Hannes Grobler and Richard Leeke, driving their Proudly South African class T Nissan Hardbody, won the Sun City 400 in North West Province on Saturday in a time of 6h 03m 10s.
They were followed home in the 400-km event, round six of the 2003 SA Off Road Championship for Production Vehicles…presented by Absa, by team-mates and reigning Production Vehicle champions, Duncan Vos and Mike Griffith, in their 3,5-litre V6 Double Cab in 6h 33m 53s.
Third was the class E Toyota Hilux of Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin, who finished 61 minutes behind the winners. A further 13 minutes back was the class D-winning GBS Nissan Hardbody of Hein Grobler and Gerhard Prinsloo.
It was Nissan’s 13th successive national championship off-road victory, stretching back to the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 in May 2002. Grobler and Leeke, who have now won five of the six events this year and eight of the last nine, have wrapped up the class T championship which they won last year, with two races remaining.
Their dominant win in the Sun City round, where they started from pole position after winning Friday’s 40-km prologue and were not headed throughout Saturday’s race, extended their lead in the overall championship to 18 points over Cronje and Birkin.
The traditionally tough event, which attracted thousands of spectators thanks to its proximity to Sun City, was held in dry and dusty conditions and took its toll of vehicles, with 21 of the 67 starters in the Production and Special Vehicle categories completing Saturday’s race. With six in the top 10, Nissan also comfortably won the manufacturers’ team prize.
While Grobler and Leeke had a relatively trouble-free run – they were slowed briefly by a puncture and again when their bonnet came loose and they stopped to remove it – Vos and Griffith did well to take the runner-up spot after being slowed by a persistent engine misfire throughout the event, plus two punctures.
Nissan Motorsport team-mates and winners of the recent Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400, Giniel de Villiers and Francois Jordaan, contested second place with the works Ford Ranger of Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer and the works Toyota Land Cruiser of Apie Reyneke and Robin Houghton during the first half of the event, but all three crews – all former national off road champions – were destined not to finish. The Nissan went out with drive train problems, the Toyota retired with a broken gearbox and the Ford was sidelined while lying second on the third of the three laps when it lost all power after the battery failed.
Nissan privateers again did the marque proud by taking four of the top 10 places. With Grobler and Prinsloo being the highest placed in fourth overall and winning class D – a great effort considering they experienced a complete loss of brakes during the event and lost 15 minutes at the service point fixing the problem - brothers Jurie and Andre du Plessis were sixth overall and third in class E in their BB Auto Nissan Hardbody, with team-mates Arnold du Plessis and George Baker seventh overall and second in class D in their Nissan Hardbody.
Coetzee Labuschagne and Johan Gerber were ninth overall and third in class D in their GBS Nissan Hardbody after being delayed by wheel problems.
The other two members of the GBS Hardbody team failed to finish the event. Husband and wife team JP and Linda Augustin were forced out with wheel bearing problems, while MC Coetzee and Marius Liebenberg escaped injury when their Nissan rolled after losing four-wheel drive.
Husband and wife team Neels and Zelda van der Walt were very disappointed to retire with a broken rear diff after running as high as second in class E. Original article from Car
Original article from Car