Brian Joss – With the 2018 South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS) at the mid-point of the season, Toyota Gazoo Racing SA will be aiming for a solid performance at Round 4 of the six-round championship, the Atlas Copco 400. The race is set to take place on 3 and 4 August 2018, with the action centering around the Gauteng town of Bronkhorstspruit, to the east of Pretoria.
“Both our Class FIA Toyota Hilux race cars now feature the latest cooling systems, and we’ve also tweaked the performance in preparation for this weekend’s race,” says Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall. “Our aim will be to record strong finishes with both cars.”
Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dennis Murphy currently lead the SACCS standings, and after winning the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, Round 3 of the championship, De Villiers has opened up a substantial gap at the top of the leaderboard. Despite Murphy joining De Villiers as navigator from Round 2 of this year’s championship, the former champion navigator currently leads the standings for the navigator championship, with three rounds to go.
Henk Lategan and navigator Barry White had a great opening race day in the Desert, winning the day and bagging 30 points as a result. But a DNF on Day
2 saw the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux crew lose out on even more points, and Lategan currently finds himself in fourth place in the standings.
“Henk and Barry did an excellent job in Botswana, and we really need them to carry on from there,” says Hall. “Winning a day of the Desert Race is no mean feat, and it shows the kind of pace that we’ve come to expect from this crew.”
Behind the two factory Toyota Hilux race cars come a fleet of privateer entries, including the Class FIA Toyota Hilux of Chris Visser and Philip Herselman (Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux); the recently victorious Class T Toyota Hilux of Johan and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Hilux); and the Class S car of Heinie Strumpher and Henri Hugo (4×4 Mega World Toyota Hilux). Each of these crews is in the mix for their respective championships, and the Atlas Copco 400 is certain to be exciting from that point of view.
The race starts at 2pm on Friday, 3 August, with a Qualifying Race of 40 km.
This race will be used to determine the starting positions for Saturday’s main event, which starts at 8am. The race HQ, Designated Service Park (DSP) and start/finish will be located at the Soetdoring Function Venue, and as always entry for spectators is free of charge.
CAPTION: Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dennis Murphy: leading the way. Picture: Motorpress