document : Atlas Copco crew take Special Vehicle championship lead

Atlas Copco crew take Special Vehicle championship lead
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media) 17 April 2012


The Atlas Copco BAT crew of Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson have retained their position at the top of the overall and Class A title chases in the Special Vehicle category of the Absa Off Road Championship.

However, after a dramatic finish to the Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga, the results are provisional pending an appeal to Motorsport South Africa. Van Staden and Lawrenson were first across the line at the finish in Lydenburg, but a penalty for deviating from the route dropped the Atlas Copco crew down to fourth.

The win was credited to reigning champions Hermann and Wichard Sullwald (Elegant Fuel BAT) ahead of Nardus and Louis Alberts (Wrapsa BAT) and brothers Laurence and Gerhard du Plessis in a Zarco Magnum. Both van Staden/Lawrenson, winners of the RFS Magalies 400, and the Sullwalds were penalised by clerk of the course Rex Boreham for deviating from the route with the victory going to the Alberts father and son team.

The Sullwalds then successfully protested against the penalty decision, and were reinstated by the stewards of the meeting. This led to the Atlas Copco team filing a notice of intention to appeal to Motorsport SA, and the results are provisional.

The current situation is an interesting one with van Staden and Lawrenson seven points clear of three teams tied for second place. The Alberts combination, the Sullwalds and former champion Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen, in the Motorite BAT Venom, are all lumped together three points clear of the du Plessis brothers.

Only 10 points separate the first five crews and it is even closer in Class A. Here different points allocations for overall and class results see only six points separating the top five crews. Van Staden/Lawrenson (32) lead the Alberts (28), Hutchison/Stassen (27) and the du Plessis and Sullwald combinations who each have 26 points.

Two wins in two outings have given Colin Matthews and Alan Smith (Century Racing CR3) an early hold on the Class P championship with the pair also handily placed in the overall stakes. After finishing only one of eight events last season, it has been a complete about turn for Matthews and Smith.

The Century Racing crew are eight points clear of John Telford and Jaco Swart in the Calcamite BAT. There is then a big gap to Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne (Raysonics Zarco) and Richard Fuller/Dennis Murphy (Regent Racing Jimco) who are tied for third and Rob Wark and Chris Davies in the Superpave Aceco who are fourth.

The next event on the Absa championship calendar is in KwaZulu-Natal on May 18 and 19 with the Atlas Copco Timbertrack 400 based in Richmond.
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