHLESSER and his team know all about it, as they took part in the world’s biggest rallies in the car, truck and motorcycle categories.
For this 14th edition, the desire of the organization is to create a route, compiling the most beautiful stages of the last editions but also including some new surprises. The competitors will tackle magnificent tracks and dunes that only Africa can offer, as well as a very challenging route. But beware, the regular AFRICA ECO RACE competitors know it, they will have to stay focused and carefully follow the roadbook to be sure not to arrive too late at the bivouac.
We can expect, like every year, a minimum of liaison and a maximum of departures and arrivals at the bivouacs. As for the terrain, Africa offers a multitude of terrain with dune crossings, some off-track, wadis passages and some more rolling parts… to sum it up, enough to satisfy everyone. The navigation will not be put aside, with often some delicate parts where it will be necessary to keep focused and on track.
Finally, after the effort, some comfort; the bivouacs and their legendary conviviality will be set up in the middle of nowhere in breathtaking landscapes. The bivouacs constitute the heart of the rally, a place for sharing, debriefing, take some time to study with the reading of the next day’s road-book which will be this year, in color. But let’s not forget, the bivouac are above all, a place to get your energy back; nothing better than a good meal simmered by a great French chef before dozing off under a magnificent starry African sky.
As you have understood, a great edition is being prepared, both in terms of its participants and the route.
Rendez-vous from the 12th to the 27th of March 2022 for the 14 th edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE and stay tuned to follow, step by step, the reconnaissance team ...
Source Africa Eco Race
1st Overall for Lategan/Cummings
3rd Overall for Variawa/Stassen
Al-Attiyah/Baumel and De Villiers/Murphy both complete successful Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ tests
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA’s Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings sealed their third successive overall production championship when they won the final round of the 2021 South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS), the TGRSA Parys 400, this weekend. The Toyota Hilux crew went fastest in qualifying, and effectively lead from flag to flag to secure the title.
The 2021 SACCS was characterised by a year-long battle between Lategan/Cummings, and Lance Woolridge/Elvene Coetzee (Ford Ranger). The two crews traded blows throughout the year, but a strong finish saw Lategan/Cummings take the crown again. Co-driver Cummings had secured the navigators’ championship with one round to spare.
At the same time, teammates Shameer Variawa and co-driver Danie Stassen, secured third place in the race, despite suffering three punctures during the main event; while both Giniel de Villiers and Nasser Al-Attiyah, fielded their all-new Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ race cars. While unable to score championship points, or to be classified in the field, the two drivers clearly showed the pace of the new cars, as they put the finishing touches on their Dakar preparations.
The Parys 400 sported a tough route over varied terrain types. This took a toll on many of the competitors and their cars, but the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA crews prevailed despite the tricky conditions. With that said, Al-Attiyah/Baumel elected to retire from the race to preserve their car, after encountering a stray piece of barbed wire that tangled around the right front wheel of their Hilux.
Next for the team is a final test session in the Kalahari Desert, before shipping their cars to Saudi Arabia in preparation for the start of the 2022 Dakar Rally, on January 1st next year.
Glyn Hall, Team Principal: “
We are overjoyed to be crowned champions again, and we are very proud of Henk and Brett, who pushed their own limits throughout the year as they chased the title. They started on the back foot after missing the opening round of the season due to an injury that Henk suffered at Dakar 2021. However, they fought back from there to bring the title home for the third successive time.”
“This year was a really challenging one for us, especially after missing the opening round. However, the arrival of the new turbo-charged engine from the Land Cruiser 300 breathed new life into our challenge, and we managed to emerge victorious. The Toyota Hilux showed its mettle throughout the year, and we never had any serious mechanical problems.”
Giniel de Villiers:
“We gave up our championship in order to concentrate on the development of the new Hilux T1+, and I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made. This weekend was the last competitive event for the SACCS, and we have one more test session planned before the Dakar Rally. So far, the new car has delivered exactly what we wanted, and I am confident that we’ll be able to put the final touches in place during the upcoming test.”
“It was really enjoyable to take part in the race in South Africa. I have been here many times, but this was the first opportunity for me to enter one of the local races. I was really impressed by the quality of the field, and even though we didn’t finish the race, we made good progress with the new car.”
“The Parys 400 was a really tough one for us. Even so, we pushed hard in the main event, and even though we suffered multiple punctures, we managed to finish on the podium. Our attention shifts to the Dakar Rally now, and I can’t wait to get to Saudi Arabia to take on the toughest automotive race on the planet.”
