The Mitsubishi Spirit of Africa trophy qualifying ended in a nail-biting finish when Lourens and Andries du Plessis pushed Theo Wolhuter and Gavin Heynes out by a one point lead at 287.
The drama was far from finished though as Charel (Kalahari) Bruwer from Somerset West, then in second place at 311, announced that business commitments precluded him from attending the final in the Namibian Desert.
This also prevents him winning the coveted Dakar Rally trip sponsored by Mitsubishi.
Speaking from the Kalahari this week, organiser Sarel van der Merwe confirmed an attendance rate of more than 95% for this event which, even in its first year has established itself as the premier 4x4 driving challenge offered to everyday 4x4 enthusiasts.
"Our live feedback sessions with every group have revealed a requirement to increase the size of the competition next year by five times at regional heat level and double the numbers at national eliminations in the Kalahari," said Sarel.
"Even though we will welcome more than 340 teams in the Kalahari next year, only 35% of entrants will make it to the second round so we are going to focus on a very exciting first level with prizes on a regional and national basis", he added.
Van der Merwe announced the dates for next year's regional heats at selected venues appointed by the event as March 1 to July 31and national eliminations in two sessions May 22 to June 30 and July 31 to September 8 2006.
The final event will be in October in Namibia.
The 12 teams that have earned their place in the exciting final driving competition can look forward to relaxed sight-seeing in beautiful Namibia on the way into the Namib desert at Luderitz.
It?s in the desert where the gloves will come off as the teams compete on a gruelling five day test designed by Sarel van der Merwe to grab one of the top 4 spots.
"All the teams enjoy a completely sponsored trip from our start at M&Z Motors in Windhoek to the finish at DaimlerChrysler in Pretoria", said Sarel.
Koos and Alexander Pieters (Paternoster) 323
Anthon Wessels and Anton van Wyk (Witrivier) 308
Philip Steenkamp and Hilton Lamberts (Stellenbosch) 307
Piet Louw and Daan Jacobs (Hopetown) 302
Wiela and Hanli Botha (Thabazimbi) 301
Eddie Genis and Harm Vorster (Kimberley) 295
Martin Ferreira and Keino Davie (Pretoria) 292
Willem van Vuuren and Jan van Deventer (Polokwane) 289
Naas Le Roux and Lieb Liebenberg (Pretoria) 287
Lourens Du Plessis and Dirk Lombard (Polokwane) 287
Theo Wolhuter and Gavin Heynes (Pretoria) 286
Riaan Breedt and Johan Brits (Kimberley) 286
The final runs from October 8 - 21 in Namibia and winners will be announced on their return to the DCSA Head office, Zwartkops.