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Perfect Score as Bridgestone 4x4 Qualifiers End

Guthrie Blaine (Bridgestone SA), Daryl von Zyl (Opposite Lock) with overall winners,  Armand Schaap & Rowan Robbertze

Guthrie Blaine (Bridgestone SA), Daryl von Zyl (Opposite Lock) with overall winners, Armand Schaap & Rowan Robbertze





Round four – the final qualifying round of the 2016 Bridgestone 4x4 Challenge - saw records tumble as one team scored the maximum allowable points – the first in five years to achieve this feat – and another posted the highest score ever for a standard 4x4.

 

This was despite the fact that the track at the Rhino Park 4x4 had endured three previous qualifying events and several episodes of torrential rain, presenting a real challenge for competitors.

 

It was seasoned campaigner Wimpie Olivier, partnered by former champion Jaco van Zyl, who put in the perfect performance in Olivier’s non-standard Suzuki Jimny. The Lichtenburg team scored a full 1000 points out of a possible 1000, in a pairing that was unbeatable on the day.

 

Jaco van Zyl was not the only heavyweight to tackle the tracks. Multiple former champion Johann Marx and his son Idmar, in a non-standard Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen, were also in the hunt for the perfect score. However, they had to be satisfied with 840 points after they failed to complete the tough obstacle five in the allocated number of attempts.

 

It was all smiles in the media challenge Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Shogun, which saw television presenter Tumelo Maketekete partnered with 4x4 legend Sakkie Coetzee in the co-driver's seat. The media team scored an impressive 815 points, the second-highest points haul achieved during the entire qualifying process for the standard long wheelbase class.

 

Despite the newcomer's success, the sharp end of the standard field was dominated by familiar names. Former champion Danny Daniels swapped his Challenge-winning Jeep Grand Cherokee for his Ford Ranger. With Rob Wallace in the co-driver's seat, Danny stamped his authority on the standard long wheelbase class with 845 points.

 

In the short wheelbase class, it was veteran campaigners Armand Schaap and Rowan Robbertze, in a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, who recorded the highest qualifying score for any standard 4x4 with 955 points.

 

The Jeep Wrangler team won the event overall and bagged a R10 000 tyre voucher from Bridgestone SA. In second place overall were Dave McMurdie and Clive Finniss in a shorty Jeep Wrangler with a very good score of 860 points, winning them an MRO LED light bar, courtesy of Opposite Lock.  Third went to Daniels and Wallace in the Ford Ranger. They won a camping spade courtesy of Opposite Lock.

 

The top 60 teams in the standard class have now been decided, and will move on to the first Elimination Round in May.

 

“We’ve had more than 150 4x4 teams compete in the four qualifying rounds,” says Bridgestone SA’s Guthrie Blaine. “And more than half of those crews were new competitors. This is really encouraging and exactly what we aimed for. Now the real challenge starts, and the teams will have to keep their wits about them,” he concluded.

 

The next round takes place on 21 May at the Serendipity 4x4 trail near Mookgopong.

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