Source Toyota Gazoo Racing SA
Another 100% finish rate, a new record & 3 cars in Parys top 10
Red-Lined Motorsport racing together with the Penta Motor Group have ended the 2021 South African Cross Country series in flying style with another 100% finish, a new championship record and three of its cars in the top 10 at the weekend’s Parys 400. But the race also left the team wondering what could have been!
“That was a really good weekend in what were extremely tough conditions!” Red-Lined team principal Terence Marsh confirmed. “Eben Basson and Gerhard Schutte rolled their VK56 but simply dug deep and carried on racing to end a remarkable sixth overall while Conrad Rautenbach and Riaan Greyling flew back from early troubles to finish eighth overall. “Philip Botha and Roelof Janse van Vuren then went on to make history in their Penta VK56 while Thomas Bell and Wade Harris made it a 100% finish for the team in their Motul VK56.
“But it really was a case of what could have been and the guys’ pace today showed that we can look forward to some exciting times when we get racing again in 2022. “We are also very happy to score a full house of finishes with all four cars in the FIA class top eleven in another really rough and challenging race that claimed so many retirements. “It really was a race of attrition — half of our world class FIA field did not make the finish, so this was a fantastic result for us.”
The race proved a true adventure for Eben Basson and Gerhard Schutte. They rolled their VK56 early on in the second loop.
“We clipped a bank in a quick turn and tipped over.” Eben explained. “We landed on our wheels and after straightening a few panels and changing a damaged wheel, we just dug deep and worked with what we had. “So we were delighted to come home sixth for a title top ten in my rookie year. “Thanks to the team for an incredibly strong and reliable race car — it’s onward and upward from here!"
“We lost time after losing brakes towards the end of the first loop and had to replace a damaged brake pipe before going on to get two punctures on the second loop, so eighth overall was a good result in the end," Conrad Rautenbach pointed out after showing some really good pace in the all-new Red-Lined REVO. “We are starting to unlock this car’s great potential and all I can say, is I can't wait for the day we finally crack a clean run. “When it all goes right, we'll move further up the field! “Special thanks to Terence and the whole team for their great effort during the season. “Be patient guys — the results will come!”
Philip Botha and Roelof Janse van Vuren made history in their Penta Motor Group VK56 when they completed a 100% finishing record in their debut season in the National Championship. That is apparently an SA Cross Country series first from what the team understands.
“We are so proud to have finished every race we have started since we first drove our Red-Lined racer in anger,” Philip admitted. “And to do that with another top ten finish makes it all that much sweeter. “Thanks to another great team effort — what a journey and adventure it has been!"
UAE racer Thomas Bell jetted in straight from the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge for his second South African race of the season in his Motul VK56 alongside new navigator, team technician Wade Harris. They enjoyed an adventurous day losing rear drive 90 km before the finish, but ended up bringing it home 11th overall for another 100% Red-Lined finish.
“What a day!” Tom admitted. “A late afternoon curve ball for us but we brought it home in the end and that’s what it is all about! “Another great event with my Red-Lined family — a nice way to end our South African season!”
“That wraps up a hectic racing year of adventure for Red-Lined Motorsport,” Terence Marsh concluded. “With what we saw today, we simply cannot wait for it to start all over again in the new year. “We have a little more development work to do with our REVO, but once we have ticked off the last few boxes, we believe we will be in for an even better season next year.
*Red-Lined Motorsport Adventures competes with premium strategic partners, the Penta Motor Group, BFGoodrich, Motul, Dragon Energy, Jonnesway Tools, OMP, Expand a Sign and Wheel Collision.
Source Red-Lined Motorsport via Motorsport Media
The TGRSA Parys 400, the seventh and final round of the 2021 South African Cross Country Series (SACCS) that took place on Saturday, 20 November, at Parys in the Free State, was a nerve-wrecking event that produced spectacular racing before the defending champions, Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings (Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux) earned their third successive Overall Production Vehicle Category Championship title as well as the FIA Class Championship Titles.
A major battle was on the cards for the overall and FIA Drivers’ Championship title as Cummings had already wrapped up the FIA Navigators’ Championship title. This meant the battle of the titans was between Lategan and Lance Woolridge (Ford Castrol Cross Country Ranger) while Woolridge’s navigator, Elvéne Vonk, was safe as the runner-up.
