Round 5 of the Donaldson National Cross Country Championship takes places at Sun City this weekend, and with three of the Top 5 cars on the table bearing the Toyota roundel, the team has every reason to be upbeat about their chances at the Force Fuel 450. In 2013 Toyota had an amazing result, with Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy capping a hat-trick of wins, and Duncan Vos and Rob Howie making it a Toyota one-two. To add to that, Toyota topped the standings in each production class.
“If we can have another result like in 2013, I’ll be pretty pleased,” says Team Principal Glyn Hall. “But with some great results already in the bag, we really need to concentrate on the championship rather than the top step of the podium.”
Taylor/Murphy, in the Class T Castrol Team Toyota Hilux, are 28 points ahead in the Championship heading into Round 5. They’ve been on the top step of the podium on three occasions this year: the RFS450, Nkomazi 450 and the Toyota 1000 Desert Race – the latter earned them double points, due to the extreme length of the event.
For defending champion Taylor the season is looking very good: “We’ve had a great season so far, with only the one hiccup – on the Toyota Dealer 450. Anything can still happen though, so the plan is to keep it clean and score as many points as possible.”
The undeniable surprise package of the season has been the Horn brothers, in the Class T Malalane Toyota Hilux. Werner and Johan campaign Taylor/Murphy’s championship-winning vehicle from 2013, and are currently lying second in the championship. Consistent results on each race of the 2014 season has bagged them a total of 73 points, and the pair will be looking to consolidate on the Force Fuel 450 at Sun City.
Castrol Team Toyota’s Leeroy Poulter, in his first full season of cross country racing, is currently in fourth place in the championship, just 5 points behind the Horn brothers, and three points behind Ford’s Manfred Schröder.
Poulter has achieved two second-place finishes this year, including the Toyota 1000 Desert Race. His single DNF, on the Nkomazi 450, is the only blotch on an otherwise sterling first season in the sport. Poulter, with experienced navigator Rob Howie beside him, will be aiming for yet another podium finish on the Force Fuel 450.
“We are running some new components on both Castrol Team Toyota bakkies,” continues Hall. “This is part of our ongoing testing programme, both for the local series and the Dakar, which is looming large on the horizon.”
The Force Fuel 450 kicks off at 11:30 on Friday August 8th, with a 100 km qualifying event to determine the start positions for the race. The main race starts at 08:00 on Saturday, August 9th, and consists of two 175 km-long loops. As is customary on Cross Country races in South Africa, there will be a compulsory 15 minute break after the first loop.
The Designated Service Park (DSP) and race HQ will be situated at the Sun City complex, and there are multiple specatator points marked along the route.
Toyota Motorsport South Africa Acknowledges Its Sponsors and Specialist Official Supplier and Technical Partners
Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Castrol, Toyota Financial Services, Imperial Toyota Group, Innovation Group, Bosch, DeWalt, Donaldson, Edgecam, Ferodo, 4×4 Mega World, FreeM, NGK, Robor, SKF and Spanjaard.
Follow the fortunes of Castrol Team Toyota on Twitter, www.twitter.com/toyotasa.
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