Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy driving an Imperial Toyota backed Castrol Team Toyota Hilux scored their fourth successive Donaldson South African Cross Country Championship win when they dominated the sixth round of the eight event series in Vryburg, North West Province on Saturday.
They were followed home for the second race in a row by team-mates and reigning champions Duncan Vos and Rob Howie, who were 7 min 52 sec behind after 400 kilometres, with former champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst (Ford Ranger) third, a further 2 min 34 sec in arrears.
The Vryburg 400, which started on Friday with a 60-kilometre qualifying race and was raced over two 170-kilometre loops with a compulsory 15-minute service stop at the halfway mark on Saturday, saw the return of cross country racing to the Vryburg area for the first time in 20 years. Sandy and technical with rocky sections, bush and trees, the route was challenging and typically Kalahari.
Taylor and Murphy, chasing their first championship and Toyota’s third in a row, have now opened up a useful 20-point gap to second-placed Visser and Badenhorst with two rounds remaining. Vos and Howie in third place have closed the gap to Visser and Badenhorst to 23,5 points.
Toyota won the manufacturers’ award for the event and increased their already substantial lead in the overall manufacturers’ championship as they edge closer to a sixth title.
Johan Horn and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Land Cruiser) finished 13th and first in class D and closed to within 20 points of class championship leaders Jason Venter and Vincent van Alleman (4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux) , who were 15th overall and second in class.
“It was a super result for the team,” said a happy Glyn Hall, team principal of Castrol Team Toyota. “From Friday’s qualifying race, which saw Anthony and Duncan finish well clear of the opposition, the Toyota Hilux 4x4s demonstrated their superiority throughout the weekend and ran trouble-free for 400 punishing kilometres.
“In addition. Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee enjoyed a profitable outing as unofficial competitors in the 2013 Dakar Rally Imperial Toyota Hilux, successfully testing components and set-up for next January’s Dakar and providing Leeroy with some valuable experience and seat time ahead of his Dakar debut in January.”
Taylor and Murphy were equally elated with their result. “It was a difficult race in difficult conditions on a very tricky route,” said Taylor. “It was a nightmare for co-drivers and Dennis 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.”
“After finishing second to Anthony and Dennis in Friday’s prologue, our job today was to finish ahead of as many of their championship rivals as we could,” said Vos. “Our car ran like clockwork all day and we are very happy to have helped the team achieve such a dominant result.”
The penultimate round of the championship is the Thaba’Nchu 400 in the Free State on October 11 and 12.
Toyota Motorsport South Africa Acknowledges Its Sponsors and Specialist Official Supplier and Technical Partners
Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Castrol, Toyota Financial Services, Imperial Toyota Group, Innovation Group, Bosch, DeWalt, Donaldson, Edgecam, Ferodo, NGK, SKF and Spanjaard.