Heartbreak for Castrol Team Toyota in last 10km of Toyota Desert Race
Anthony Taylor and Robin Houghton led the field in Friday’s prologue, completing the race to determine the start order for the main event 28 seconds ahead of the Ford of Neil Woolridge. Team mates Duncan Vos and Robbie Howie were just 3 seconds adrift of the Ford.
At the end of the first 500 kilometre racing section it was very much advantage Toyota with the two Castrol team Toyota Hilux SPs in first and second places separated by just 1 minute 43 seconds. Toyota’s position was strengthened with Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst in third place in their privately entered Hilux SP, just four seconds behind Vos.
The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1 000 Desert Race is renowned for taking a heavy toll on competitors. The 2010 event saw just 24 of the original 56 starters complete the event. This reputation impacted on Anthony Taylor and Robin Houghton within the first 30 kilometres of the loop when their gearbox failed. At that point the advantage shifted to Duncan Vos who was able to build up a significant time gap over the BMW of Hannes Grobler and the Hilux of Chris Visser going into the mid-leg service point.
“Excitement and disappointment go hand-in-hand on the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1 000 Desert Race,” says Castrol Team Toyota team principal, Glyn Hall. “We had our fair share of both this year with a nail biting finish on the cards right up to the end.
“Both our Hilux SPs were the class of the field as far as outright speed went this weekend but we were caught out by problems that we have not experienced before. The severe nature of the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1 000 Desert Race tests every vehicle and every component on the absolute limit. In both cases we were sidelined by failures of fasteners supplied by third parties that have been well up to the task in the past.
“The result is good for the championship as it closes it up for an exciting climax in the final two rounds for the season. Chris Visser leads the championship with 97 points with Duncan just 11 points off that total. An ideal finish to the season with Duncan and Chris Visser fighting it out with a 12 point swing available to Duncan if he can win both events ahead of Chris. The dark horse as ever is Hannes Grobler. Just one point behind Duncan but outside of the 12 point margin, Hannes can cause an upset if Duncan and Chris pick up problems.
A consolation for Toyota was the Manufacturers’ Team Award for the top three finishers from one make. Another consolation for Toyota was the win in Class D for production vehicles for the near standard 4X4 Mega World Hilux of Deon Venter and Ian Palmer.`