Seven in a row for Nissan in TOYOTA 1000 Desert Race
Nissan celebrated its seventh successive victory in the Toyota 1 000 Desert Race, round four of the Absa Off-road Championship, in Botswana on Sunday when Duncan Vos and Louis Weichelt took the chequered flag in their Sasol-supported Super Production class Nissan Navara 4.0 V6.
For Vos, the reigning national drivers' champion, it was his second successive triumph in the most gruelling round of the championship and extended his lead in this year's title race. He has now won three of the four rounds held so far, including the last round.
Hannes Grobler, six-times winner of the Desert Race in a Nissan, and Juan Mohr overcame numerous problems to finish a fighting fourth, 18 min 19 sec behind their Nissan Navara team-mates. A flat wheel on Friday's prologue saw them start seventh on Saturday. Their throttle pedal came apart 12 km into the route and they spent 25 minutes making repairs on the side of the road. Seventh at the end of the day, they clawed their way through the thick dust to fifth on Sunday, only to be held up for 140 km by one of the space frames competing in the Special Vehicle category.
Norwegian Ivar Tollefsen and Briton Quin Evans, in the third Sasol-supported Navara, were less fortunate. They were time-barred on Saturday after experiencing axle problems that caused them to become bogged down in deep sand.
"We had to work really hard for this win," said an elated Vos. "The Desert Race is always tough and this one was tougher than usual. Louis and I lost a lot of time 'sweeping' the route in the prologue and we were unhappy to start in only fourth place. We had a good day on Saturday, but again found ourselves sweeping the route for the others when we took over the lead. As a result, Mark Cronje (Toyota) was able to beat us at the end of the day, but by just 17 seconds. We gave it all we had on Sunday and once we took the lead from Mark and Chris we didn't look back."
The next round of the Absa Off-road Championship is the Sun City 400 on July 25 and 26.