Nissan Motorsport Hannes Grobler and Richard Leeke came out tops in the Toyota Dealers’ 400, one of the most hotly-contested races of the 2003 National championship off-road season, with no less than four different drivers having shared the lead in the 400 km event held on Friday and Saturday (October 24 and 25) in Lydenburg in Mpumalanga.
This performance, which was the pair’s sixth win out of seven races this year and Nissans 14th successive National Championship victory, increased their lead in the overall Production Vehicle Championship by another three points to 21.
Team-mates Duncan Vos and Mike Griffith claimed yet another second after earlier briefly leading the race.
Grobler/Leeke and Vos/Griffith were on their own out front in the absence of Class T team-mates Giniel de Villiers and Francois Jordaan who were participating in the Dubai Desert Challenge where they were putting De Villiers’ 2004 Dakar Nissan to the test.
Brothers Jurie and André du Plessis flew the privateer Nissan flag by grabbing the last of the top ten production vehicle category positions (4th in Class E) with Hein Grobler/Gerhard Prinsloo of the GBS Nissan Hardbody team saving the team with a hard-fought 11th overall and 4th in Class D.
Husband and wife Neels and Zelda van der Walt battled in the dust, but saved the day with a lucky 13th overall and 6th in Class E.
Motoring journalists Deon Schoeman and Jeremy Fall (TopCar Nissan Hardbody) lost a fight against an ant hill, but managed to continue racing to complete the tough event in 15th place overall and 6th in class D.
Nissan casualties included privateers JP and Linda Augustin (GBS Nissan Hardbody), who retired after getting stuck in a donga. Coetzee Labuschagne and Johan Gerber followed shortly after with overheating problems because of a blown radiator, while a similar fate forced the retirement of stand-in Arnold Chatz Cars Nissan Hardbody driver Paolo Piazza-Musso who raced with Hennie ter Stege in the absence of Alfie Cox, who was also competing in the Dubai Desert Challenge on his KTM motorcycle.
Nissan won the manufacturers’ award thanks to the combined times of Grobler/ Leeke, Vos/Griffith and Jurie/ Andre du Plessis.
Top 10 provisional results (Production Vehicles):
Hannes Grobler/Richard Leeke (Nissan Hardbody; 1st Class T) Duncan Vos/Mike Griffith (Nissan Hardbody; 2nd Class T) Apie Reyneke/Robin Houghton (Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser; 3rd Class T) Mark Cronjé/Chris Birkin (Castrol Toyota Hilux; 1st Class E) Kassie Coetzee/Ockie Fourie (Castrol Toyota Hilux; 2nd Class E) Cliff and Louis Weichelt (N1 4x4 Land Cruiser; 1st Class D) Manfred Schröder/Jack Peckham (Ford Ranger; 3rd Class E) Marius van Vuuren/Chris Maré (Land Rover Defender; 2nd Class D) Johan and Marthinus van der Merwe (Mitsubishi Colt; 3rd Class D) Jurie and André du Plessis (Nissan Hardbody; 4th Class E)
Original article from Car