Team Ford Racing is eagerly anticipating the Sun City 400, which will offer the three teams yet another chance to strut their stuff.
Team Ford Racing has a stable line-up of drivers and co-drivers that are all performing well in this year's racing season. Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer team up yet again in the mighty Ford Ranger in Class T, while Manfred Schröder and Jack Peckham guide their newly developed 4-litre Ford Ranger in Class D. The Ford Development team of Baphumze (Bappie) Rubuluza and Kulile Vakalisa will make their way around the course in the Ford Ranger 2.5 Turbo Diesel 4x4.
Class T entrants Woolridge and Skjoldhammer are looking forward to the run. "There are always a lot of spectators at the Sun City 400, which is great because there is so much for them to see," says Woolridge. "The course is hard, rough and dusty, which is great for the ultra-tough Ford Ranger. There is not much high speed racing and that suits us just fine; we enjoy a route that is as tough as possible, one that doesn't purely focus on top speed. We plan to push hard from the very start and hope for the best." An unfortunate battery collapse 30 km from the finish line last year put the team out of running, but they feel confident about their chances this time around.
The Class T Ford Ranger, which is sponsored by BF Goodrich, Time Freight and Joey's panel beaters is in excellent nick and there is very little for the team to do to the vehicle from a technical point of view prior to the race.
Schröder says that, since he and Peckham have not managed to complete the Sun City 400 in their previous two starts, the pressure is on. "It's a case of third time lucky," he says. "The four-litre Ranger still has some kinks to smooth out, but hopefully there is nothing more to worry about. After the Desert Race we have replaced the automatic gearbox with a manual one, which should prove to be more robust."
The course is tight and corrugated with thick bush, which has proven hazardous in the past, causing the team to break a drive shaft last year and roll the vehicle in their first start. Schröder is confident, however, that this year they will finish, and is hoping for a win in his Ford Ranger, which is sponsored by BF Goodrich, Time Freight, Joey's, Barloworld PMB and Husqvarna chain saws.
The development team have been going hell for leather since their debut earlier this year and have no intention of easing up. Each race holds something new, so Rubuluza and Vakalisa learn a little more every time. "As usual we are concentrating on finishing," states Rubuluza. "The more time we spend with the vehicle, the better we get, so clocking up mileage is important. We would like to increase the pace, but are not sure if that will be a wise move. We are taking our guidance from Neil as he is extremely knowledgeable in all areas of rally racing."
Their 2.5 Turbo Diesel 4x4 - sponsored by Pirelli, Time Freight and Joey's - is performing exceptionally well. The vehicle's torque, coupled with the increasing experience of driver and co-driver, should prove to be a successful combination. Currently second in the championship standing, this is not going to inflate these men's egos -their feet remain firmly planted.
"The Class T and D vehicles are running on BP Goodrich tyres, which are ideally suited to the terrain of the Sun City 400 track and definitely give us the edge over other teams," notes Woolridge. "The Class E Ranger has been fitted with Pirelli tyres, which should help to keep Bappie out of trouble."
All three Ford Rangers have undergone major rebuilding due to the cosmetic damage incurred at the Desert Race. "All of the panels were destroyed in the last race and have had to be replaced, and the development Ranger has been completely rebuilt," comments Woolridge.
Original article from Car