The TGRSA Parys 400 was a one day event with a short 15 kilometre Pirelli Qualifying Race on Saturday morning that determined the starting order for the main race. With no margin for error and two loops of 175km waiting, the racing was as exhilarating as expected. The two TGRSA Hilux teams of Giniel de Villiers/Dennis Murphy and visiting world champions, Nasser Al-Attiya/Mathieu Baumel competing in the new DKR Hilux T1+ which has been approved for the Dakar Rally 2022, added to the action although neither teams scored point towards the championships.
Lategan/Cummings posted the second fastest time behind Al-Attiya/Baumel with Woolridge/Vonk fourth on the road behind De Villiers/Murphy. The defending champions took the lead during the first of the two loops and except for a flat tyre ten kilometres from the finish, they stuck to their guns to finish behind their non-scoring team-mates (De Villiers/Murphy) claiming the victory (04:09:48) and the accompanying titles.
Woolridge/Vonk had the shock absorbers of their Ford Ranger tweaked during the break after the first loop, but had to settle for second place (04:14:37). The FIA Class podium was rounded off by the TGRSA Hilux team of Shameer Variawa/Danie Stassen (04:21:53) who initially struggled with brake problems and had two punctures in the second loop.
A mere 41 seconds after 365 tough kilometres in the Free State separated the two FIA teams in fourth and fifth place with the 4x4 Mega World Racing Toyota Hilux team of Jason Venter/Jaco van Aardt edging out the 2021 Special Vehicle Champions, Lance Trethewey/Adriaan Roets (King Price Xtreme Century Racing CR6) who made their debut in the Production Vehicle Category. It was an all-new driving experience for Trethewey who also lost time with a flat tyre during the first loop.
The rest of the FIA Class top ten included three Red-Lined Motorsport teams. Eben Basson/Gerhard Schutte (VK56) posted their best result by finishing sixth (04:30:23) after a fairly trouble-free race with their team-mates, Conrad Rautenbach/Riaan Greyling (REVO) eighth (04:31:01) despite losing time due to brake problems and a puncture on the first loop. And it was yet another finish for Philip Botha/Roelof Janse van Vuren (VK56) who added to their unblemished record in their first national season. They finished 10th in the FIA Class (04:38:51).
To complete a full house of results for the team, the Dubai visitor, Thomas Bell and KZN businessman, Wade Harris, brought their VK56 home in 11th place in the class (05:16:25).
The father and son team of Johan and Sean van Staden (Moto-Netix KEC Racing Renault Duster) rounded off their eventful 2021 season on a high note by finishing seventh in the FIA Class with only 39 seconds separating them from Basson/Schutte while Dewald van Breda/Johann du Toit (Century Racing CR6) were ninth (04:33:33).
The Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Ranger teams claimed the top two steps of the Class T podium and this time it was Wors Prinsloo/André Vermeulen who secured their second victory of the season. They were the second Class T team off the line after the 15 kilometre Pirelli Qualifying Sprint and eventually finished only seven minutes and 46 seconds ahead of their team-mates, Christo Rose/Arno Olivier (04:38:51) who will be able to reflect on a successful first season in the Production Vehicle Category with a 100% finishing record.
There was not much between the Class T podium finishers with Dylan Venter/Vince van Allemann (4x4 Mega World Racing Toyota Hilux) third, one minute 12 seconds behind Rose/Olivier. The Neil Woolridge Motorsport Development Team, Baphumza Rubuluza/Fanifani Meyiwa also added another finish to round off their season and were fourth in Class T (04:54:05).
The former champions, Johan and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Hilux) were leading Class T after the qualifying race, but their hopes of finishing the season on the podium disappeared in a cloud of dust as they could not finish. Bernard Johnstone/Jan Harm Hugo (Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Ranger) had two flat tyres and lost too much time with a broken jack and also retired.
There was also disappointment for both Gareth Woolridge/Boyd Dreyer (Ford Castrol Cross Country Ranger) and Chris Visser/Albertus Venter (Toyota Hilux) who were fighting for the fourth place in the FIA Championship. Woolridge/Dreyer went head over heels early in the second loop after running in the top five during the first loop while Visser/Venter hit a rock 40 kilometres into the second loop and retired.
Al-Attiya/Baumel were also between the teams who had to call it a day before receiving the chequered flag with wire wrapped around the axle of their DKR Hilux T1+ while Gary Bertholdt/Siegfried Rousseau (Toyota Hilux) could also not see out the distance.
And when the dust and wind and even some rain had settled over the Free State, the SACCS can look back on another enjoyable and successful TGRSA Parys 400 that rounded off an extremely exciting and competitive season.
