Toyota dominates SA Off-Road
TESTING OUT SA'S 2013 DAKAR CONTENDER: Duncan Vos and Rob Howie won the 2012 SA Off Road Championship and will head off to South Amercia in January for the 2013 Dakar Rally.
Anthony Taylor and Chris Birkin (Toyota Hilux) won the season-ending Gold 400 in Gauteng ahead of team mates and new South African champions Duncan Vos and Rob Howie.
Toyota won all of the championships on offer in the eight-round off road racing series. The new event held in Gauteng’s West Rand was hit by heavy rain, resulting in a muddy 340km route.
Toyota claimed top positions in the Production Vehicle category as well as in the premier SP class. Third overall was the BMW X3 of Christiaan du Plooy and Henk Janse van Vuuren, who finished fourth in the championship.
TOYOTA DOMINATES IN SA
Former champions Chris Visser and Japie Stapelberg (Ford Ranger), finished seventh overall in the Gold 400 and third in the championship.
Toyota won the Manufacturers’ award for the final race with Vos/Howie, Taylor/Birkin and outgoing champions Jannie Visser/Joks le Roux (Toyota Hilux).
Cliff Weichelt/Johan Smalberger (Toyota Land Cruiser) wrapped up the 2012 season’s Class D championship in the penultimate round, the Human Auto 400 in the Free State in October 2012. Dirk Putter/Koos Claassens (Toyota Hilux) clinched the Class E title in the same event.
Taylor, delighted to have won his first race of 2012, had a trouble-free run.
He said: “Chris and I knew we had to win this race if we wanted to finish second in the championship and we’re both delighted to have achieved this under very difficult conditions. It was very muddy and slippery and staying on the correct route was a big challenge.”
Vos, celebrating his fifth national championship, wrapped up the overall title before the start of the race, but still needed to clinch the SP Class and the honour of carrying SP1 on his Toyota Hilux in 2013.
Vos said: “It’s been a long season and we’ve had to work hard for our results, but I’m very happy for the whole team that we’ve pulled off the championship win. The Castrol Toyota Hilux has performed magnificently this season and all of this bodes well for our second visit to the Dakar Rally in South America in January, where we will be racing the same Hilux.”
Toyota Motorsport director and team principal Glyn Hall commented: “We were under lot of pressure to win this season and the pressure mounted as the outcome of the championship went down to the wire. We’re relieved and proud that we’ve managed to pull it off.
“Now we can concentrate all our attention on the very important challenge of the Dakar Rally in just six weeks’ time.”
Toyota's 2012 season accolades:
• Duncan Vos/Rob Howie (Toyota Hilux) won the 2012 championship and class SP
• Anthony Taylor/Chris Birkin (Toyota Hilux) second in championship
• Cliff Weichelt/Johan Smalberger (Toyota Land Cruiser) winners in class D
• Dirk Putter/Koos Claassens (Toyota Hilux) winners in class E
• Toyota wins Manufacturers’ Championship for the fifth successive year
Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen wrapped up the 2012 South African Off-Road Special Vehicle championship.