The Renergen 400, the penultimate round of the SA Rally-Raid Championship held at Phakisa Raceway near Welkom in the Free State on October 6 and 7, witnessed some thrilling racing.
Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer, driving the NWM Ford Castrol T1+ Ranger, secured their second victory of the season, further solidifying their lead in the Overall Production Vehicle Category as only one race remains.
They delivered a flawless performance throughout the event. They won the Renergen 400 with a total time of four hours, 27 minutes and 16 seconds. Despite starting from third place, trailing the leaders, Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings (Toyota Gazoo Racing DKR Hilux T1+), by a mere 78 seconds, Woolridge and Dreyer emerged victorious.
Lategan and Cummings initially set the pace, but they encountered issues, including hitting a gate and later rolling their vehicle, causing Lategan to sustain a shoulder injury.
Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle, another Toyota Gazoo Racing team, secured second place overall and in FIA T1+, finishing just two minutes and 16 seconds behind the winners. Saood Variawa and Danie Stassen completed the podium, closely following their teammates.
After a season-long hiatus, Brian Baragwanath and Leonard Cremer finished fourth with their new Century Racing CR 7 Twin-Turbo four-wheel drive vehicle, making its debut.
Eben Basson and Leander Pienaar of #TeamHilux Rally-Raid claimed victory in the FIA T1 category, finishing sixth overall.
Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy faced disappointment after damaging their Toyota Gazoo Racing DKR Hilux T1+, but managed to salvage some points.
The demanding event saw three more FIA T1+ teams finish in the top 10. Competitors described the route as fast, technical and challenging, leaving no room for relaxation.
In the Special Vehicle Category, Tim Howes and Gary Campbell (BAT Spec 4) secured their fourth victory of the season, dominating from start to finish.
With the Renergen 400 concluded, teams have five weeks to prepare for the final round of the 2023 SA Rally-Raid Championship, the Waterberg 400, in Limpopo on November 10 and 11.
Source: SACCS – Charmaine Fortune / Photos – Plan C Productions