Images: Nadia Jordaan
ART - Angola Rally Team, became national champion of Rally Raid in the "E" class, last weekend, after winning 3rd place in the Rally of Cacuso, Malange province.
The last race of the championship took place last November 13, in the city of Cacuso, province of Malange. The team left Luanda with an 18 point advantage to the 2nd place, forcing them to approach this challenge in a cautious way, since, to conclude the race was fundamental for the revalidation of the title.
The duo João Lota and Nuno Santos started the race safely, finishing the prologue and the first qualifying stage with the second best time in their class, when electrical problems started in their Polaris XP1000. These setbacks conditioned the progress in the third classificaiton, and forced a cautious approach for the 4th and final stage.
Nuno Santos, navigator, reveals that he even put the title in question due to the various difficulties that were imposed throughout the race, since victory in the championship would only be possible if they managed to reach the end of this Rally. João Lota, Driver, considers that this was just one more of the many dramatic situations that they had to overcome throughout the season, without ever giving up.
The Angolan Rally Raid Championship was disputed in 6 races throughout the year - Namibe, Bengo, Quiçama (2xs), Huambo and Cacuso. After winning 2nd place in the Kalahari Rally in September, in South Africa, the "Angola Rally Team" obtained the perfect outcome, becoming national champion for the 4th time.
The national champions are already working on the project for next season, having as their main objective, the preparation for the DAKAR RALLY.
Automatic translation from the official press release
Lance Woolridge and Elvéne Vonk (334) wrapped up 2021 season in second place at final event, and second overall in 2021 FIA-class championship
Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer (377) end a frustrating year fourth in FIA-class
Malcolm and Frans Kock (T4) took the 2021 Class T title in NWM Ford Ranger, but the victory in Parys and second place in the championship went to Wors Prinsloo/Andre Vermeulen (T41), ahead of Christo Rose/Arno Olivier (T58)
Ford NWM Development Team of Bapi Rubuluza and Fanifani Meyiwa (T49) end the season with another fine fourth-placed finish
One of the most exciting and competitive South African Cross Country Series (SACCS) championships in many years was wrapped up this weekend, with the Ford Castrol Cross Country Team of Lance Woolridge and Elvéne Vonk (334) finishing second overall in the Production Vehicle and FIA-class standings.
In the first season competing with the all-new 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6-powered Ford Ranger, designed and built by Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM), Woolridge and Vonk rounded off the year with a second-place finish at the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Parys 400 in the Free State, cementing their runner-up positions in the title chase for drivers and navigators.
It was a close and thrilling affair for most of the season, as the leading Ford crew scored two victories and three podium finishes – but it wasn’t quite enough, with the title going to the Toyota crew of Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings.
“We knew coming into this race it was going to be a tough task to beat Henk and Brett, and unfortunately on the first loop I just didn’t feel confident in the car’s handling, so this cost us a lot of time,” Lance said. “It’s disappointing to lose out on the title when we’ve been so close, including winning first time out in Dullstroom, followed up by the victory at the 4x4 Mega World race, and then losing out in Vryburg by just four seconds.
However our non-finish due to a minor technical issue at the Sugarbelt 400 is what cost us the championship,” Lance added. “But I think we’ve had a great season, and the fact that we’ve been able to make it so competitive this year is testament to the great team we have. So let’s see what next year brings with the new T1+ regulations.”
The second FIA-class Ford Ranger pairing of Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer (377) saw their frustrating season end in disappointment. They posted fastest stage times on several occasions this year, but luck certainly hasn’t been on their side – and this played out in the season finale too. The talented young crew were within 28 seconds of the leaders at the mid-way point at the Parys race, but they were unfortunately caught out braking from high speed in a tricky sand section that pitched the car sideways, leading to a fairly minor roll.
They were able to continue for a short distance put a damaged oil cooler led to their retirement. Nevertheless, they scored two podiums and finished fourth in the FIA-class championship, and will undoubtedly be in contention next year.
“It’s been a very difficult season for us,” Gareth said. “So often we’ve been leading or fighting for the victory, only for it to slip away from us. The first half of the race today was fantastic and we were chasing hard, with less than half a minute separating us from the lead. The car suddenly snapped sideways under braking after a long 180km/h straight. I caught the slide on full lock, but we hit a sand bank that led to the roll.
The car landed back on the wheels, and we didn’t lose much time getting going again, but we soon smelled oil and had to stop,” Gareth explained. “As frustrating as this is, the positive takeaway is that we have been fast and challenging for wins, so now we look forward to the 2022 season and aim for better results.”
