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Amarok proves itself in Namibia

2010-11-22 10:41

WELL DONE ‘PA’: The soon to be father-and-son-in-law team of Christiaan Otto and Marius Welgemoed finished first from a starting total of 450 teams in this year’s Spirit of Africa.

Christiaan Otto and Marius Welgemoed mastered the toughest Namibian dunes in a Volkswagen Amarok to be crowned the 2010 Spirit of Africa champions.

After four gruelling days, Christiaan and Marius’ flawless and masterful sand dune driving helped them to amass 1580 points.

The Otto/Welgemoed team received R50 000 for their first place. Christiaan farms near Bultfontein in the Free State and Marius is an account executive from KwaZulu-Natal and engaged to Christiaan's daughter.

The winning team pair were followed in second place by husband-and-wife team Piet and Madelein Kotze with 1395 points, while third place went to Hennie Moeller and Frank Scholtz with 1385 points.

The Amarok, the official vehicle for the Spirit of Africa competition, was praised by contestants who participated in the elimination rounds in Upington where the bakkie impressed all with its off-road capabilities.

Plaas certified

“The majority of the participants were farmers who are amongst our targeted customers for the Amarok. Their comments on Amarok’s driving dynamics were very complimentary and objective,” said Graeme Birch, marketing manager for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

Sarel van der Merwe said: “We decided beforehand to make the 2010 event very tough to prove that the Amarok was not a ‘soft’ bakkie, but a tougher and smarter bakkie than most of the competition.

“It passed the ultimate tests, which included Upington temperatures of 40 degrees as well as the toughest Namibian dunes, with aplomb.”

On a technical level Amaroks used for the Spirit of Africa challenge ran 265/65R17 Goodyear Wranglers instead of the standard 245/65/17s found on the Highline models.

The Amarok will be back for the 2011 Spirit of Africa competition and Van der Merwe has promised to make the next event even tougher for both the contestants as the machines.

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