The Proudly South African Nissan team dominated the Nissan Dealer 400, round one of the 2004 Absa Off Road Championship, in Darling today when former Production Vehicle champions Giniel de Villiers and Francois Jordaan crossed the finish line first, two minutes ahead of team mates and reigning Production Vehicle champions Hannes Grobler and Richard Leeke.

2003 Carnival City Casino 400 winners Neil Woolridge and Ken Skjoldhammer finished third in the Class T Team Ford Racing Ranger in an event that was characterised by fast sections and thick, power-sapping sand. The Ford pair finished almost ten minutes behind the race winners.

Former Class E champions Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn made a triumphant return to competition after a year-long lay off by finishing fourth overall and first in last year’s Class E championship winning Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.7i. The father and son pair was followed across the line by new Castrol Toyota team signings Paolo Piazza-Musso and Rod Hering in the new Class D Castrol Toyota Hilux who recorded a maiden class win.

Reigning Class E champions Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin lost time in the pits to repair a broken front driveshaft on the Class D Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.7i and had to be content with sixth overall and second in class.

Husband and wife Neels and Zelda van der Walt brought their diesel powered Nissan Hardbody home second in Class E and seventh overall with another husband wife crew, JP and Linda Augustin, eighth overall and third in Class D.

Father and son Louis and Cliff Weichelt were in contention for the Class D win until the wheel studs on the left rear wheel sheared and they lost time replacing the entire hub and wheel rim. They were also plagued by shock absorber problems and picked up a puncture on the Bosal / N1 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser but soldiered on to finish ninth overall and fourth in Class D.

Duncan Vos and Hennie ter Stege (Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody) were third overall at one stage but lost power steering on the first lap and were forced to complete the second 172km lap in two-wheel drive. They finished tenth, almost two hours behind their race winning team mates.

The Nissan Dealer 400 again proved to be the nemesis of crews in the Special Vehicle category with many succumbing to the thick sand.

Last year’s winners Atang Makgekgenene and Mike Stangl led from start to finish in the Total Jimco and finished one and a half minutes ahead of 2003 Toyota Dealer 400 winner Mark Corbett and Gavin Kelsey in the Century Property Developments BAT.

Adri Roets and Deon de Kock won Class B in the Global DAD space frame with reigning Class S champion Nic Goslar and Graydon Ilderton (Men’s Clinic International / Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco) the first Class S crew across the line.

Original article from Car