For NWM team principal, Neil Woolridge, the Parys event was a mixed bag of emotions.
“We did everything we could to give Lance and Elvéne the chance to fight for the title, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough. On the flip side, we won two of the seven races this year and stood on the podium on six of the events. For a brand-new car with a completely new engine it is an exceptional result, especially competing against the big budget Toyota has, and they aren’t multiple Dakar Rally and international cross country winners for nothing.Our team can be extremely proud of the results this year, which contributed to the very close racing, and our ability to take the title fight right down to the wire,” Neil added. “We’re taking this knowledge and experience forward to prepare the cars for the T1+ rules for next year with the wider dimensions, bigger tyres and longer travel suspension. We’ll come back fighting fit and ready for action next year.”
The Neil Woolridge Motorsport-supported privateer teams proved the class of their field this year, competing with the V8-powered Rangers in Class T.
Malcolm and Frans Kock (T4) took the title at the previous round in Vryburg, and weren’t able to make the final race. This left Wors Prinsloo/Andre Vermeulen (T41) and Christo Rose/Arno Olivier (T58) to wrestle over the final podium positions, along with the ever-present threat from the Toyota crew of Johan and Werner Horn.
The race win ultimately went to Prinsloo/Vermeulen as they secured their second victory of the season, which promoted them to second in the final Class T standings for 2021. Rose and Olivier concluded their first season in Class T as runners-up in Parys and third in the championship, with their Toyota rivals retiring with a blown engine.
“I am delighted with our Class T results this year, with our privateers doing NWM and Ford proud by winning four of the seven races, and taking the lion’s share of the podiums throughout the season,” Neil Woolridge said. “It’s so important for the SA Cross Country Series to have the privateers involved at this level of the sport, and contributing to the spectacle with lots of close racing.”
Ford NWM Development Team
The Ford NWM Development Team of Bapi Rubuluza and Fanifani Meyiwa (T49) brought their Ford Ranger V8 home fourth in Class T, emulating their results from the previous race.
“The whole team is extremely proud of what Bapi and Fanifani have achieved this year,” Neil said. “We as experienced competitors often don’t realise how difficult it is for a new team to come into the sport and learn how to drive a specially developed, high-performance V8-powered race car in this type of terrain. Yes, the Development Team had its difficulties this year, and they were down in the dumps after crashing out at the Desert Race.
But they never gave up and were rewarded with a second-place finish at the 4x4 Mega World 400. That podium was a very special moment for all of us,” Neil added. “The crew has learned a lot, they gained a lot of confidence and their pace has improved consistently, giving them two fourth places in a row. The sport desperately needs to be more inclusive and diverse, and to attract wider interest and participation amongst competitors and fans alike. Bapi and Fanifani are great ambassadors for cross country racing.”
Source Ford Castrol Cross Country Team
Title battles and a final dash for championship points bolstered by the presence of high profile international teams, will add to the verve and action of the TGRSA Parys 400, the seventh and final round of the 2021 South African National Cross Country Series (SACCS) that takes place on Saturday, 20 November from the Parys Airfield.
With the SACCS FIA Class and Production Vehicle Championships balanced on a knife edge, the lines will be drawn at the TGRSA Parys 400, a one-day event that will start with the 15 kilometre Pirelli Qualifying Race followed by a 175 kilometre loop that teams will have to complete twice to be deemed finishers. The championship standings combined with the race structure will put added pressure on the teams who will have to give it their all while still making sure they receive the final chequered flag
The SACCS is extremely honoured and proud to welcome multiple Dakar Rally winner and Qatari sports legend, Nasser Al-Attiya and his navigator Mathieu Baumel, as competitors at the event. Al-Attiya/Baumel will join their team-mates, Giniel de Villiers/Dennis Murphy in the new Toyota Gazoo Racing DKR Hilux T1+ prototype 3.5 litre twin-turbo-powered petrol V6 as the TGRSA team round off their preparations for the 2022 Dakar Rally that takes place in January in Saudi Arabia.
Another international driver, Thomas Bell from Dubai, is no stranger to the SACCS and will again make his appearance with Red-Lined Motorsport. Bell will share the cabin of the VK56 with South African, Wade Harris and will also line-up in the FIA Class.
While various teams competing in the 2022 Dakar Rally will attend the TGRSA Parys 400 to do some final testing, three Century Racing teams will unfortunately not be in action as they put the finishing touches to their rigorous pre Dakar preparations. They include Brian Baragwanath/Leonard Cremer who have secured third place in both the Overall Production Vehicle Category and the FIA Class; Ernest Roberts and Mark Corbett/Rodney Burke.
This means the overall and FIA Class title battles will be between the defending champions, Henk Lategan/Brett Cummings (Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux) and Lance Woolridge/Elvéne Vonk (Ford Castrol Cross Country Ranger) while any of a handful of teams could finish on the podium at Parys. Two teams level pegging on points – Woolridge’s brother, Gareth and Boyd Dreyer and Chris Visser/Albertus Venter (Toyota Hilux) – will fight tooth and nail for the best position and finishing the season in fourth place.
The best result possible will also mean good points and the possibility of moving up in the final standings, and that is exactly what Shameer Variawa/Danie Stassen (Toyota Gazoo Racing Hilux) will have in mind. This will also be what the Red-Lined Motorsport teams will aim for. Eben Basson/Gerhard Schutte; Conrad Rautenbach/Riaan Greyling, who missed the previous event and Philip Botha/Roelof Janse van Vuren, who have an unblemished finishing record, will all be gunning for a finish and a healthy amount of points.
Team King Price Xtreme will also be out in full force and will have an unknown card in their deck as the newly-crowned Special Vehicle Champions, Lance Trethewey/Adriaan Roets will be out in a Century Racing CR6. They will be the known dark horse and an interesting result can be expected. Schalk Burger/Henk Janse van Vuuren (Mercedes-Benz X Class) will hope for a finish while Clint Weston, in his only race this season, will be in action with Henry Köhne reading the notes in a similar vehicle.
Gary Bertholdt/Siegfried Rousseau (Toyota Hilux) can never be underestimated while a good result could push Johan and Sean van Staden (Moto-Netix KEC Racing Renault Duster) up the leader board. A good result is also the wish of Jason Venter/Jaco van Aardt (4x4 Mega World Racing Toyota Hilux) and Dewald van Breda/Johann du Toit (Century Racing CR6) while Richard Leeke/Zaheer Bodhanya (BSpeed Leeke Motorsport) will want to make good for not being able to finish the previous two events.
With the Class T title safely wrapped up by Malcolm and his son, Frans Kock (Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Ranger) who will also miss the final round, the pressure for the runner up positions will results in some exhilarating action. With only a handful of points separating the three teams behind them, the podium is far from final and anything can and will most probably happen. A slender two points separate their team-mates, Christo Rose/Arno Olivier and Wors Prinsloo/André Vermeulen while the outgoing champions, Johan and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Hilux) are also still in with a chance to finish on the podium. This three-way tussle will be one for the books.
And while the three teams keep an eye on one another, they will also be mindful of Dylan Venter/Vince van Allemann (4x4 Mega World Racing Toyota Hilux) and the Neil Woolridge Motorsport team-mates, Bernard Johnstone/Jan Harm Hugo with the Development Team of Baphumza Rubuluza/Fanifani Meyiwa also in the mix.
The season will no doubt end on a high note at the TGRSA Parys 400 and SACCS Chief Executive Officer, Archie Rutherford, extended his well-wishes to all the teams and those who will be participating in the 2022 Dakar Rally.
“It is a privilege to have an international accredited team such as Nasser Al-Attiya and Mathieu Baumel, competing at an SACCS event alongside our local teams who are up there with the best in the world,” he said. “We hope all the teams have an enjoyable and safe event at Parys and a successful and safe Dakar Rally.”
The 15 kilometre Pirelli Qualifying Race of the TGRSA Parys 400 starts at 07:30 on Saturday, 20 November to determine the starting order for the main race that will commence at 09:30 when teams will tackle a 175 kilometre loop to be completed twice. All the action will happen from the Parys Airfield where the Race Headquarters, Designated Service Park (DSP) and Start/Finish will be located. Spectators are unfortunately still not allowed in the DSP area.
Photo Toyota Gazoo Racing SA
All good what finishes good. It was a very positive day for the two CST Polaris Xtremeplus crews crossing the finish line of the Tunisia Challenge Desert in Monastir on the Mediterranean Sea.
The stage was relatively short, 137 km, but though for the technical navigation and the broken terrain that challenged the drivers and the vehicles till the end.
The Italian duo Checco Tonetti and Alberto Bertoldi crossed the finish line of the 8th and final stage 4th, 22nd in the general.
“It is a great satisfaction. The last stage was full of surprises, so it was mandatory to maintain the concentration high”
“There was a mix of wide and fast tracks alternated with winding and narrower sections. Alberto, my co-driver, did again a beautiful job. It is a pity for the two days spent in the desert, otherwise we could have finished in the top 5 in the general ranking. We finished a bit back, but we finished in style”,
said a satisfied Andrea Tronconi, 14th today, 24th in the general.
“Together with Giorgio, my co-driver, it was our first time with a Polaris, after many years with the bikes. All in all, it was a very positive experience. We enjoy it and we would like to thank the Xtremeplus team”.
The podium ceremony before the tradition party was particularly emotional after 8 demanding race days. Now it’s time to celebrate.
While the CST Xtremeplus team was competing the final stage of the Tunisia Desert Challenge, Marco Piana, the team owner was in Dubai at the launch of the Polaris XP R.
“Simply amazing”, commented Piana, “The 4-cylinder machine will be our new challenge”.
Team ready for racing adventure at Cross Country finale
It may start in Parys, but it goes nowhere near Dakar. Yet the Parys 400 is also a crucial cross country race. It’s the final round of the 2021 South African championship and Red-Lined Motorsport racing with the Penta Motor Group is back to full strength for the season-ending race along the banks of the Vaal River on Saturday 20 November.
“We're back to full strength for the Parys 400 this weekend,” team boss Terence Marsh confirmed. “Conrad Rautenbach returns after missing the last race due to business commitments. “He and Riaan Greyling will be back aboard our all-new FIA T1.1 class Red-Lined REVO prototype. “We also have a trio of tried and tested VK56 Evo2s for Eben Basson and Gerhard Schutte, Philip Botha and Roelof Janse van Vuren and UAE pilot Tom Bell driving alongside Wade Harris.
“At the last event, it was really frustrating to try and track the guys on my phone while I was taking care of my business commitments” Conrad Rautenbach admitted. “Eben once again showed the Red-Lined REVO’s potential and brought it home in the top ten after a puncture and a few teething problems. "Riaan and I are back aboard for the weekend and the whole team’s focus is on a good clean run. “If we can do that, the results should follow!”
Basson and Schutte come off a strong run that included second place in the marathon Kalahari Rally, ninth in the Desert Race after a charge back up the field and then eighth at the Vryburg 400, where they were fighting amongst the top five for most of the race in the REVO. “We are back in our familiar Red-Lined VK56 for now and looking forward to finishing the year off in style on the banks of the Vaal,” Eben explained. “It would be good to end the season with another top ten result!”
The Parys 400 is a big weekend for Philip Botha and Roelof Janse van Vuren and their Penta Motor Group Red-Lined VK56. “We are just one race away from what would be a 100% finishing record in our debut National season, which we believe is a first for the Championship,” Philip pointed out. “We also want to focus on consistently breaking into the top ten, race by race, so we’re keen to build on that momentum. “So, we'll have butterflies in our tummies for this week, but we can’t wait for the challenge and adventure that lies ahead!”
UAE racer Thomas Bell returns straight from the recent Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge for what will be his second South African race of the season in his Motul branded VK56 alongside Wade Harris.
“It’s been a busy month, but I can’t wait to get back to race in the South African series.” Tom admitted. “SA is a big part of my international race program and it always dishes up some great African adventure in a wonderful race car surrounded by the fantastic Red-Lined family. “Can’t wait to get this one started.”
“Red-Lined Motorsport has had a splendid year of racing with our regular blend of adventure, speed and reliability,” Terence Marsh concluded. “We are looking to close it off in similar style at Parys where we hope for a good clean run with the REVO, together with another strong competitive showing for Eben and Gerhard; that 100% Championship finishing record for Philip and Roelof and then another great African adventure for Tom and Wade. “Looking forward to sharing the stories thereafter!"
*Red-Lined Motorsport Adventures competes with premium strategic partners, the Penta Motor Group, BFGoodrich, Motul, Dragon Energy, Jonnesway Tools, OMP, Expand a Sign and Wheel Collision.
Source Red Lined / Motorsport Media
Lance Woolridge and Elvéne Vonk (334) are a close second overall in FIA-class championship, with everything to play for at nail-biting season finale
Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer (377) will be fighting to retain fourth place in FIA-class
Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Ranger privateer team of Malcolm and Frans Kock (T4) has an unassailable lead in Class T championship, but only three points separate the next three crews: the NWM Fords of Christo Rose/Arno Olivier (T58) and Wors Prinsloo/Andre Vermeulen (T41), and the Toyota of Johan and Werner Horn
Ford NWM Development Team of Bapi Rubuluza and Fanifani Meyiwa (T49) aiming to finish the 2021 season with another strong performance
In what has been one of the most exciting and hotly contested seasons in the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS) for many years, the championship battle will go down to the final race of the season on Saturday 20 November 2021.
The event will once again be held in the Free State town of Parys, billed as the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Parys 400. This year it will be a one-day race, with a short qualifying sprint in the morning to determine the starting order for the two race loops.
It will be a nail-biting affair, with the championship standings reflecting the finishing order at the thrilling penultimate round, the Vryburg 400, where the Ford Castrol team of Lance Woolridge and co-driver Elvéne Vonk (334) crossed the line a mere four seconds behind their championship rivals and current points leaders Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings (Toyota), and ahead of Brian Baragwanath/Leonard Cremer (Century).
The Ford Castrol crew, in their Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) EcoBoost-powered Ranger, have claimed two wins from six races this season, and will be giving it everything to add a third victory to their 2021 campaign to give them the best shot at the FIA-class title.
In the drivers' championship, Lance is just nine points behind Lategan, with Baragwanath a further 11 points adrift. With 30 points up for grabs for the race win, there’s everything to play for when the action commences in Parys.
The navigators' title is unfortunately beyond reach for Elvéne, who trails Cummings by 37 points. But, with third-placed Cremer just 16 points adrift, she will be doing everything in her power to guide Woolridge to maximum points in Parys to give him the best chance for championship glory, and secure her runner-up status in the final rankings.
Team-mates Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer (377) have scored two podiums and three fourth-place finishes in what has been a challenging and frustrating season for the second Ford Castrol Ranger crew. They have been the fastest competitors in the field on several occasions, but luck certainly hasn’t been on their side this year.
Nevertheless, their sheer determination and tenacity has seen them progressively move up the rankings, with Gareth currently fourth overall in the FIA-class driver’s championship, 34 points behind Baragwanath, and six ahead of Chris Visser (Toyota) – so consolidating fourth place will be the younger Woolridge’s primary objective.
Co-driver Boyd still has a chance to claim the last step on the final FIA-class championship podium for navigators, as he trails Cremer by 27 points, with a 26-point margin to fifth-placed Henry Kohne (Century).
“It is fantastic that the fight for the championship goes all the way to the final race of the season,” says Neil Woolridge, NWM team principal. “It’s going to be hard work taking the fight to Toyota, but it was very encouraging to see how close we were in Vryburg, trading places throughout the race.
As we’ve seen on many occasions in the past, anything can happen in cross country racing, and we will certainly be giving it everything for this race.”
The Class T championship has been dominated by the Neil Woolridge Motorsport-supported Ford Ranger privateers this year, who have been a model of consistency and performance. The father-and-son pairing of Malcolm and Frans Kock (T4) have romped away from the competition, with two wins and three podium finishes handing them an unassailable lead in the championship on 174 points. As a result, they will be crowned Class T champions for 2021, regardless of how the battles play out in Parys.
However, going into the season finale it’s impossible to predict which crews will join them on the championship podium. Christo Rose and Arno Olivier (T58) are currently second on 138 points in the driver’s and navigator’s championships – an impressive feat considering it’s their debut season in the V8-powered NWM Ford Ranger.
They are closely shadowed by Wors Prinsloo and Andre Vermeulen (T41) in the third NWM Ranger on 136 points a piece, while Johan and Werner Horn (Toyota) are hot on their heels, with 135 and 130 points respectively.
The Ford NWM Development Team of Bapi Rubuluza and co-driver Fanifani Meyiwa (T49) continue to make great strides in the series, having finished second at the 4x4 Mega World 400 at the beginning of October, and ending fourth in Vryburg four weeks later.
Bapi is currently seventh in the Class T drivers’ standings on 85 points, with the potential to move up a couple of places if the crew finishes well. Fanifani is placed fifth amongst the Class T navigators.
The race will be based at the Parys Airfield, which will serve as the start/finish and designated service park. Competitors will have a short 15km qualifying race in the morning, followed by two loops of the 175km race route, separated by a scheduled 30-minute service stop.
Although access to the designated service park (DSP) will remain restricted in compliance with the current COVID-19 regulations, there will be plenty of opportunities to watch the cars racing during the event.
Fans can follow all the action and track the position of the crews using the RallySafe app which can be downloaded free of charge for iOS and Android devices. Also, be sure to follow the Ford Performance SA social media channels, listed below, for regular race updates.
Source Ford Castrol Cross Country Team
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